… My Street: the guided tour

I love the street I live on.

I’m very lucky.

But we have a dark secret. 

And now it needs to come out.

Our street is Slightly Posh.

Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but let me show you and you can decide for yourself.

Mind the wobbly paving stones and the overhanging wet privet hedges and I’ll give you the tour…

To begin with, the best thing is the trees. 

More specifically the distance between the trees. 

There are trees directly outside my next-door neighbours’ houses on each side which means I have the perfect position of having a green view out my front window, but not quite so much bird poo on my car in the mornings. 

The flip side to practically living in the woods is that the roots make the paving slabs sit at crazy angles like an Icelandic lava-field ready to trip the unwary, which pram pushers have to weave through like a drunken game of Super Mario Kart. 

And because I live in Manchester, where it rains, the leaves are always wet so you are constantly risking being victim to the moment when a big drop of rain plops against the inside of your glasses and explodes into your eye in a million icy shards.

And if the trees are a hazard on the pavements, I hardly dare mention the bottomless pits that pass themselves off as potholes.  Only last week a team of eminent Victorian scientists emerged from one of them claiming to have found a route to the centre of the earth.

There is a technique to drive avoiding them which unfortunately requires you to go wide right, then sharp left , then sharper left then hard right again.  This will miss all the potholes but at a cost of mounting the kerb once and driving across Dr Sharma’s front garden if you want to turn right out of the road.

You may remember the lockdown applause for the NHS.

Now doing what I do for a living, “Clap for the NHS” will always mean the queue outside the Preston Genito-Urinary Medicine clinic on a Monday morning.  But I’m talking about the applause one, not the stingy discharge one.

Do you remember not wanting to be the first one to stop clapping?  It’s like at a North Korean political rally:  shadowy figures whisper from the rhododendron bushes that “bad things may happen to the least enthusiastic clappers”.  Just saying.

You might also remember from an earlier blog that I’ve started jogging.

But I’m not the only mid-life dad runner trying to keep back the pounds and protect the coronary arteries.

Robert across the road went out for a run last spring and, completely unaware of this being the day of the first NHS clap, was approaching his house at 8pm.  He had to finish the last 200 metres, flushed, sweaty, embarrassed and to thunderous applause.

It was a marker of how very Slightly Posh my street is that at 7:55 pm as people went out to cheer the NHS and key workers and bang on pots and pans, hushed conversations were being held all along the road.

“No, not the Le Creuset, Simon!”

“Wooden spoons if you’re banging the non-stick, children!”

So you see, the problem with being Slightly Posh is that you can never be cool.

All the children are immaculate.

All the girls go to ballet classes and all the boys are in the cubs.

The mums probably play tennis.

I don’t know if anyone in the street actually plays golf, but you get the feeling someone might.

Never cool.

It’s hardly growing up in the ghetto, as the rappers whom neither I nor my neighbours listen to would doubtless complain. 

The closest I ever get to the ghetto is how posh people in Northern Ireland pronounce the name of a French cake.  (To appreciate that joke fully if you’re not from Northern Ireland; middle class people in Belfast only speak through tightly pursed lips in public.  Give it a try after me: “Would you like another wee slice of Bleck Forest ghetto?”)

So if you were asked “what’s the word on the street?” like in Starskey and Hutch (a 1970’s cop show for those born since the invention of the sandwich toaster), you’d look left and right at the homes of a retired policeman, a GP, a town planner and an insurance broker. 

You’d appreciate the fact that the only dealers you are likely to find run a Volvo showroom, and the only “hood” we talk about is on our son’s anorak if it rains on the way home from trumpet lessons, and you’d decide that the word on the street is probably “peachy”.

5 thoughts on “… My Street: the guided tour

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: