The Hidden Village of Aspergers

March 2, 2014


Filed under: childhood — kankurette @ 9:26 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

In a neighbourhood like this, you know, it’s hard to survive
So you’d better come prepared ‘cos they won’t take us alive
Oh, if you find the time please come and stay a while
In my beautiful neighbourhood

I was born in Guy’s Hospital in London in the spring of 1984. I came out on time, perhaps marking the anal retentive worrier I would later become (my brother Jack, however, who was born in 1986 and is more laid-back than me, came out nine days late).

I have lived in four different cities: London, Brighton, Chester and my current home of Manchester. Of all these cities, although I love Manchester, Brighton is the city that will always have a place in my heart. Whenever I go down there, I feel a pull; I walk on the beach and I’m a little kid again. I remember how Mum went down there one day while Jack and I were at school, and scattered Dad’s ashes. I swim in the Prince Regent baths and I remember the days when me and Mum and Jack would go for a swim and then a pizza. I’m at Preston Park station, and I remember my gran getting off the train to meet Dad when he was ill one time, and Dad crying in her arms, and me being shocked because I didn’t realise grown-ups cried. I’m looking at the rails where Dad used to drop off the frogs that hopped into our garden after capturing them and putting them in jars (Mum has a phobia of amphibians). I’m in Hove Park and I’m playing on the swings while Jack and Dad play football. And so on. I think I will move back there one day, but bringing myself round to leaving Manchester is a long and difficult process. I can’t just up and leave. I need plans, I need help packing, I need to know what I’m doing and where I’m going.

I cannot remember the exact reasons why we moved away from London, and my memories of the city itself are blurry, though I remember my auntie Debby’s house, and feeding ducks in our local park, and our purple bath, and going on a boat trip in Greenwich. I do know that the area we lived in was pretty dodgy and my parents were worried about bringing kids up there. My dad worked in London, but when we moved out to Brighton after my brother was born, my parents luckily found a house that was on a hill with a station at the bottom, making it easy for Dad to commute.

When Dad died, Mum wanted to get the hell out of Brighton. She couldn’t stand being in a house filled with memories (and my auntie Chris, Dad’s sister, still can’t go back to Brighton as it reminds her too much of Dad), and wanted to move further north, as my auntie Nicky lived in Manchester, my dad’s family in St Annes, and my maternal gran in Hoylake. We moved to a flat round the corner, but it was a short term fix; Mum considered places such as Altrincham and Wilmslow, finally settling on Chester after she met Jon, the man who would later become my first stepfather, and who lived in the sticks with his kids and dog. So we moved up to Chester in 1995. I started high school – more on that later – and although we alternated between Jon’s house and a rented place, when he and Mum got married, we all moved in together in a big house in the arse end of nowhere. Well, its real name is Christleton, but to kids who’d grown up in cities, it was a culture shock.

I got accepted into Manchester University and lived in halls in first year. Being in a place where buses were frequent, shops were down the road instead of a car journey away and you didn’t have to worry about getting mud on your trousers was a relief. In second year, I moved in with a group of girls in a rather dodgy part of Fallowfield, and that went horribly wrong, and after an overdose and a period where none of them were speaking to me, I moved out and into another hall of residence, on a floor filled with rugger buggers. In third year, I lived in yet another hall of residence, and in my final year, I officially moved out and lived on my own for the first time. The flat was a few minutes’ walk from the university. For a while I was settled, but eventually I wanted to get out and moved to my current place.

Considering I used to freak if my mum moved furniture in the sitting room, you can imagine how moving house felt. I cried my eyes out on leaving Brighton. I felt like a tree torn out at the roots. Saying goodbye to my best friend hurt. Sitting in the car and looking behind me hurt.

I should be used to moving around, but unlike my mother, I get attached to places. Even though most of my mates have left Manchester, and I no longer go to synagogue here, I have a home and a routine and I know where places are. My home is not just bricks and mortar; it represents my ability to live on my own and manage, to an extent. Plus it’s a nice little flat, with a garden and plants out front and a general lack of pissed students wandering around, at least compared to Fallowfield. I think that’s one reason why I’m reluctant to just up sticks and fuck off to Cambridge, where Mum lives now with my current stepdad, his kids and an ageing cat. I’m settled. After years of moving back and forth, from city to country to city, from halls to house to halls to house, I’ve got a home that I own, I’m not surrounded by boxes or coming home to workmen, and leaving this place, selling up, househunting, takes time and energy I do not have.

Some day, I will leave Manchester and return to Brighton. But that day may be a long way off yet.


  1. […] If It’s Real: yes, it is a disability 2. Neighbourhood: moving house 3. Mr Psycho: emotional difficulties 4. Female Of The Species: not fitting in with other girls 5. […]

    Pingback by An announcement | The Hidden Village of Aspergers — March 2, 2014 @ 9:30 pm | Reply

  2. i get your blog .i have aspergers ,live in cambridgeshire ,

    married 13 years. we have 2,boys and 1,girl .i take part in a lot

    lot research from universities ,have lot results .if you would like

    too e.mail me chat ask me any thing please do. you have done very very

    well should be very proud of your self. what about you taking part in

    research.would help you a lot with aspergers . i have been to manchester

    and cambridge universities taking part in research. look forward too

    hearing from you ,

                             mark________________________________ > Date: Sun, 2 Mar 2014 21:26:16 +0000 > To: >

    Comment by Mark kent — March 3, 2014 @ 6:25 am | Reply

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