Thursday, January 7, 2010


OTSWYL stands for On The Street Where You Live, which I hope could be taken on as the new EOTW series (seeing as no-one's come up with a Q this week). When the 'Spill was quite young we had a 'Where I listen to my music' spot, but I would like to know about where you live in more general terms. I'm not expecting anyone to renounce their anonymity or reveal their postcode, but I'd be interested to know how we all live - whether in a chocolate box village, in a trendy part of town, as part of a nuclear family, in a commune, whatever...

As many of you know, I live with my 2 kids in a city in northern Germany. The place we live - see the piccy above - was originally a charitable foundation for widows of good standing who had fallen on hard times - this was back in the 1850s. It's also been used as an old people's home, it housed reconstruction workers after the war (the right wing was hit quite badly) and at some point in the 70s it was used for student flats, the university being just round the corner. A squat was organised when it was announced the buildings were to be torn down (so the university could get another car park!), and with the encouragement of local politicians the Mieterselbstverwaltung was born. That's a very long word which basically means we're an autonomous community: we decide who moves in here, we determine our own rent (has to cover costs, obviously, but no-one is allowed to make a commercial profit from it), we see to any building work that needs doing (restoring the roof on the right wing, for example) and are responsible for the upkeep of the buildings and grounds.

'We' are 70 people, plus partners and children (currently 12 children and 6 visiting grandchildren), a dozen different nationalities, jobs ranging from storyteller to senior doctor, from electrician to scrounger. We are home to a tango dancer, an accordeon player, a guy in a band whose entire repertoire consists of howling at the full moon. Our chapel is used by the Ethiopian and the Egyptian Copt communities - although it was until recently Greek Orthodox. We host the Glockenschlag Festival every May, and organise another, smaller festival in summer with emphasis on entertainment for the whole family (I'm in charge of the children's programme, which always involves a lot of noise, a lot of running about on our wilden Wiese or overgrown wilderness and a campfire toasting bread on sticks). We're a green oasis slap bang in the middle of town (there's a university high-rise right behind us), and you can walk through the park to the city centre shops in about 20 minutes (15 if your legs are long!) or meander the whole way down to St Pauli and the waterfront.

Sometimes I hate living here. The buildings are badly insulated, so we're currently freezing cold, and you hear a lot of noise from your neighbours - coughing, laughter, domestic disputes, the band Eisenvater working out their new songs in the flat next-door to mine (unless it's drowned out by the four lanes of traffic surrounding us, of course); also, everyone knows everyone else's business. Sometimes I long for a flat where the windows and doors shut properly, where there's a caretaker to call on if anything needs fixing, where I need do no more than casually nod to the people I pass on the stairs. But in summer it's great - the kids can play outside, and you can move from garden to garden, from coffee to beer and always have someone new to chat to. I am sure I would miss the sense of community if we ever had to leave here...
...Which, incidentally, is on the cards. I was hoping we could stay here until my kids finish school, but the university needs room to expand and would like to turn this complex into an IT centre by 2016. There's no official decision as yet, and we're fighting to be able to stay. I'll keep you posted!


CaroleBristol said...

I live in Horfield, a reasonably well off, but still quite mixed, part of Bristol.

I am really close to the Gloucester Rd which is one of the best traditional shopping high streets in Bristol. It is quite an arty, leftish area; we have lots of good shops nearby, ethnic food shops, funky clothes shops, nice bars and places to eat, good pubs ( and some awful ones too), that sort of thing.

We have Horfield Common close to us, which is great for walking the dogs, and it is about 3 miles to the centre of Bristol.

Nicky and I rent a house (we have been together now for about seven years), because when my last relationship ended I walked away from the house I'd part owned with my ex and Nicky's aged Mum and Aunt live in the house she owns and which will become our home when they die.

Our road is pretty quiet, except when there is football or rugby on at the Memorial Stadium where both Bristol Rugby and Bristol Rovers FC ground share.

I love living around here. The area is lively but laid back and convenient for most things we want to do.

Blimptrumpet said...

"a guy in a band whose entire repertoire consists of howling at the full moon"

Can we sign him to 'Spillharmonic Records? PLEASE!!

ShariVari said...

That sounds amazing, Debby.

I live with my girlfriend in a small flat in Stoke Newington, North London. It's on the top floor of a Victorian conversion. It's slightly unconventional in having no internal front-doors once you're inside the building (we trust the people we share with) and a shower in a corner of the bedroom, rather than a proper bathroom, but it serves us well.

