Moving, life and pump encounters


We moved to a new house. Left our 10th floor Manchester perch without Bess. Liberated our stuff from storage. The odd bit of fruit inadvertently packed seven months ago generating thoughts of passing time, change and cone of shame wearage.

We now live in the highest market town in England. A nifty 55 min commute to Manchester. Bitterly cold with numerous dogs to vicariously enjoy. Stunning walks in every direction. High Peak. Children and partners pitched up for a lateral flow test filled Christmas. Love and laughter. Labour and walks.

Unpacking tales continue. A poignant note in with the crimbo decs.

At the centre of town is water action. A town pump for people to take the water(s) not bottled and sold by Nestle or funnelled off to the nearby Crescent Hotel.

A woman filling two bottles she carefully packed in a small, well worn backpack. Do you come here often? Twice a day. Every day. It’s like walking a dog. Without the dog. I haven’t got a dog so this is my dog walk. In fact I am the dog. Laughter. Back up the hill. With her backpack.

An older couple. Filling a bag with large plastic bottles to pack in the boot of their car. Like a supermarket shop. What’s the water like? I’m 78. Eyes crinkling from an oversized, brightly coloured face mask. Can you tell?

A loosely bunched cloth bag of small, battered Buxton water bottles and lids balanced on the edge of the pump basin. A woman neatly filling and lidding. It’s good for my arthritis.

You here for the water? This is my last bottle. Will be finished soon… Windswept mop and builders gear. A Sainsbury’s bag packed with numerous 1-2 litre bottles. I’ve not drunk tap water for over 25 years. I wouldn’t. It’s full of plastic and rubbish. I used to drive over here before we moved to just outside Buxton. How often do you fill up? Shrug. Depends how much pasta me and the wife eat in a week.

It’s hard to imagine what it will be like to live here. I remember my nephew asking my younger sis soon after Connor’s funeral what happens if we move away from Oxford. I’ll never move I thought without missing a beat. During that long hot summer of 2013. Never.

Eight years on. We’re a long way from home. What was ‘home’. Then.

We live on the edge of town. It seems easier to think about life and loss away from dense suburbs. Space to roam, silence and beauty. And pump encounters. I reckon it will be ok.

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