Tuesday, 5 February 2019
It seems odd that you could grow up in, and regularly visit, a place but actually have forgotten what it's like beyond the small area that you visit, but this seems to have happened to me.
The house I grew up in sits in a Nottinghamshire mining village, which sprawls alongside an 'A' road. A no-through road leads to the heart of the old village - tightly lined with a mix of new and new housing, a pub, farmhouse, barns and vicarage which have been converted to houses, and the one remaining pub.
We usually drive as far as my family home and stop. We've no one else to visit further down the road so there's no need to carry on. Last week, having some time to kill, we took the dog and walked down the road, past the last straggling houses to open countryside. I'd almost forgotten it was there - and unlike other places around the village, it seemed unchanged.
There's another farm with barns and outbuildings turned into houses, but beyond it the fields spread out as they (almost) always have. 'Almost' is because for several years some of them were 'opencast' by the coal board, and a lot of 'wrinkles' in the land smoothed out when the area was restored to fields.
In the days when children were allowed to roam quite freely, this is where I played with friends - climbing trees and building dens - and yet I'd forgotten how rural and peaceful it is.
I must make the effort to visit more over the summer.