It was very simple to get a council house back in the 80’s ,so simple Natty and myself ended up in Brownsover living in a brand new house .
The house had no lawn or path or road , work was still in progress , Natty called it The Custard Cave as it was painted a mild yellow through out and had a nice splatter effect on the ceiling .
Brownsover was an estate that began just beyond the industrial zone of BTH/GEC and crawled up the hill , a collection of brutalistic flats , crap houses ,a supermarket and a morgue like pub , it was an environment devoid of anything old , it was human dumping ground .
We were on the furthest edge as the estate crept further into the countryside , Brownsover was an area that was cleared for development in the past , houses were erased and so was the landscape , I imagine it may have been quite idyllic until the estate arrived , since then it has continued to expand and devour the fields like an unstoppable disease .
In our time it was detached , it promoted a feeling of isolation , our lives felt surreal , independent of the outside world , the high elevation of Brownsover added to this feeling , we looked down on the town , vibrant , smoking and full of life , whilst people in Brownsover stayed in doors.
For the first few months I had a job , by the time I came home Natty was getting up , we quickly got into a routine that coincided with our favourite choice of tv.
Pete Kember gave us a wheel chair as a house warming present , a genuine hospital standard wheelchair , Natty calls me downstairs , he is sitting in the chair with a blanket over his legs , he explains ‘Wheel me up to the shops , when we get there we will swop over and I will push you back .’ ‘Why ? ‘ I ask ‘Because it will freak the locals out.’ he replies .
The shop sold sweets called dead mens fingers , a bag of those , skins and fags and we returned to the house to watch a Charlie Chan film , we loved Charlie Chan films and the feeling of being at peace with the world enjoying the simple pleasures of a monochrome film , green jelly fingers and a smoke of hashish.
Of course our inner world would be punctuated by the outside world , it would become Planet 13 , a place were gradually the people would find us and disturb our council house dreams but for those few dark winter months our lives felt content , it was our first home .