Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Close Quarters; Part One

By Belinda

Tanyard Close, in Alvechurch, is where Mum and Rob both live in housing for older and disabled people.

25 one bedroom flats and bungalows; compactly built, are fitted into an area of land that is smaller than our backyard in Bond Head. The homes are tiny; utilitarian and efficiently designed.

A mix of single and married people live in the close and a sprinkling of people with disabilities, such as the young man whose house is across from Mum's kitchen window. He has Cerebral Palsy; uses a wheelchair and has round-the-clock carer support. Others like Mum, have Helping Hands support two or three times a day and some live without outside support.

At the back of the flats, trees border the lawns at the edge of a brook. The curbs are cut for accessibility, and graded with low edges for safety. The residents know and look out for one another and in the summer neighbours sit out on the benches on the front lawns and chat.

Rob moved into the close after living in dire circumstances for a year and how grateful he was to get one of the coveted flats. When Mum had a stroke, we applied for her to get a flat too, and she got one on the ground floor, and on a corner, right across from the community hall, where she used to love to attend the Sycamore club, a once a week drop-in for seniors. Her flat is number 2 and Rob's upstairs, is number 6. It was obvious to us that God gave her the very best. Flats are not easy to get there and are in high demand when they come free.  We often marvel at how things worked out, so that she has such wonderful support from Rob and he still has his own space and life.

Because Paul came with me on this visit, we rented a car so that he could connect with other friends and family easily. I wondered about parking but Rob assured me that parking in the close is for visitors too, and Mum has no car so never uses a parking space.

We arrived and parked safely next to Rob's car and he mentioned that when the community hall is being used, as it is once a week by a slimming club, parking in the close is difficult to find because it is taken by those using the club. If that happened he told us to park on the grass and move the car after everyone went home...it did happen and we did park on the grass and innocently found ourselves in the midst of an intrigue.

To be continued!

6 comments:

Dave Hingsburger said...

Oh, I do love an intrigue! By the way, did you notice on the map that they give the location of the Close in relationship to the pub? I thought that entirely British.

mercygraceword said...

I've been listening to one of the Thrush Green books on CD this week and they describe a similar type of housing, complete with the intrigue!
Until tomorrow,

Deborah

Dave Hingsburger said...

Deborah, funny that you mention that I thought of the young sleuth Flavia Sabina de Luce from the series that began with 'Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie' ... set, also, in a smallish village.

Belinda said...

Dave, I did not notice that--but now that you mention it I see that the close is comfortably situated with the three pubs in the village: The Red Lion; The Swan and The Crown--all near at hand! :)

Belinda said...

Deborah and Dave,
Our neighbourhoods here are so far flung and insular in comparison to a British village. The setting is perfect for mystery and plots.

Marilyn said...

:-)
Love the post AND the comments. Count me in for "The Further Adventures...."