MUM AND me, Saturday stroll in Upwey. The bottom of Ridgeway Hill has been home since I was five.
We nod at a couple of villagers in Elwell Street. To our right is Dog Hill: we laugh, remembering some long-ago winter when our bums were sore from sliding down on fertiliser bags. At the bottom, by the gate, eggs are sold in a wooden honesty box.
Turning left at the March’s house, we clamber over a large square stone into the corn field, where my brother and I galloped in long summer evenings as crops waved high above our heads. How our little legs, criss-crossed with grass cuts, would sting when we came home for baths.
We turn into Church Street, past high stone walls, tall, ivy-jacketed trees and a splintering old bench. Wandering past the Mill House, we see our first snowdrops of the year. On towards the Wishing Well (Dorset’s prettiest tea rooms), the Old School (I spent two years at am-dram group Drama In Upwey) and St Laurence Church (both parents were organists, and I an unwilling Sunday School pupil. Oh, and I tried bell-ringing once. I was rubbish.)
My friends Mel and Luke got married here, and Lindsey, my old housemate, is buried outside. It’s been a while, and we see two fresh graves. We know them both: Sheila played the organ here for 20 years and Diana taught me and my brother at the Convent of the Sacred Hearts.
Behind the church is Cow Hill. We climb up. Green fields stretch out. We spot our house a mile away. We are happy.