Ian (ringbark) wrote,

Places I've lived - 1

I start this series wary of the fact that it may take more time than I thought, and may turn into some sort of autobiography too. Let's see...

I was difficult before I was even born. Even though my parents lived in Bebington on the Wirral peninsula, there were some issues with my mother's pregnancy such that I was actually born at a better equipped hospital in Liverpool. This makes me technically a Lancastrian and a Scouser, even though I have never lived in Liverpool. I do, however, see it as my "home city".

Bebington continued to be my home from 1961 till 1979 when I went to Oxford, though my tenure at Keble was shorter than I might have hoped. After a year, I went back home, from whence I studied for my degree at the University of Liverpool, graduating in 1983.

Early in 1984, I started as a Graduate Trainee Programmer at a company in Sheldon in Birmingham, not far from the airport, but for the first six months working there I stayed at a hostel in Eddington towards the north of the city. In August 1984, I bought a property in Sheldon, with a view of the main runway, and paid £19,500 for it. Imagine what that buys today! Anyway, in late 1987, Viv joined me there after we married and in July 1989, David was born. It was a two bedroom marionette, and while suitable for a bachelor or a couple, it was not a family home.

Both sets of parents were starting to put pressure on us to move, but we didn't want to do so or tell them why straight away. It was likely that we would be moving overseas, and the costs and inconvenience of such a move in Birmingham just before going overseas were not for us. In fact, we did tell them why we hadn't moved once the new role was confirmed, and in May 1990 we left Birmingham behind for the small South Pacific city of Port Vila in Vanuatu, previously the New Hebrides.

After a couple of weeks at a motel there, we moved to a great house in Tassiriki, one of the wealthier suburbs of Vila, next door to the manager of the largest bank in the country one side and the owner of the largest trust company in the country on the other side, with the British High Commissioner's residence just ups the hill, with Palm trees just down the hill and a lagoon at the bottom of the garden...

Three years on, Matthew has been born, the post-Thatcher recession is in full swing (so much as you can say a recession is ever in full swing) and the contract was coming to an end. Rather than going back to England, we chose to go to New Zealand, where the economy had turned a corner.

Getting residence in New Zealand is not a straightforward process, but we managed it, and in October 1993 moved to Hastings on the East Coast of the North Island, the fruitbowl of New Zealand, where we stayed for just over four years.

More another day. More details on any part available on request. Ask me anything, on this or any other subject.

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