I must admit I love my house, I have lived here for 47 years and I can honestly say that I have never even thought about moving to anywhere else.
Finding the house was one of those predicted events. Both Jean and I knew when we turned into the road that this is where we wanted to live and when we saw the previous owner erecting a ‘for sale’ sign outside the house we had to stop and take a look. I think we said yes before we knew the price.
I had moved to Derby some four weeks earlier to take up a job with Derby City Council (not City at the time) leaving Jean and six month old daughter Sam back in Bradford. I managed to get a Council house as temporary accommodation so they could come and join me. We decided to take a tour around the area to see what properties were available and this house was the first we saw. We didn’t look at any others.
We loved the house, the garden, the location and the access to Locko Park just a few minutes’ walk away.
That was in May 1973 but due to the vendor’s new house not being ready, we couldn’t move in until November 1973. I think the vendor was worried that we would back out of the sale due to the long wait, so they periodically invited Jean to spend the day with them and they could introduce her to the neighbours and the shops etc. This meant that when we did move in we could hit the ground running so to speak.
At that time, although our houses were completed there was still some construction at either end of the road, so traffic passing through was fairly light. We saw plenty of horses, tractors, a green grocers van that came round selling vegetables, and would you believe it a mobile fish and chip van that came round on an evening.
As the years passed by the situation started to gradually change. They introduced a bus service so the road became a bus route. This was good as we could catch a bus from outside the house and be in Derby in minutes, (this was before the A52 road works). Young families grew up and so what used to be a one car family became a two, or three or even four car family.
New housing developments around the village generated more passing traffic and the road changed from being a quiet back water into a busy highway.
All these changes came to pass over a 45 year period so to a great extent they were imposed gradually and unnoticed. Consequently we became familiar with the rumble of the vehicles making their way up and down the road outside the front window.
Until the Coronavirus crisis.
Now we are confined to our homes and our cars to the drive or garage and so the traffic has greatly reduced.
I was sitting in my chair in the back garden, actually writing a Pause for Thought, when I suddenly noticed something different, it was quiet, not silent, but quiet, almost like it used to be when we first moved in. The birds were singing, the branches of the Palm tree were rustling in the breeze and somewhere there was a dog barking, but it was quiet. There was no traffic noise coming from the road at the front of the house.
It seemed a little eerie as though everyone had been abducted by aliens overnight, except me. I breathed a deep sigh and thought, wonderful, it’s just as it should be, peace and quiet. Then I realised that it was wonderful because of all the wrong reasons. The situation was all wrong, even artificial, there should be traffic noise as its absence meant that people were not at work, not visiting shops, not visiting each other, not living their normal lives. The dichotomy of the situation is that they are doing what they have been told to do, stay home stay safe, and prevent the virus spreading.
So there I was, enjoying the peace and quiet but worrying about the peace and quiet, worrying about why it was peace and quiet and worrying about the ultimate cost of being peace and quiet. Why is life so complicated? It’s defiantly time for a coffee.
Psalm 46 says that ‘God is with us’, ‘God is our shelter and strength always ready to help in times of trouble’,
God is with us in the busyness of our daily lives, in the noise of the traffic going passed my window, and in the bustle of the supermarket , God is there in our celebrations and when we are worried and concerned and God is with us when we work together to overcome pandemics.
God is with us in the peace and quiet of my back garden.
I’m going to shatter the peace and quiet at 8.00pm tonight when I am going to clap and cheer and blow a whistle in my front doorway, for our NHS heroes.