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A Shout From The Attic: Pleasant Journeys

...We always stopped in the middle to stare down into the murky waters. When crossing by myself, I always did the same. As much as an hour could be lost gazing into the stream while considering the meaning of life, the universe, and everything...

Ronnie Bray tells of a passage pf escape.

To read earlier chapters of Ronnie's autobiography please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/a_shout_from_the_attic/

When the River Colne reaches Huddersfield, it snakes its way through Longroyd Bridge to Folly Hall at the foot of Chapel Hill, from where it widens and slithers along Damside at Newsome before heading out of town via Aspley and Colnebridge. The main road is carried across the cast iron bridge on Newsome Road as it was then. Opposite Zetland Street was an old wooden footbridge that owed much to practical considerations and more to functionality.

This old wooden footbridge crossed from Colne Road at the town side over to the foot of the steps leading to Pip Hill, as Primrose Hill was known. To stand on this bridge was to enter a different world. Damside, Newsome, and Primrose Hill were outlands that had characters different from the parts of town with which I was most familiar. It was a passage of escape from the world and its hostility to places that did not know me and, therefore, had no hold on me.

My Auntie Nora lived at 3 Riley Street, Damside, with Uncle Will Stead and their four children, Brian, Shirley, Audrey, and Keith. This had been my stepfather, Tommy Scott’s, house before he married my mother. A visit to their house, though infrequent, was also a release. Their home had different rules, a family configuration that was not confusing, and was a place of lightness and cheeriness that elevated my spirit. My sister René and I loved to visit them.

We walked down the ancient grassed roadway, Carriage Drive, from Water Street near Spring Grove school, or skipped down Springwood Street and East Parade as far as Queen Street South, down Zetland Street and across the wooden bridge, never crossing the bridge all at once. We always stopped in the middle to stare down into the murky waters. When crossing by myself, I always did the same. As much as an hour could be lost gazing into the stream while considering the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.

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