Mapperley Village

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My Memories by Roy
From Canada

Congratulations on producing such an interesting and professional site on the history of Mapperley, about which I have fond memories. Being a "foreigner" born and raised at Poplar Farm, West Hallam, I used to cycle through Mapperley as an 11 year old boy to go fishing at Mapperley and Shipley Res. Always a landmark for me was the "new" church with its modern triangular design, so very different from our old St Wilfred's Church in West Hallam. It seemed quite a long cycle ride for me at that age, particularly on one occasion when I had reached the lake and realised that I had forgotten to strap my fishing rod to the bike!

I'm now living in Canada so it was nice for me to take a trip down memory lane and I'll share your website with my two sisters, Jean and Brenda.

Thank you for the memories.

From Canada

[answers to Elaine's subsequent questions...]

At 17, I moved from West Hallam to Bournemouth with my parents when they retired from farming. My younger sister Brenda still lives there. My elder sister, Jean, moved to Canada in 2001 with her husband, Geoff, who used to live on High Lane East and played football & cricket for West Hallam in the 1960s. I moved to Canada in 2007 and I married my wife Maria, a Canadian, last year so we are happily settled here now. A lovely farming/rural community where we are... I guess, with about as much traffic as went through Mapperley during the 1960s... probably even less! I did show Maria West Hallam during a visit last year and also my old fishing haunts at Mapperley & Shipley... and we enjoyed a pot of tea and toast at Shipley Hall Lodge.


[and answers to more question...]

True enough, no thought of marrying when I moved out here but so happy I did... It's like being 20 again! The story of how we met is quite remarkable.

[and, of course, Elaine quizzed me on that open-ended comment too...]

OK... here goes... and remember, you asked for it!

My first marriage ended after 25 years in 2002... for a not-so-unusual ultimate reason, our two sons grew up and flew the nest, then with just the two of us left and realising that we just didn't have any common interests and couldn't face the prospect of irritating each other for the rest of our days... nobody else involved... we agreed to split.

Well, that was the catalyst for my decision to emigrate to Canada... you can imagine my thinking... a fresh start, a new challenge, a new life. That plan took 5 years to come to fruition, what with Canadian immigration bureaucracy and all, so I finally made it here in 2007... and then I set about building my own house on a green field site in beautiful, rural surroundings. A great challenge, adventure of a lifetime and good fun too. I kept myself busy for a few years and then the niggling question came back to me: ...what next? Here I am, in the middle of nowhere, having made lots of new friends but friends are not the same as family and I was starting to feel homesick. My parents were still alive then but very elderly and missing me too... my sons also in England, the younger one then needing his dad's help having left university and still struggling to find any work.

So, early in 2011, I made the decision to sell up everything and return to England. House on the market, I bought a place back in England in need of complete renovation and the plan was for my younger son and I to work on it together, so he would feel productive and have a sense of purpose again. Oh, I forgot to mention, I have a fantastic, pure-bred Border Collie (Jess) and, after much research, the only sensible way to get her and me back to England was to cruise from New York to Southampton aboard the Queen Mary 2... in style. The cruise was duly booked... and so was my next flight back to Canada six months later, since my house in Canada didn't sell and so I needed to return in 2012 to care for the place for a few months. Anyway, in the summer of 2011, I started advertising stuff, I sell my tractor, my winter 4x4 and I even advertised a spare dog kennel that I'd made for Jess but was too large for her, so I'd built a second, smaller one for her. I advertised and advertised the surplus kennel but no one came to see it. I even reduced the price from $175 to $100. Then, eventually, I got a call from a woman with a strange but cute-sounding accent that I couldn't quite place. In her broken English she asked if I would take $50 without even coming to see it. I declined. She said: "will you deliver for free?" I declined. She increased her offer to $75. I declined. She said: "Do you know I can have a kennel for free but yours looks a little better from the photo." I said: "Well, come and see it and you'll appreciate just how good it really is." She asked again if I would reduce the price... By now I'm starting to warm to a woman I have never met, since she sounds just like the way I persistently haggle whenever I buy something - and I think to myself "a woman after my own heart!" But I continue stonewalling and I say: " Look, if you don't want to pay $100, don't even waste your time coming to see it".

