Hartlepool and Northern England
I just come back from a trip to the UK. Unfortunately it was to attend the funeral of my Uncle, my mum's older brother and the last of her family. It was a mixed-emotions kind of trip. Sad because of the circumstances, and exciting because it was the first time I got to see where my mum grew up.
The history was incredible, and I had never experienced anything like it. Australia is just so young. I love the fact that I could visit the church my grandmother, great grandmother, great great grandmother were christened and married. I love that the stone steps are so worn down from hundreds and hundreds of years of footsteps.
I liked that everyone wore gumboots, and ramblers roamed the countryside and the cobbled stones. I liked that everyone loved dogs and everyone's dog lived in the house, and sat on the furniture. I liked the sound of the seagulls and the cosy houses, and that the english love ice cream so much, they eat it when it's 3 degrees, raining and windy. A trip to the seaside, no matter the weather means ice cream.
They say "you alright?" like we say "how ya going?". The North York Moors are spooky and at the same time fascinating. Everyone calls their grandfather granddad, like we did. In Australia it's always Pop, Poppy or some equivalent and I always found it strange.
My mum always said she felt like she never belonged anywhere, but she knows she belongs on the Hartlepool Headland. It was nice to see her go back.
Last week, my mum received a phone call from the brother of her eldest brother's wife to let her know than her brother had been made comfortable after surgery on his brain and was not expected to live through the day. 36 hours later her and I jumped on a plane and headed over to the UK.
I had been talking on and off about going over to see Hartlepool sometime later this year, the place where my mum spent the first 16 years of her life. She'd always mention how much she missed it, and it was always somewhere she felt she belonged. Although they were extremely poor, with a physically and verbally abusive step father and mother she always liked the idea of living there again one day and hopefully taking us to see the area.
Well, because of the unfortunate circumstances I was able to see the north of England. During the week we waited for the funeral we tripped around as far as we could - a total of 1000km was put on the rental car. We hung out on the headland, where she was from and told me all the stories about how rough it was, how they stayed out more than they stayed home, what trouble they got up to, etc.