Stoke Newington's a great place to live. It's just about walking distance to work (in a little over an hour) and combines easy access to the centre of London with a genuine small town / village feel. It has a reputation for being slighly bohemian which has survived a fair amount of gentrification. There are lots of nice bars and bookshops and Hoxton, Old Street, Dalston and Shoreditch are little more than fifteen minutes away by bus.

We live two minutes away from Clissold Park, a lovely place to go running (in better weather). We're also right in the heart of one of the main centres of London's Turkish community. Green Lanes is also home to a large number of immigrants from Greece, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and...well, practically everywhere else. It makes for a fascinating place to live.

A friend recently posted something on his blog about the local shops reflecting the cosmopolitan nature of the area.

gremlinfc said...

I'll reply later properly BUT i must say straight away : ich bin sehr neidisch!

treefrogdemon said...

I live with my cat in a traditional Galloway cottage beside the Dee estuary, looking out over Kirkcudbright Bay in SW Scotland. The house is very old - I don't know how old, since they built them looking like this for hundreds of years, but the earliest reference to it I've found so far is 1808. My fantasy is that Robert Burns visited the house - it was a friend of his who was living here in 1808, and Burns visited Kirkcudbright several times while he was living in Dumfries. The walls of the original house are 2-3' thick, and it once had a thatched roof; an extension was built in the early 1980s and there are now 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. I paid off the mortgage a year ago and the place is probably worth double what I bought it for.

It's 30 miles to where I work in Dumfries but, most of the year, this is fine because the scenery is so beautiful that I really enjoy the drive. In winter however (ie NOW) it's not so good, being dark all the way and all the way back.

Kirkcudbright, two-and-a-bit miles away, is very pretty and pretty ancient. I like old things. Currently we are without a supermarket, but there are plenty of useful shops; though rather more picture-framers and estate agents than we really need.

I'll have been here 9 years on the 15th, but I won't be here much longer, since there are people in Milton Keynes who need their grandma. So if you want to come and visit, there's plenty of room but you'd better hurry up.

Oh, and if you want to buy it there's a wood and a beach that go with it.

Chris said...

I live in Didsbury, the media-friendly part of Manchester (the Madeleys and several Corrie stars dwell nearby). It's a fairly quiet street (actually a cul-de-sac) with a mixture of houses built 80-100 years ago. Extended a couple of times, ours is a roomy family home but still with a hint of the bohemian hanging around.
But all that will change soon (see earlier posts elsewhere) as we're in the process of selling up. If all goes according to plan, I'll then be in my own smaller castle closer to the Mersey which, these days, is actually quite pleasantly clean and landscaped.
At one stage in my earlier life, I thought that communal living would be good (it's a hippy pre-qualification) but over time I have reached the conclusion that I'm much better on my own.

Makinavaja said...

I live in a fairly non-descript barrio in the south of Madrid. We have a top-floor flat which we've spent a fair bit on making cosy. We have good public transport and are only 10 mins from the Plaza de España. We have a great park nearby with plenty of cafes and bars with pavement terraces which are great from late march till october. We're a short bus ride from the Casa de Campo which is great for strolling or cycling etc (if so inclined) - it's an old hunting reserve given to the City by some king or other over a hundred years ago on condition it should not be built up. There's an artificial lake, a theme park and a zoo there too.
One bus that stops quite literally outside my house takes us to my favourite area of Madrid for reasonably priced international restaurants.
The best thing about my flat is that I can see all the way to the horizon from my living room window. I'd lived in other flats before where all I could see was the block opposite. That used to really get me down.

Didsbury eh? Chris - my grandad used to live in Didsbury - Winster Ave, I think.

Chris said...

Maki: Winster Avenue is about 500m from my new abode.

Can I be the first in this thread to say 'What a small world'...?

B=Mc2 said...

We live in Newport-On-Tay, which is unsuprisingly on the banks of the river Tay in North East Fife.

Newport is a village that's kind of a sleeper suburb of Dundee (Scotland's 4th largest city: pop 140,000 and dwindling - calling it a city is a bit optimistic). Luckily there's a mile and half of water that separates us and Dundee, so it does feel very far away - yet only takes me 15 minutes t get to work. All the houses go up the banks of the Tay, and we can see for miles up the Tay to Perth and practically out to sea the other way.

