Having picked up Joshua and Laila on the 22nd December and brought them home and gotten them settled in we relaxed with good food, good company and lots of games of monopoly. You'd think they'd prefer computer games wouldn't you? I guess it was the human interaction: the feigned outrage at having to pay the little pip-squeaks all your hard earned false wonga etc. We went for a traditional pakistani kebab meal just down the road and then headed back to the warm house and watched a movie together.
Edna did us a Christmas dinner that was excellent, as all her roasts tend to be. We spent the afternoon with her too, laughing and joking. The kids swapping experiences with her and Edna sharing tales from the bygone years. She's not used to having company, something that I can understand, but she was having a great time with the kids.
I took Josh and Laila to Leicester on Boxing Day. We took Laila's sari and got her measured up for a peticoat and blouse to go with it. Me and Josh got her another present for her birthday while she was being measured up etc and hid it from her so that we could get it home and wrap it up. We then went and had some traditional indian food (not the stuff you get in 'indian' restaurants) and it was delicious.
I took them driving around the area that I grew up from the age of 11 then; Highfields. In those days our street was right in the middle of an area that boasted drug deals and prostitution. The overkill on road ramps suggest that things haven't been completely resolved for residents in that area.
We drove by the school that I went to: Moat Boys High School on Melbourne Road and the news agent where I did my paper rounds for some extra pocket money. I told them about my life as a child. Working at school and going straight to the chip shop to do my evening job (peeling spuds, making curry sauce and cleaning the place). I use to earn 50p an hour. It was independance of a sort and allowed me to buy clothes that I wanted to wear.
I took the kids to the park where we played football and were undefeated in the main. A bunch of kids that would meet to form a team and take on anyone that fancied their chances, even if they were older. We were all friends and played hard for eachother - as a team! I was their goalie and didn't let many goals in at all. It's a shame we couldn't do the same thing with the school football team.
I showed them the hill that I used to skateboard down and told them about the day a lice of slate stopped my board dead in its tracks, sending me flying through the air like superman...I landed about 8 inches short of the tree trunk that was in my path. I told them how I would skateboard all the way from Laurel Road (formerly Biddulph Street) to Gypsy Lane from my house to get a glimpse of Rani, the first girl that I fell in love with. It wasn't a mutual thing though..just a teenager's crush I guess. :)
I told my kids how things were in those days, gang wars, drugs, prostitution and the National Front marches that would come right up through the middle of Highfields, via Melbourne Road; their torches burning. Some of the marchers wearing Klu Klux Klan style sheets over heads and bodies, carrying banners that spoke of mindless hatred, chanting things that they wouldn't be allowed to chant in this day and age.
Looks like there has been progress.
I have to go..I'm being summoned to the Monopoly board :)