Growing Up In South Milford

I wasn’t born in the country. My mum and dad started out in a terraced house in Leeds but when I was two, they moved us to South Milford, a small village between Leeds and York. I don’t think I really appreciated why – and how lucky my brother and I were – until recently.

I started thinking about South Milford again because I came across a posting advertising this house for sale. It’s right next door to one of my former local pubs and I always loved it although I had never seen inside until now.

That got me thinking about how some of my old school friends never left the village – or at least the area – and how I used to wonder how they could do it. Didn’t they want to experience new things? Did they really feel like South Milford was all there was?

But now that I’m *cough* older *cough* I don’t see it that way anymore. Yes, you do miss out on a lot if you stay in one place your whole life. But you also miss out on a lot if you don’t. I suppose in the end, being content is about realizing you can’t have every experience and settling for making the most of the ones you do have. In my case that’s a lot of travel and new experiences, in their cases it’s being close to the people they care about.

But when I saw that house, I thought “you know, if someone told me that’s your new house, I’d be very happy to move in.” I was always keen to get away and experience new things, but I never hated where I was from. And that started me thinking about how very lucky Neil and I were that our parents decided to give us that country childhood.

When I think of being a kid, I think of long summer days riding round on our bikes, making dens in the woods, playing in hay bales, and eating the wild blackberries that grew by the side of the road. I remember Esme’s annual kids’ pantomime and Bonfire night at the Rec and the village Sports Day. I remember the best headmaster anyone could ever had, Mr. Burnley, and the lovely old school building that’s now been converted into flats. I remember the elderly couple who lived in the big house by the school and let us go into their huge garden to collect conkers. I remember the time my best friend Janet and I decided to keep our lunch money so that, instead of giving it to the school for lunch, we could spend it in the village sweet shop. Ah the cruel life lesson we learned only a few days later when the adults rumbled us and it was back to real food for lunch!

We really were very fortunate that our parents decided to move us out of the city. I’m glad I saw that house online because it gave me a chance to say “thanks so much, mum.”

Me as ‘Puss in Boots’ in the annual children’s pantomime.

10 thoughts on “Growing Up In South Milford

  1. *cough* As I was saying .. about living in the same town all your life .. *cough*

    Look at you in that picture! Can we call you “Puss” now?

  2. What a charming childhood you had, straight out of a lovely novel. I am puzzled as to what in the world conkers are?

    Love the picture! I have a similar one of myself and classmates from a 2nd grade play.

  3. Pingback: What in the World are “Conkers”? | Finger Rolls and Folding Chairs

  4. My world was very similar living in rural Wisconsin, which is likely why my English penpal and I got on so well (she was the same age but growing up in North Wales). The nice thing about living in different places, as opposed to just visiting them, is that you learn the culture. Dallas or Houston, TX, for example are urban centers very similar to any other major city downtown – but even venture out to the suburbs and it’s a different world. That is what I have found interesting about moving around – the cultural differences.

  5. Oh my God!!! I remember this, how lovely to find quite ny chance from Googling South Milford and coming across this. That is my sister Debbie Lasckey bottom left. This brings back floods of happy memories, can’t wait to post your picture for her to see on Facebook. Many thanks for posting, Hope you’re well and life being good to you, South Milford was the best place to grow up (we lived on The Avenue)
    Bev Lasckey

      • She is on Facebook and married, she’s Debbie Stubbs now and has been married for years with 3 girls but she never lost her love of horses and finally got her own a couple of years back and Tia is now the love of her life. After we emigrated from South Milford to Ibiza on the boat we moved back and came to Hull. Deb still lives near Hull, I’m in Hull and brother Andy now lives down in Tewkesbury. Where are you living now? I’m still in touch with one of my old best friends from South Milford thanks to the Welcome to the South Milford & Lumby Guest Book on the internet and he replied. It’s nice to hear of old acquaintances from SM 🙂

      • I’m in New York Bev. I lived in Hull for a year and met my husband there – then we emigrated to Toronto and then New York. We’re in the process of preparing to move back to the UK – probably to Cumbria. I just reconnected with Janet Rawlinson on Facebook, and with Taryn Webster – don’t know if you remember her.

    • Similar tale Louise……I just Googled “Esme Crow Milford Mini Theatre” and found this. I went to this performance and particularly remember the skeleton dancing to “Popcorn” which I guess was a big hit of the day. I remember most of the people on here and I think I remember you too though you were my sister’s (Jane) age not mine. I was just the annoying little brother. South Milford was a wonderful place to live and grow up especially Mill Lane and Common Lane.

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