The last trip back to the UK was very different to the last thirty or so I've made in the last five years to see my mother in her nursing home.
Now it's a different home - modern, town-based with different benefits: familiar shops, tea rooms, Oxfam and a river walk as oppose to a rambling, Lutyens-style house surrounded by towering beeches and oaks; mossy lanes and . . . well, that was the problem, there really was only one mossy lane walk and we did it (with wheelchair) about 7,000 times (or so). The home is a lovely place, and she had a lovely room, but once you were there - you were there, often staring out at the rain and discussing where socks go to to after being introduced into one of the home's cavernous washing machines.
When I had visited Mum in the new place, I felt the need to go back and say hello, and thanks, to all the staff I had got to know over the years in the old home, after all I probably spent about three months of my life there - one of those sums I occasionally muse over - how many weeks or months of life are spent queuing in a post office, or how many days actually imbibing tea . . .
Having no hire car (another advantage of the new place - get-atable on P. Transport) I decided to bus as far as possible and then walk the few miles that are only reachable by car, or horse.
Oh . . . this should always be done! Like any route that is hyper-familiar - to get out of the car and do it on foot is to observe the previously un-observed details of that path taken so many times and never really considered; especially a route so layered with emotion - sadness, guilt, relief or happiness depending on the particular visit . . .
Acer planted at the old home for Mum's birthday