Back when all the Dundee mills and factories were going great guns, the owners decided that they didn;t want to be near the smoke and stench so built huge houses the other side of the river (they could still keep an eye from there). Newport is full of lovely big old houses, has a few local shops & cafe, lots of parks, beaches and a top notch primary school (one of the reasons we moved from E'Burgh) and is surrounded by farmland/countryside stuff.

St. Andrews is 12 miles away, and E'burgh and Glasgow can be reached in an hour. The Highlands can be driven to in less than an hour too.

NE Fife is amazing really; it has the most lovely forests and beaches and cute fishing villages (the East Neuk, home to Fence Records too) - and cos it's east coast has amazing weather a lot of the time that the rest of Scotland doesn't get.

We live in a 100 year old semi detached villa, that has big high ceilings and fab cornicing and metal work. The garden goes round the house and has a stone wall that the cat likes to prowl. The street isn't a through road, so there's hardly any traffic. Up the backk of our house is the nature trail which is a path that goes right across the back of the village (good for walking visiting dogs along).

We've been here for three and a half years, and although I get frustrated at the lack of easily available (and diverse) culture, it really is a good place to bring up the boy.

sonofwebcore said...

Hi Debby, I live in a modern cul-de-sac of small houses set roughly in a circle. Our 'mews' house is actually an end terrace with the advantage of a unique picture window giving us a view over our very pretty close. All the neighbours tend their gardens (with varying applications of taste) from gnomes to our palms and banana tree. We sold a 4-bedroom house and bought this place when it was a patch of concrete, watching it go up with much anticipation. It's a working-class / lower middle class area, good transport links, Tescos around the corner, only one pub and lots of fast food restaurants. Seeing as I don't use pubs and cook my own food . . .
I love it round here. The local teenagers all know me and wave to me in the street. I feel safe and at home. There's no crime, either. There are 3 parks nearby and woods and open countryside ten minutes' walk away. We have cityscapes, beaches, dunes, country parks, sea bathing, fairgrounds, theatres, gigs, sports . . . and the bonus prize; TINCANMAN is only minutes away.

Abahachi said...

Mrs Abahachi and I live with our four cats in a house the size of a shoebox (but with an enormous garden, giving me enough room for orchard and vegetable plot and her enough room for the flower garden) on the edge of Castle Cary, a pretty little Somerset town, mostly in reddish-gold ham stone. The downside is that it's 30 miles from Bristol, where I work, with an erratic and horribly expensive train service; the plus sides are that it's 30 miles from Bristol giving a decent space from work, we can afford a large garden which we can't there, it's a proper community where we can do most of our shopping locally and can't walk down the street without getting detained by people we know, and we have wonderful neighbours.

Makinavaja said...

I'll be second then Chris!!

FP said...

STEENBECK!! STEENBECK!! Can you smell a screenplay here?????????????

Not just me then......!!!!!!

TracyK said...

We live in an 80s-built cul-de-sac in a small estate built on land that was once part of Lincoln's Sobraeon Barracks, hence the streets are all names after battles and wars. Seriously, Verdun Close is just around the corner. We're a semi and the garden really sold the house to us: we have a wedge of land with a summerhouse (now my library), a big shed and lots of patio too, which I have Plans for, given time. The house is modern and though a bit souless, it's snug for us and the cat.

It's a 20 minute brisk walk onto the beautiful Bailgate area of Lincoln, with its cathedral, castle, cobblestones and Roman antiquities, another 10 minutes down Steep Hill into the town centre. It's a nice mix of boutique-y places Uphill and everything you need from the high street Downhill. My school is a half hour walk away, housed in a glorious building: shame my room is one of the pokiest holes and bombarded by noise on three sides.

I quite like Lincoln, though I dislike the flatness of the surrounding countryside. There's a lack in my soul, too much sky and not enough wildness for me. Wales is where I'd like to retire, though TFD's cottage sounds just the ticket too.

Shoey said...

I live in a:
A: Glass house & throw stones.
B: Shoebox.
C: State of confusion.
D: Suburban subdivision in Orlando, FL.

Take yer pick.

TonNL said...

