10:40 GMT, Sunday 8th August 2010. I’m in Newcastle. A little dazed. Kind of forcing myself to appreciate where I am right now. It’s not an unpleasant experience, but it is an ordeal.
Flew up here on Friday.
Arrived at night. Had to go next door to get keys. A quick hi to Pete and then I’m padding across the shared decking at the back, like old times, except those old times are gone now. This is new.
I cross the boundary line between both properties and I can now see into the house through large windows that are void of curtains. A few lights are on.
Everything, literally everything is gone.
White painted walls. Bare varnished floors.
I won’t list what was missing; I’ve you’ve been to Kosekroken you know how amazing it was.
The place I’ve known as Home for the past 30 years, since I was 9 years old, no longer exists. The house is there but the soul is absent. Just eerie echoes of past emotions. As I walked around that first night, tears streamed freely, each room conjuring a slideshow of vivid memories.
The room that was my bedroom.
Then along the hallway to the room that had been mum’s. A room that hadn’t been touched or moved since last November when she died in there. So that it had become a sort of shrine, or comfort cave, to go to and be with her. Now all that is gone. Her ashes are still there however, so I picked them up, the urn still wrapped in her turquoise cardigan that she wore in the final phase… I hugged it close, like I was hugging her living breathing body, and I cried a little more.
“Hey mum,” I greeted.
It’s not just that my parents are dead.
It’s not just the end of this massive house, that’s been such a significant part of my life (and others that I know) for so many decades.
It’s Jesus Mound.
It’s Newcastle itself.
I live hundreds of miles away; have done since I was 21.
This place is quite literally another world and now there’s no reason to come back. Especially in the context of what is happening next door, and the fact Jesus Mound has become a dormitory for snobby rich kids coming here to University.
There are no new memories to be formed here.
There’s just the ghosts of old memories and 30 years gone by.
All era’s have come to and end.
This isn’t me whining or having a melancholic rant. I’m just observing and stating what I see (through the particular lens of my mind).
In the final analysis I’m immensely privileged to have had somewhere like this in my life for so long.
For those privileges, I’m grateful.
Looking into the old dinning room.
Looking into the old lounge.
The wallpaper from my old bedroom when first moved in, 1979
Switching track a little. Managed to get in a game of Fury of Dracula with Pete next door. An epic 2 hour marathon of me chasing him around Europe. He was Drac, I had five hunters… using the expanded rule system I wrote a few years back. I finally staked him through the heart in Copenhagen.
Watched Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Wow. What an amazing story and an excellent film. Gripping, chilling and utterly immersive. I didn’t want it to end.
Last night Pete and I carried out tradition. Walked to the double D diner, ordered lamb pathia, mushroom rice, for pick up in 1 hour, then strolled to a nearby pub, quaffed a leisurely pint, shooting the breeze until it was time to get the food. However this time I took it into an empty home. No furniture. I lit the gas fire and sat on the varnished wooden floor… recreating a memory of doing the same with my parents in 1979.
Today I caught the Metro to the coast. First time in two decades that I’ve done that journey on my own. Really enjoyed it. The weather was balmy but sunny… I strolled to the end of the massive stone Tynemouth pier and sat on some steps for ages, just gazing at the North Sea. Then Marshalls fish and chip shop. Had to queue 30 minutes for a take away but OMG was it worth the wait. I ate them, drizzled with salt and vinegar, on a bench tucked away on the edge of a cliff overlooking the priory and a small beach / bay. Washed it down with an ice cold can of Coke.
I’d had a loose plan of coming back here for my birthday (40 dude!) but I don’t think I will now. There’s nothing to come back for.
So, unless the house doesn’t sell soon, this is probably it.
I’ve got a 5.30 A.M. taxi booked for the airport.
Goodbye Jesus Mound.