ONE

I CAME towards Lower Binfield over Chamford Hill. There are four roads into Lower Binfield, and it would have been more direct to go through Walton. But I'd wanted to come over Chamford Hill, the way we used to go when we biked home from fishing in the Thames. When you get just past the crown of the hill the trees open out and you can see Lower Binfield lying in the valley below you.

It's a queer experience to go over a bit of country you haven't seen in twenty years. You remember it in great detail, and you remember it all wrong. All the distances are different, and the landmarks seem to have moved about. You keep feeling, surely this hill used to be a lot steeper-- surely that turning was on the other side of the road? And on the other hand you'll have memories which are perfectly accurate, but which only belong to one particular occasion. You'll remember, for instance, a corner of a field, on a wet day in winter, with the grass so green that it's almost blue, and a rotten gatepost covered with lichen and a cow standing in the grass and looking at you. And you'll go back after twenty years and be surprised because the cow isn't standing in the same place and looking at you with the same expression.

-209-

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Coming Up for Air
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • 1 1
  • One 3
  • Two 11
  • Three 19
  • Four 25
  • II 37
  • One 39
  • Two 47
  • Three 64
  • Four 77
  • Five - Fishing! 93
  • Six 102
  • Seven 106
  • Eight 129
  • Nine 145
  • Ten 154
  • III 167
  • One 169
  • Three 202
  • IV 207
  • One 209
  • Three 232
  • Four 241
  • Five 249
  • Six 261
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