I live in one of the last houses of the hamlet of Peij, near Echt in the middle of the prvince of Limburg, in the south of the Netherlands, the house is a little over 40 years old, is very comfortable and has a really nice, big garden. 200 Meters behind my house there is a large forest area with some nice small lakes, the forest, interupted by some meadowlands runs up to and over the German border, about three km east from my home. The Belgian border is about 5 km away to the west, so I can do my shopping in three different countries! I don't have a car, I have three bikes (a city bike for daily use, a racing bike and a mountain bike), this is an excellent area for very fine bike rides, and as the town of Echt has a railway station with fine connections to the rest of the world (less than two hours per train to Amsterdam, Brussels or Cologne, less than one hour to Den Bosch, the place where I work)I am an avid train traveller as well.....

gremlinfc said...

me and the gremlins live in a victorian terrace in a multi-kulti area in steel city and it is always a buzz with stuff going on. We're on a main road with loads of buses and only 10 mins from town (you have to go past Bramall Lane)and everywhere is within cycling distance so i gets around on me bike nice and nippy. Steel city is well cool for just about everything , and if you need summat bigger you just get on a train to machester , Leeds or Liverpool all an hour away, which is great. Much like SOWC Iknow most of the people around and my kids grew up alongside the youngsters in the area so it's mostly fairly friendly and laid back. I'd hate to live in an area where noone greets each other and everyone mopes around. I like our house - it's cosy and spacious too but it's only a place to stay when you can't go out / don't want to go out - once Spring + Summer get here we spend as much time as poss out and about doing stuff. In fact saturday we're off to Ecclesall Woods for a walk in the snow...

goneforeign said...

I thought I had a good idea how I might respond to this question and then my wife walked in, she's a high school world history teacher, she started telling me about the two new Nepalese students assigned to her class. So I asked her "What's the typical make up of your 'sheltered' class?"
Well there's the two Nepalese, half a dozen Eritreans, several Mexican and Guatemalan, several Vietnamese and Cambodian and the rest are American: Sheltered means that most of the students are not fully fluent in English.
So that's one aspect of a smallish northern Californian town. The Eritrean population fascinates me, Eritreans and Ethiopians look very similar and they look different from any other Africans, they have almost European features; there's quite a few here in fact they comprise almost totally the black population of Santa Rosa, but back to 'where do we live'.
We live on the outskirts of a small rural agricultural town about 10 miles from Santa Rosa, it used to be the apple capital of northern California but all the orchards have been ripped out and replaced with vineyards. It's a beautiful area with mountains and open areas and the Pacific coast is only about 10 miles away, almost all the farms are now devoted to grapes.
Our house used to be a home for foster children, actually about a dozen or more teenagers, much of the time unsupervised. When we bought it it had supposedly been renovated but I spent the first several years discovering just how much mischief a group of adolescents can do, much of the wiring and plumbing needed attention and there were no internal doors.
The reason that we were so attracted to the house was [a] size: 4 beds, 2 living rooms, workroom, 3 bathrooms and a 2 car garage, way big for two people but very comfortable and all the rooms get used.
[b] price, it was very cheap, approx 130,000 quid. [c] it had a 1 acre totally fenced garden, and
[d] there were 2 features that totally sold me, an atrium 14ft by 14 ft going up 2 stories and with a translucent roof and a lean-to structure, also with a translucent roof, that ran the length of the rear of the house, it was 55ft by 14ft and in very sad shape but I immediately saw it as a greenhouse: It subsequently became a workshop and a conservatory, filled with hanging tropical plants and housing a Jacuzzi.
The atrium is the unique feature of the house, it's enclosed with 7 ft by 10ft sliding glass doors on 4 sides and the kitchen, dining room, both living rooms and the entrance hall all look into it plus there's a staircase with a balcony that also looks down into it. I've strung 1/16th" stainless steel cable across it from which I have many hanging baskets of tropical plants plus there's about half a dozen large tropical plants and bamboo varieties that reach up to the roof; the only thing missing from my tropical rainforest are monkeys and parakeets! Did I mention that I also installed a misting system on a timer at the top?
So given all that you would be correct to assume that I keep quite busy working around the house and garden, I've installed about a dozen raised beds with irrigation and planted two orchards of various fruit trees, I've never worked so hard as I have since I retired.
I've spent many hours walking in Ecclesall woods both with and without snow and I love Lincoln cathedral, been there many times. Madrid and Hamburg sound very interesting.

ejayinCameroon said...

