Returning home

I have been away. I have been back to the place where I grew up. Should you ever go back? I am not sure. The lane I walked up to get to the main road and the bus stop seemed so long when I was a child, now it seems like a short hop. The village school and the little shop have been converted into houses. Nothing seems to be the same as when I roamed this landscape as a little girl.

But I soon realised that there was still the same lush green foliage, the rich shining clay and the birds getting on with their lives as they did all those years ago. There were swallows scattering and skimming in the clear blue sky. Over the fields Mr T heard the cuckoo calling (but I did not).

It was a family party to celebrate the publication of my book. We were in a marquee. What a relief to meet again, with members of my family for afternoon tea and cakes in the sunshine. At the top of our lane there used to be a little lodge which guarded the entrance to a magnificent mansion. The Hall was so big and grand we children were frightened of who might live there. But today it is a venue for weddings with fashionable horse drawn carriages. The little lodge is now a tearoom. And there we all sat swapping stories of what life used to be like in times gone by.

Back home, we go through a familiar conversation that some people my age will know.

“Are you talking to me? Well, I can’t hear you I am in another room.”

“What did you say?”

“Don’t mumble.”

I went for a hearing test confident that it wasn’t my fault. I had to answer a questionnaire about my hearing, I was still confident. I had to have headphones on and signal when I could hear a noise. I heard lots of them. Then I had to do the same with a rushing noise in the background, I was still OK. Finally, the headphones were placed on the bone behind my ear.

I could not believe the result; I have hearing loss in one ear. I comfort myself that hearing aids are very different these days!

A little bird that has been away for much longer than I have is the spotted flycatcher. I got up early this morning and as I sat in the sunroom, I saw it fly up to its old nest from last year, in the climbing rose at our door. It has returned from Africa. I wonder if I will hear its high-pitched song. 

I played here when I was a little girl. It used to be an ungated little mossy track amongst the overgrown trees.


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