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When We Came Here

A Memory of Bulwell

When our family, consisting of myself, Jean Pauline Smith, my mother who has since passed away (also called Jean, but her middle name is Audrey), and my sister and brother came to Bulwell, we came from the famous or infamous Balloon Wood flats, in Wollaton. We were given a three bedroom house on Hornbeam Gardens, Snapewood. It was a cold September when we looked around and going into the back bedroom, I saw the cemetery beyond. I was mortified, having only been at work for a year, I now didn't want to live so close to a graveyard. But since then I have marvelled at it. Our garden transformed from a mud hole with three layers into a lower patio area with a raised rockery. My mum started to collect a wide range of plants and her pride and joy were the heathers and oxalis/shamrocks. As I got older I contributed to the garden and we started to look at the wildlife that inhabited the cemetary and the gardens around us. We used to have squirrels, a large assortment of birds and our new cat. the rockery provided a range of insects to feed the birds and the local wrens. I was always interested in wildlife but now I had a pair of binoculars. Being empty beyond I was allowed to use them. The town was smaller then, with few shops. It was friendly and my mother started to get to know people. My brother had to go to another school before Snapewood Primary opened up. But the best thing was our old next door neighbour from Balloon Woods came to live close. At first she came for a visit, then she wanted to live next door at number 17 Hornbeam. She couldn't get that so she tried the next one and so on. She does live very close. She is the friend who never forgets you, she was a very close friend of my mother, who looked after her when she was ill. She does anything for her close-knit family and friends. She was there when our mother was diagnoised with Motor Neuorone Disease. She looked after me when I had cancer, and she was there when our mother died. She helped us through our grief.
Before my mother died, she started to research our family history. Our grandfather had the unusual name of Boultby, he was a former miner at Babbington pit at Cinderhill. He went on to Cotgrave. He retired and died there. When my mother started researching, she found out we had connections with Black Horse Yard. My grandmother's brother was called Fredrick Evans. He lived at 39 Crown Street, Black Horse Yard Bulwell. I think he was born 04.08.1907.
When we had a dog, we would walk up to the fields and the woods beyond, almost to the motorway. Since my mother has died she was buried in the new cemetary at Bulwell. She chose to be there, where she once walked, and where nature has a free hand. The Bulwell I remember had few shops, the COOP,came, then Woolworths, Wilkinsons, and the new buildings housed other retailers. The market was the best in the area. People from miles around came to it. The long gone Somerfield/Kwiksave was there and then it wasn't. Morrisons came and then the COOP went.
The last few years have seen too many changes. The market isn't as good as it once was. Some stalls have gone, either the owners have retired or they have moved on. The fruit and veg stalls and bakery stalls there do have fresh produce, but the atmosphere seems different. There are now trees where some stalls stood, yes we need trees, but since their arrival the market has changed. I am not the only one who thinks so, or is it because I am older. the idea of cutting off traffic from a part of the market was good, but somedays it also causes problems.
The old Library on Highbury Vale was/is a great morning's trip out. We as children always liked to go to the Wollaton Village Library (that is for another memory). We would sit quietly and choose books. you can go there and get timetables and information. When my son was born, we lived at Clifton (not my choice), we moved back here in 1996. I took my son to the library. The people who are in there are very warm and friendly. They were there when I wanted something to do/read when I was ill. They have been there throughout my son's schooling. I was there as a guest when I worked in childcare and helped take some of the children to choose books. What will happen to this fine old building in a few years' time when the new one comes into Bulwell? It has been there on the hill since the early 1920s. Let's save this fine building for some group projects, don't destroy it.
Then there is the old Salvation Army building. It has been there since 1908. Once they had a small tea room at the front. At first my mum didn't want to go there in case they started to preach to her, but they didn't. It became a meeting area as my mum got older. She would join her friends when shopping and started to make friends with some of the staff. I have been there a few times. Now that is closed. The Kwik Save supermarket closed and all we have is an empty car park that nobody can use. It has been blocked off. Two Christmases ago the very few smaller car parks were full to overflowing with cars because they used the whole area. Now they park along the sides of the bollards because there is no room to park. This has caused people to go elsewhere to shop. The recession isn't helping and we have had a few closed-down stores in the last few years. the most memarable is of course Woolworths.

A memory shared by Jean Smith , on Mar 10th, 2009.

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