A CANONS DRIVE HOME THE BASIN, WHERE I USED TO FISH
FOR NEWTS AND STICKLE-BACKS
As a child I knew nothing of this. of course. The only thing I did know as I passed through those pillars on the first day of the summer holidays was that school, with its grubby dormitories, swishing canes, and cold, lumpy porridge, was behind me. At least for a while.
The first thing I wanted to ‘see’ again on my present cyber-visit was The Basin, where I had spent many a happy hour terrorising the local pond life by imprisoning it in jam jars, or throwing stones at it when I couldn’t catch it. And there The Basin was, exactly as I had pictured it so many times--green and cool, with a weeping willow on the small island in the centre, and ducks floating idly by just as other ducks had done all those years ago. Hang on, though: there was one difference; in the middle of the pond stood a pole with a sign on it. The sign read: NO FISHING.
There was nothing else there to linger over, so off I flew on my Google magic carpet in the direction of No. 39, the house that once had belonged to my grandparents, shooting up the road between the tall pine trees and the tasteful mock-tudor houses peeping discreetly from behind well-tended hedges, until…there I was. Or was I? I was certainly on the right corner, because I recognized the turn-off next to the house. It led to a small ring of houses around a central roundabout, amongst whose trees and bushes I had once hidden because I didn’t want to be sent back to school.
One of these days.