Tag Archives: bikes

My First House

I have been asked to share my memories of my first house, so I’ll give it a go. While I lived there for roughly seven-and-a-half years, a lot of it I don’t really remember.

As you come in the front door, you enter the living room, and there is a staircase immediately to the right, which takes you upstairs to the bedrooms. I remember a green curtain that went around the staircase. I remember doing what kids do, and wrapping myself up in the curtain. I remember sometimes hiding behind the curtain while my parents were downstairs, they didn’t know I was there. Or maybe they did, and didn’t let on.

As you stand with the back to the front door, the couch is more or less in front of you, facing the wall on your left. On that wall on your left is the electric fireplace, which occupies part of an alcove The TV is in the alcove, I remember a black-and-white TV being hooked up to a car battery during a power cut, but I believe our main TV was colour. I remember Christmas cards being up in the alcove. The alcove has bumpy wallpaper, I remember it being brown, I remember it being white. I think the white was later. The brown was dark, and may have been described as chocolate. It didn’t taste like chocolate.

Beyond the fireplace area, on the same wall, is the door towards the bathroom. It’s not immediately the bathroom there, there’s a corridor, with another alcove for coats. I think there may be some steps (maybe even one) before you reach the bathroom.

I vaguely remember the floor of the bathroom. The linoleum had a pattern. It wasn’t circles, hexagons or octagons, but I think it had shapes that made up an octagon sort of shape. I remember pretending these were transporter pads, but I don’t remember watching any Star Trek Original Series at that point. I had the beaming associated with the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy radio series, which didn’t really have much of that sort of thing in it.

I remember Dad taping the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide radio series off the radio. He later bought the tapes.

I remember locking myself in the bathroom and crying a lot. And then I think I took a nap. After the nap, I was over whatever the tantrum was about, and let myself out of the bathroom.

More-or-less behind the couch was the kitchen. I guess I would probably find it small now. I remember one year finding Christmas presents behind the kitchen door. They were a bit hidden, but evidently not enough. I think I only actually saw a Transformers place mat.

I only remember there being my bedroom (shared with my sister) and my parents’ room upstairs. There was a landing between the two. There was a light on the ceiling. I remember one year we had an Easter Egg hunt, and there was an egg hidden in the lampshade. I saw it, and tried to get my mother to get it for me, she wasn’t paying attention to me, and got it.

I have told her this story since, and she has apologised. And owes me a pack of Creme Eggs every year….

…it was worth a try.

The window in my room looked directly out over a field. You could see the main road to the right of the field, but our house was away from the road. I think sometimes cows were in the field, but there was usually a white horse in there. And I think sometimes a brown one. We sometimes threw the horses apples, if I recall correctly, though obviously not from the bedroom window.

I remember that I had a cot, where the side would swing down. I remember one day I opened it, climbed out, and was so pleased with myself. I went to my parents bedroom and told them I got out. I think they were less pleased about this and put me back, but I think it was soon after this that I graduated to a proper bed. I think this proper bed was half a bunk bed, which sometimes was used as two separate beds, and sometimes as a bunk, though possibly here as one single bed.

Outside the front door, we had a porch built. I think “porch” may have a slightly different meaning in American than I’m using here, I mean “a fully-enclosed entranceway”.

There was a path in front of the houses, where I rode my bike. Sometimes fell off, I remember I crashed into a bin. I think I learned to ride (Dad helped me learn) in the driveway. I also rode in that driveway. I remember one time my bike fell over, and the rear reflector fell down the drain. You could see it for quite a while after, and I remember wishing for one of those grabbing-arm toys that one of my friends had, to try and get it back. It was never retrieved.

I remember a go-cart adapted from the old pram. The pram had kind of floorboards that could be turned into seats.

Outside the house there were trash cans that were basically just a lid, and a ring to attach the bag to. When there were no bags, my sister and I would play at being Oscar the Grouch.

Between the driveway and the path, there was a little lawn. I remember having fireworks there, the one that stands out being one that popped red, orange and green in a traffic light pattern.

I remember snatches of when my mother and sister came home in an ambulance, after my sister was born.

At the end of the lawn the driveway curved in towards the houses, and that’s where we parked (our garage had stuff in it, though I only remember the bike). I remember a white Ford Orion that we had, Dad’s company car. We must have had other cars at different times, but I only remember that one, and the larger car we got after we moved.

With the back to the house, and the little lawn in front, beyond the lawn there was a larger lawn. On its right were clothes lines, the ones that spin around and look kind of like an umbrella when they’re full. there were paving stones in that area, I remember looking at ants. to the left was a wall with a gate, separating the area from the main road. Beyond the larger lawn, was a line of trees or bushes, and I remember that the grass that had been cut, got dumped there. It was nice and soft to sit in.

The line of houses to the left of the little lawn and path, were attached to each other, but there was a little walkway separating most of the end house to from the house next to it. It made wonderful echoes, but the owner of the end house didn’t appreciate this fact like we did. In the last year or two, someone else lived in the end house, and we got on better with her.

So that’s a large chunk of what I remember about where I spent most of my first almost-8 years on the planet. Thanks to my parents for the nice place to live and the good memories.

Learning Three Things At Once

I’m attempting to teach my oldest to ride a bike.

I remember that my Dad taught me, but I don’t remember how he did it.

There are three separate things that you have to pick up all at the same time:

  • Balance
  • Steering
  • Pedalling

Of these, all three are the most important.

I can mitigate pretty much all three by walking alongside, holding handlebars and seat. That ends up being quite hard work, though: there’s quite a height difference. On our first outing, we started like this on the path, and after we’d picked up speed we’d move onto the grass, where it was safer to let go. Sometimes he’d coast for a couple of meters before crashing, sometimes he’d start his descent before I let go.

Trying something different this second time out, I tried to get him to sit on the seat and kind of walk with his tiptoes. He wasn’t really into this, the experiment didn’t last long.

Next, I held the front wheel between my legs, and had him try pushing from one foot to the other. He got bored with this quickly as well, even with the challenge of trying to stay between legs.

It also didn’t help that there was a kid (maybe 4 years old) going around the track, on a bicycle, with training wheels, saying about how he could go faster than us.

Oldest wanted to go back to the method we’d tried before.

Most of the way round the track, I hit on something else to try, a trick I’d picked up, possible after I learned to ride.

Had Oldest hold the handlebars, standing to the left of the bike. Had him put his right foot on the left pedal, and push himself along with his left foot. It’s learning balance, not centered, you have to push and lean right, but hopefully it will help.

We went the rest of the way round the track like this, taking a sit-down break partway through when he didn’t want to do it anymore. After that I insisted he try it the rest of the way.

He fell off a couple of times, leaning or pushing too far to the right: that’s the way the bike went over. One time he found himself kneeling on the side of the bike (the side facing up). It was spectacular, but hurt. He was doing pretty well, though: this might be the most promising method so far. He was managing to coast reasonable lengths for someone starting out. He was wanting to abandon the bike and go onto the slides, from before even the sit-down time (I got him to carry on scooting to the gate to that area, then let him play a little). He was happy the times he managed to coast along for a little. Might try this again next time :)