I decided I needed to exercise, so on my day off, I used the morning to walk around my childhood village of Cottingham.
The day was chilly but bright and calm, but I got wrapped up and set off at a reasonable pace. Cottingham is a pleasant and friendly place a couple of miles north of Hull and several people who I passed wished me a good morning.
I walked along Priory Road, a country road between Cottingham and Hull. A single magpie flew across my path and I saluted it, although I'm not sure what the motorists though as they passed me, but at least I didn't spit and turn around like some do. There were many horses busily grazing in the fields, some with horse blankets, some without. "Do not feed the horses, they bite" signs are abundant on the ranch fencing. A bunch of pretty plastic red roses were tied to an elder tree, in tribute to a loved one killed in a road traffic collision there some years back.
My mobile phone exercise application informed me I'd walked a mile, so I turned round and headed back and into the village centre. A quick coffee and a couple of texts and I meandered through the east of the village. Childhood memories came flooding back, Hallgate where I lived looks familiar but in truth, everything has changed.
The old fashioned butchers which had sawdust on the floor and half cows hanging from the ceiling is now a deli. Cottages are now a pub. The long demolished vicarage is an old folks home. I passed by St Marys church, largely unchanged and along the snicket passed the tiny village hall, the charity cottage bequeathed to the village in the 1700s and the even smaller church hall. Another cottage along the snicket, now restored and modernised was where I used to buy free range eggs as a child. The chickens no longer roam the area.
Continuing along Hallgate, I passed my childhood home which now has a blue plaque to recognise Jacob Bronowski, humanist, scientist and broadcaster (The Ascent of Man) who lived there in 1942. Rounding the corner into Beck Bank, the huge gothic and dark house called Cherry Garth has gone and now replaced by a modern set of flats with the same name. The original house was so large, it had a ballroom at the back which is where I used to rehearse when I belonged to the Cottingham Dramatic Society (CDS).
The large wide beck which carried water from Cottingham to Hull is all covered in and hides where we used to play as kids. A tiny park at the end of the road which was really just a patch of grass and a few trees is still there. My adventurous and country brought up dad used to climb to the top of the chestnut trees hunting for conkers for me.
So, 2.5 miles walked, fresh air and an enjoyable experience starts off what I hope will be a positive and pleasant week.