In a departure from the normal programme of ford updates, gardening mishaps, wildlife-related mild peril and #bloodycyclists, I’ve been off on a nostalgia-related adventure today – but with a slight twist, as it was somebody else’s childhood memories I was exploring. Blog reader Hannah grew up about 12 miles away from where we stay and has recognised a few spots from my photos so I suggested she send me a guest post about her experiences, which she duly did. Meanwhile I have been waiting until the weather improved enough and I had a free day to go and take some photographs to accompany it – which has taken a couple of months but today the weather was pretty glorious, adjusted for being April in Scotland. While I still had a ton of things to do, I decided that I probably wasn’t going to do any of the indoor ones anyway with the sun shining and the garden could wait – I was going off on an adventure, guided only by an email sent by a complete stranger I knew off the internet. What could possibly go wrong?
Having printed out Hannah’s directions and found the place on the map, I made a cheese sandwich* and, pausing only to photograph some lambs that hadn’t got the memo about cyclists being the most terrifying things on earth yet and thrust a POP flyer at two cyclists I met in the shop, I set off into the unknown.
Fortunately, the directions proved accurate, nobody accosted me to ask what I was doing, I didn’t encounter any adders, and apart from all but rattling my poor not-very-offroady bike almost to bits along some forest tracks and jolting my phone out of my pocket, everything went to plan. Some of the places Hannah remembers are now off limits (ex-Army exercise ranges and half-flooded quarries no longer being places where adults are encouraged to explore, let alone even the most freerange children). Whole swathes of forests have been cut down, and others have grown up, in the intervening years, and I suspect the house she remembers has been extensively renovated, but I could recogise all of the places she identified. All in all, a satisfyingly random adventure for no particular purpose except curiosity and because I could.
As I made my way back and out of the track that led to Hannah’s old home, I saw a family coming towards me: mum and dad on foot and two little girls (maybe about 7 or 8 years old) on bikes. As I headed up the hill I saw them turning down the track, possibly heading for Hannah’s old house, now perhaps theirs. Had I been a proper blogger – the kind that thinks of this sort of thing at the time, rather than two miles up the road – I might have actually gone and talked to them and found out for sure. I could even have shown them the email and explained my mad mission and learned whether those two girls have anything like the freedoms Hannah enjoyed, living in the same idyllic spot. I suspect not – but you never know.
Tune in tomorrow for the rest of the photos and Hannah’s reminiscences.
* because in my own childhood, Robin Hood and his Merry Men always seemed to have ‘a hunk of bread and cheese’ to eat when they were out adventuring, investing cheese sandwiches with a probably unwarranted glamour in my mind. It has only just now occurred to me to wonder where they were getting either from in Sherwood forest.