Well, she came to see it... an hour's drive for her... and she wants it for her new Alsatian puppy... but she came with only $40 in her purse! I said: "Well the nearest bank is a 20 minute drive away". She departs... and I start to wonder if she will come back.  An hour later she returns with the $100 and buys the kennel. We talk about dogs, dog training, she sees how smart Jess is and we talk for a little while. Now, this kennel I built is big and heavy and she is a tiny 5'1" Spanish girl and, as I'm loading the sections of the kennel into her SUV, I'm starting to feel guilty about being so hard on her with the price and not offering to deliver and assemble it... but she lives an hour's drive away, so why should I?! Anyway, Jess and I watch her drive away and I think to myself "I'm in love" and I wonder if I'll ever see her again.

Next day, I receive an email thanking me for the kennel as she says her puppy loves it... I reply saying how guilty I feel for not offering to come and assemble it for her and to see her new puppy... she replies saying that's OK, she managed to do it but I should come any time if I would like to see her Alsatian... oh, and would I mind checking her nursing course homework paper for English grammar?! I arrange to visit... she cooks and we talk for hours. Then... and at this point, you need to appreciate that I haven't dated or had the opportunity to practice my chat-up lines for over 35 years... we part company with a handshake and no suggestion of meeting again. Two weeks go by, nothing happens.

Then I receive an email asking where can one obtain a sheet of clear perspex, as the Alsatian has broken the door of the kennel. Feeling guilty about my flimsy construction but mainly seeing an opportunity for a repeat visit, I offer to repair the door as I have some materials left over.

Now, at this point, Maria's version of the story may start to diverge from mine. I suggested she simply delivers the broken door and I'll return back with it once I've repaired it. She suggests a day when she can come over... on a day when I had planned to drive to the US Border to deal with US Customs paperwork for my future transatlantic crossing... so I said: "If I'm not in, just leave the door at the end of my drive where I can see it." Maria, thinking we got along so well at my first visit and faintly thinking there may be a future in our relationship, obviously thought I was being extremely cool and off-hand by telling her to leave the door at the end of my drive and avoiding meeting her... whereas, I was merely being practical... and secretly knowing that when I returned and saw the door, I could be happy in the certainty of our meeting again, once I'd fixed the door. Well, I returned home late, it's getting dark and I don't see the kennel door at my entrance... so I'm disappointed. Next morning, I look out of my window to see the door is not where I had expected it to be but there it was, part-way down my drive propped up against the rockery. Hallelujah! I think to myself... she had brought the door after all!

I fix it quickly, we meet again... she cooks... we talk all evening... secretly wondering what will come of this... but again my shy, country-boy upbringing results in our parting at the end of a long and enjoyable evening with just a shake of the hand. The end... or so I thought/feared.

Next day I received an email asking if I knew anything about fixing central vac systems! Of course I do, since I built my own home and installed one. So I offer to fix hers and we meet again. Then her air conditioning unit needs fixing. So we meet again. After a few weeks and a few meetings talking together we both know that we were made for each other and have so much in common. I'm a farmer's son, she's a farmer's daughter. I'm a penny-pinching miser, she's pretty cute about not wasting money too. We both love dogs (sadly Maria's Alsatian was killed on the road... just at the time when I was mid-Atlantic... anyway, that puppy played a vital role in bringing us together). We both love to walk, ride bikes, play games, don't waste our time with TV, love to stay at home, love to go camping... etc., etc. In short, we love to do everything together. Then she asked when is my birthday? When I tell her, she thinks I'm joking... we were both born on the 6th April, making Maria exactly six years younger than me... to the day. We have come from opposite ends of the world. Maria is a Spanish-speaking, Latin-American born, from Ecuador and I'm a typical Englishman... and yet, yes... we are made for each other.

I proposed within a month of that first meeting when we haggled over the price of a dog kennel... and Maria said "yes".

But... hang on! in a few weeks time I'm booked on QM2 to return to England to single-handedly (since by now my son has successfully landed a great job in London)... single-handedly set about renovating a house in Bournemouth and I don't return to Canada for six long months. Well, that should test the strength of this relationship, anyway... and it did... and it passed the test with flying colours.

Maria was able to visit England for the first time half-way through our six-month estrangement and I was able to show her my Derbyshire childhood home in February 2012. She returned again later and we were married on 14th Sept 2012 in Southampton, then immediately boarded the QM2 again with Jess, bound for New York and then home to Canada.

The End... no... The Beginning.


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