A quick blast of nostalgia. I was in Guildford earlier in the week. It’s where I was born and was the centre of my world for twenty something years. In the next couple of days, someone I have known since my teens is making a short vist from the States, another, also now in the US is thinking of a last minute booking so tonight I have been searching for local b&bs. A third friend is between here and emigrating to NZ with her husband. For the first time in decades we may all be together in the same place. But Guildford is where we all met.
We have changed, so has Guildford. I used to have a jawline. And a waist. Happy days.
My grandparents’ house is now a restaurant.
Great Aunt Doll’s pub has such a makeover even the name has changed.
Lewis Carroll, who had a house in the town, has a mention in the museum now.
If you grow up in Guildford, as we did, the Georgian buildings of the High Street are something you take for granted. The clock, however, is something everyone knows and notices.
This was a secondhand bookshop without equal. The hours I spent in Thorpes were precious and happy.
On the corner of Jenner Road and the Epsom Road stood the Odeon. Now it is flats.
The Civic Hall was a place where I performed and later where I saw local band Genesis as they made their name, and most memorably, David Bowie. It has been pulled down and rebuilt as G-Live.
Abbot’s Hospital at the top of the High Street adds grace to the town.
Across the road is the Church of the Holy Trinity where my grandparents used to attend.
My favourite part of Guildford is the Castle and its grounds. I walked it every Saturday with my garndparents’ dog, followed by their cat, but round every corner in Guildford memories lurk. I walk down an alleyway and see my parents, my father choosing cheese in the specialist shop, my mother’s eyes caressing fine china in a window. I see my aunts, my grandparents, my cousins; snatches of early memories of light and weather, colour and temperature; the frilly yellow party dress of a girl whose name I don’t recall; the day I slipped and tore my new trousers in the Castle Grounds, the smell of chlorine and the cold of the basket room in the long demolished Castle Baths; racing down the High Street for the last bus home on a Saturday night, the cottages where we would go at the end of the evening, now desirable residences; so many many memories.