Hello from Bangoulap! Not even a dial-up connection can keep me away it seems. I was going to wait until I got back, but I thought since I'm here it would be more interesting than where I live in London.
So here we are in Bangoulap, the village my maternal grandfather is from. We're in Bamiléké country, it's very hill-y, the soil is red, and you hae to wrap up at night if you go outside. The house is on a hill, approx 1000m altitude, from which you can see the Bamoun region. The first thing my parents did once they bought the land was to plant lots of trees (the hill had been used for grazing), so now we're surroundered by all sorts of pines, eucalyptus, mango trees, palm trees and a bunch of other ones I don't know. Not too many neighbours as everything is spread out, although we do get a lot of visitors, if you need to buy anything you go to Bangangté, where there's a market and a bakery, although now we make our own bread, and most vegetables and fruit come from the garden. The next big city is Bafoussam, where my grandmother still lives although there aren't all the kids that used to be around, but it's where we used to stay when I came here as a child so I have lots of memories there, especially of the stairwell, which I should add to my upcoming photo essay "Are you going up or down; a fresh look at the places that make us ascend, or descend". But I digress, there's a nice terrace where we can have breakfast and lunch and look at the trees and flowers. It's nice to be in the countryside rather than in a city, as the usual hustle and bustle of the city, like most African cities can be quite stressful and tiring after a while.

sourpus said...

debbym, I like this question and will respond as follows.

I live in Buda. For those of you who've been here to Budapest, that'll be the part of the city where you spent maybe one evening or afternoon, if you were adventurous and ready to use trams and buses. For way the majority of visitors, it is actually Pest which you have seen, not Budapest.

Conceited expats from the centre of Pest (of which I used to be one) always ask "Why do you live out in the sticks, sourpus?" (its only about 15 minutes on the bus to the centre of Pest). They do this to wind me up but also because most of them have seldom, if ever, set foot here.

Sure, its populated by retirees and their dogs and older expats who prefer a bit of genuine comfort to that charming but drafty, high-ceilinged, period loft you pay the earth for in Pest.

But what it also has is bags and bags of charm, clean air (oh my God!) and flora and forna of the kind only the occupants of the most favoured cities on Earth can dream of. The architecture is as varied as ive seen in any place ive been and, to someone who grew up in the wonder of the English suburbs which bordered the best countryside, and who is a bit citied out after years of burning the candle at all the ends I could find, Buda is just the way it needs to be. (And anyway, for about three quid, I can take a taxi back in the early hours from Pest's heart, any evening of my choosing)

If this isnt enough, I also love my flat. It's high on a hill, with a main balcony overlooking the whole of Normafa hills (which are covered in forest and dotted with beautiful and expensive houses). I occupy the whole of the top part of a large house, my bed room has a gabled ceiling, the wooden floor is warm to walk on and the kitchen and bathroom are cosy, light-filled and westernised in the best way you can find in these parts. In the summer time, with all the windows wide, the birds singing and the sun going down behind the hills, its an enviable environment, large enough for any invividual.

Why then, some of you who know a bit more about me may be asking, do I always talk about wanting to leave Budapest?

Well, I think I can tell you that when I began contributing to this blog, I was indeed very unhappy with finding myself in Hungary and unable (for a long time - years in fact) to reconcile myself with it. What's changed is actually me. I no longer wrestle with the question of global location and, instead, concentrate on inner peace and exploring the wider world of my dreams and wishes. It seems to be paying off.

I will leave Budapest someday. But for now, my complaining days are over.

saneshane said...

finding you somewhat calmed has given me a beautiful sense of satori ... never thought I'd be typing that to you.. great to read.

Japanther said...

this is a fascinating read...excellent question debbyM - your place sounds amazing and reminds me of Chiristiana in Copenhagen which I gaze at with fascination every time I visit there

@carole - myself and SKP used to live in Horfield! My memory ain't great, but i'm pretty sure our house in Draycott Road came under Horfield. Small world indeed!

Now I live with my Japanese wife (no kids!) right slap bang in the very centre of Tokyo. If you look at a Tokyo tube map, you'll see a big green circular line that has most of the major stations on it, we live right inside that in the middle, on the fifth floor (and on a hill, making it seem higher) of a late 60's or early 70's block of flats (this is ancient by Tokyo standards and would undoubtedly fail modern earthquake safety standards) in a fairly spacious by Tokyo standards (but pretty small by normal standards) flat with a beautiful night view of the Tokyo skyline. We've been here for 4 years and are looking to buy somewhere when our contract runs out in July...but we'll see.....easier said than done I think.

