I took this photograph a couple of days ago whilst walking in Greetland. It shows the view across some fields towards Wainhouse Tower and Crossley Heath school in the distance. It’s a lovely sight, as fine a view as you could find anywhere in this land. What you can’t see, however, is what I love most of all about this place I call home. Behind the first set of trees and before the second, there is a valley. Not some piddling little thing, but a monumental valley carved by glaciers many thousands of years ago. A valley with roads, railway lines, rivers and canals. A valley with houses, factories, offices and workshops. A valley with life and love. We hide these things well in these parts.
I know where this is. It’s familiar. I feel as though I’ve walked down this road, wandered along this canal towpath. In truth, I must have – I took the photograph. It was 35 years ago, and therefore I can be forgiven for forgetting the grid reference or the street name. It left, however, an imprint on my mind; a set of shapes and lines which can be awakened after three and a half decades. I look at the photograph, an alarm goes off somewhere in the distance, and I say to myself – I know where this is.