A little used but fun tool on my PC is the notorious and controversial Google Earth.  Besides looking at how untidy my garden is, how overrun my mother’s is, I spend a good chunk of time today looking at where I used to live in Germany – specifically two of the three sites in Münster, Germany.  Kinderhaus and Gievenbeck were the places I lived between 1987 and 1991 and by heck has the latter of the two changed.  There is still a kids playground but gone are the climbing frames and swing set and everything else I used to play on.  It appears to have been sanitised and made ultra boring thanks to over-zealous, no fun Health and Safety Regulations.  The tree that everyone used to climb is clearly missing and even the canal/stream seems to have been erased from the map.  I couldn’t find Oxford Primary School in Oxford Barracks but I think I spotted the Naafi.  I tried to use the sports pitch as a guide but they were difficult to make out, telling apart the military facilities from the kid ones.  Edinburgh Secondary school has definitely gone.
Kinderhaus was harder to make out but I think I spotted the swimming pool that we used to visit but not where we actually lived.  In all likelihood, it’s gone.  I can’t even remember the name of the street or the block we used to live in and every time I try and recall, all I remember was collecting the milk from the cold steps in the morning and having to be buzzed back into the building.  Male parent was away a fair amount for the beginning of our sojourn in Kinderhaus for whatever reason and I recall money being really tight at that point because of it.  I remember Gail from upstairs, the sandpits and the Americans who lived in close proximity and the German school we used to break into but mostly my memory wanders into when we lived in Höhne.
On a whim, I decided to look for Ippenbüren.  Couldn’t find it.  It’s taken 21 years but I finally learn the town is actually called Ibbenbüren – and parents never corrected us once.  Still, the Swimming Pool is still there, the slide is still there and once again I was swamped with feelings of nostalgia.  There’s only one reason to learn how to drive and that’s to explore my childhood through adult eyes.  Most people I know were born and raised in the same areas, the same towns whilst I had fourteen homes by the time I was 21.  I’d like to see most of them again – at least the ones I remember.  Chelsea Barracks has been demolished, I work down the road from Stillington Street, I was too young to recall living in Warminster and the first house in Münster.  But Hohne, Kinderhaus, Gievenbeck and Woodlouse Grove School [sic] are worth visits again with emphasis on the first three.  But a car would be needed, definitely.