Although we are right in the centre, the neighbourhood is very quiet and very clean with lots of trees and very few people. There is the National Stadium (Japan's equivalent of Wembley) very nearby and a lot of open space. The main hub of Shinjuku (the place with all the neon when you see photos of Tokyo) with a load of amazing record shops is less than 15 minutes away by bicycle (or under 5 mins. on the train), the youth cultural epicentre of Shibuya with er....more great record shops (i'm sure they do have other kinds of shops too, I haven't really investigated!) and about a million bars and restaurants is about 20 minutes by bike (just over 10 by train). Or for a bit more sophisticated shopping and nightlife experience, Aoyama is about 10 minutes cycling away. Mrs J's shop is nearby meaning that she cycles everywhere and only very rarely gets on the ridiculously overcrowded trains. For us it's pretty much the perfect place to live at this moment in our lives.

The big downside to this paradise and the reason that this oasis is allowed to exist in the notoriously overcrowded Tokyo is that the whole area is owned/controlled by a religious group (read: cult!)/ political organisation that wields a lot of power and influence. Every person we see on the street and every single one of our neighbours is a member. At first the extra CCTV, 24 hour security guards and suited men with earpieces and walkie talkies crept me out a bit, but now it actually makes me feel pretty secure and to be fair we haven't once tried to be converted or anything like that...although i think we are looked upon as outsiders. Which we kinda like!

CaroleBristol said...

@Japanther - ha! About 10 minutes walk from me.

Japanther said...

@carole - unbelievable! a lot of good memories from there....playing pool and sinking a few pints in The Sportsman for example..

...after that we moved up near Gloucester Road, right next to the prison but I can't remember the name of the road. we used to hear the multiple sirens every time they brought a new high-security prisoner in..

Exodus said...

We live in a privately rented 50's red brick semi on what was once a council estate & is now about 50/50 private/council. We're in Radcliffe, a town about 2 miles south of Bury, Greater Manchester. The centre of Manchester is about 7 miles away, but unlike Whitefield just up the hill, Radcliffe is defintely Bury (and Lancashire), not Manchester according to the locals.

We've been in the house for three years and in the town for about 10, and will probably stay round here as long as we're in the North West (the long term plan is a move back to South Wales). It's a fairly depressed area at the moment - a lot of closed down industries over the last twenty years haven't been replaced by anything meaningful, but people are on the whole pretty friendly. The downside is, being a depressed predominantly white working class area it's being targetted by the BNP, who get a depressing amount of votes, but at least we get plenty to argue about in the pub.

We went for this house as it was the only one in our price range that had a (small)garden, & now grow a ridiculous amount of fruit and veg, given the size.

CaroleBristol said...

...after that we moved up near Gloucester Road, right next to the prison

That would be even closer to me, Japanther.

steenbeck said...

I'm enjoying these answers so much! Good question DebbyM. I'll return with my anticlimactic answer after Isaac's playdate. I want to move everywhere you folks live!!

steenbeck said...

Oh, and I hope you're serious about that photo essay, Ejay! Sounds brilliant.

debbym said...

Thank you to everyone, this has made me want to organise a 'Spill houseswap! I'm particularly taken with tfd's current abode - tracy, too, I recall - but I could never afford the mortgage (BIG sigh)...
Ejaydee, PLEASE do London once you're back (I posted your noms on the mothership btw)
Looking forward to reading more later!

AliMunday said...

Great question DebbyM. Your place looks amazing.

CaroleB - seems you've hit the jackpot. My mum used to live in Longmead Ave and loved to walk on Horfield Common in the spring when the daffs were out. My brother still lives in Horfield and the Wellington is owned by my nephew's brewery - so it's very familiar to me. I lived there meself for a bit, when I first ran off with Mr Munday.

I often wonder how I've ended up in a 1950s semi on the outskirts of Huddersfield - but he we are. To be fair, the surrounding countryside is absolutely beautiful and we are rural enough to have our milk delivered by a milkman whose farm is just up the hill - in the summer we can see his cows behind the houses opposite. Our garden is long, backing onto a wood. Lots of wildlife, hills, walks etc. yet only 3 miles from town and easy walking distance to the main road (bus) and local station. House is very small but has a lot of potential - whether that potential will ever be realised in my time here is a good question. Sometimes I really regret leaving Bristol (and rural Gloucestershire where I grew up) - but really can't complain. Could do without the 50 mile round-trip commute to work though. Been doing it for 11 years now.

