My brother emailed to say that he had been back to visit the area of Manchester where we grew up. The two houses we lived in are still there, but not much else is. Our maternal grandparent's house is a patch of rubble and grass, the cinema we used to go to as kids is now a traffic roundabout. A few familiar things remain, apparently, but not much.
Even when we still lived in Manchester, they were pulling whole areas down. The city centre was redeveloped, destroyed by an IRA bomb and redeveloped again. Whenever I went back, I had to cope with change. So much so that I find it slightly strange to live in a place where nothing changes and it's much the same as it has been for hundreds of years.
Yesterday my husband decided to take me on a walk up to a lake that we haven't visited for many years. I found it rather exhausting and it pushed me to my limit. OK, I'm not as fit as I should be, but it was hard going because we had to fight our way through breast high ferns! For about a mile!
Then, having squelched around the edge of the lake (which is rapidly filling up with vegetation), G decided that it would be easier to climb up out of the valley and drop down towards the estuary. So we climbed up the ridge, but when we got to the top, the ground on the other side of the mountain wall fell away in a really steep drop, so we had to climb down again and go back the way we had come after all.
Going back was a little easier, however, because I managed to lead us along some sheep tracks that went more or less in the right direction.
The thing is, this used to be an easy stroll over open sheep pasture. In the intervening years, the farmer must have stopped clearing the bracken. It really shows how the British landscape it totally shaped by the farming practices. There are hardly any sheep on the farm now, just a couple of dozen down near the farm house (that we had to tiptoe past because there are no public footpaths to the lake). I don't know who owns the farm now, but when we lived nearby it was a thriving hill farm. But that was 20 years or more ago.
Anyway, here is my first attempt at a stitched together panorama of the lake. I've posted it small so it doesn't mess up your reading page, but please click through to view it large.