What does the word Mean mean to me? Well the first thing I thought of was Meanwood, and Meanwood increasingly means home. It’s been 18 years since I first started working in Leeds, nearly 14 years since I moved here (the intervening four were mainly spent on hellish commuting from elsewhere in Yorkshire). And for almost all that time, home has been Meanwood. Unfashionable little Meanwood, sandwiched in between its trendier neighours of Headingley and Chapel Allerton. Cricket and students on one side, cafe culture and boutiques on the other. Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right you might say.
It’s partly geography. Hilly cities create their own natural boundaries between one neighbourhood and the next, in a way that flat cities don’t. Meanwood is a long thin strip of a suburb, cut off from Headingley to the west by the treelined sides of Woodhouse Ridge and the Meanwood Valley. Chapel Allerton to the east is up an equally steep hill and across a dual carriageway. But it never feels hemmed in. That line of green with a secret beck running through it, hidden between the terraced streets, past the allotments and the animals at the urban farm, threading a path which becomes a park, which becomes a valley and if you keep following it, up to the ringroad and through the underpass, then you’re out in the countryside on the Dales Way, and could walk all the way to the Lake District if the mood took you.
We’re getting trendy though, in our little sliver of city. The high flyers of Chapel Allerton and Headingley have realised of late, that in Meanwood you can buy a three bedroom house with a garden and off road parking, for the same price as a Headingley back to back terrace with no outside space, and students in fancy dress vomiting in the gutter. So Meanwood is moving, slowly but surely, upmarket. New bars and restaurants have opened, house prices are creeping up, and the old Coop (which I fondly remember as having an entire chiller counter of Special Brew for the locals, and whose staff used to stand outside the front door smoking and would only grudgingly move for customers) has been replaced by a Waitrose – a Waitrose which recently announced with a banner outside that it was selling ‘artisan sushi’. Yes, we’ve been gentrified. I’m not complaining about the increasing value of my house, mind you, but artisan sushi … ??? Next stop will be quinoa chips and vintage board games in craft ale cafes. I kind of miss what it used to be like.
Written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday hosted by Linda G. Hill. This week’s prompt was Mean(s). If you’d like to take part the rules, borrowed from Linda’s site, are as follows:
1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.
2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.
3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.
4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours. Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.
5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.
6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!
7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.
8. Have fun!