CaroleBristol said...

@AliMunday - I like the Welly a lot. A nice pub, I used to be in a quiz team that went to the Monday night quizzes but people drifted away. Nice food and beer in there though.

ToffeeBoy said...

Le familie Caramel live in a 1950s semi-detached suburban house on the outskirts of Watford - actually in Bushey, which sounds much better.

Good things about Watford:

- it's close to London (under 20 minutes on the train to Euston) but not THAT close
- the M1 and the M25 are both within five minutes drive so wherever you're heading you've got a good start
- there are loads of beautiful, scenic villages with quiet country pubs within a half hour's drive

My garden backs onto (uncultivated) farm land, so the view and the bird watching are great. It's also a flood plane so there's little prospect of future housing development (yes, I'm a NIMBY!). The garden is west-facing so the sunsets are phenomenal.

The area itself is lovely. A nice mixed community with very little trouble on the streets (there are no extremes of wealth or poverty) and the school, shops, Indian Restaurant and churches in the area (the only pub closed about a year ago to no real disgruntlement - it was a dive!) help to provide a real community spirit.

We've lived around here for nearly 30 years and have no desire to live elsewhere ...

SatanKidneyPie said...

Great question, Debbie. It's nice to be able to picture where everybody is when 'Spilling...

We live in a turn-of-the-century semi-detached house in what I suppose you would describe as suburban Birmingham. (I call it a semi- but I've lived in bigger terraced houses to be honest.) It's a fairly traditionally styled house not too far from the Bournville factory, so I suspect it might have been built as accommodation for the factopry workers. We're not too far from Birmingham Uni, so there's a mix of students, young professionals and families in the area, but it's not got any sort of cafe culture or pretensions.

Our house originally had 2 bedrooms, but our predecessors converted the loft, so there's now a third bedroom where Little Miss Satan sleeps. It's not a bad house, with quite a nice garden, but it's certainly not for keeps. Neither Mrs KP nor I are from Brum (she's from Leeds, I grew up in Sutton, south London), so we don't know how long we'll be here, or where the next move might be. This doesn't quite feel like home, but the longer we're here the deeper the roots get...

@Carole - Just to flesh out the details given my former housemate, we used to live on Falmouth Road, so spitting distance from the prison. There was a security scare one day (suspect package outside the prison??) and we weren't allowed out of the house for about 3 hours. After Falmouth Road I went on a placement year so was away from Bristol, while JudasJapanther moved to Clifton (*spits*), but I then lived in Bishop Road for the final year of my degree. I loved living in that area - is Disc N Tape still there?

steenbeck said...

Well, I live in New Jersey. (cue canned laughter). Probably the most joked about place in the entire universe. But let me tell you why I like it. A huge portion of it is protected farm or wild land. We have one whole border on the ocean, we have mountains, forests, rivers, cities. I currently live right on the Delaware river, in a small town that used to be an artists' community, across from a small town in Pennsylvania that used to be an artists' community. We still have galleries, galleries, galleries, artists. Also antique stores that attract the likes of Barbra streisand. I live in a small city, founded in the 18th century. We're surrounded by absolutely gorgeous countryside, with just the right amount of hills and trees and vineyards. We're 45 minutes from Philly and an hour and a bit from NYC. We live in a semi-attached brick house from 1850. We had to do a lot of work on it, but it was mostly of the remove-the-atrocious-additions of the 70s-kind. Small town community. I feel if my boys or dog were wondering around somebody would know where they lived and bring them home. BUt there's also a lot going on creatively - everybody is in a band, everybody is an artist of some kind. And for the most part it's extremely liberal. THere's a large LGB community, which is always a good sign in a place, I think. Something about living in NJ always makes me feel like I'm being defensive when I describe the good qualities of the place I live. But I do love it. It's just right for us at the moment.

CaroleBristol said...

is Disc N Tape still there?

I don't know it, SatanKidneyPie, where was it? (See, I am assuming that it isn't there any more).

SatanKidneyPie said...

@Carole - It was towards the bottom of Gloucester Road near the crossroads with *hastily checks googlemaps to refresh memory* Zetland Road. It was nothing special, just a handy little local independent record shop. I suppose it was too much to expect it might still be there. I feel quite sad now...

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