A Trashed Home

Inevitably, I ride the same relatively small geographic area a lot. I’m on first name terms with most of the pot-holes. Sometimes, before setting out, I can struggle to feel much enthusiasm for any route I can think of: they’re all too familiar. That said, once I’ve set off, I generally find the simple fact of ‘being out’ is more important than where I’m riding.

Thus far this year, I’ve ridden far less than I normally do: some exceptionally bad weather combined with niggling problems with joints and what-have-you have conspired against me.

So, getting out a bit more now, there’s an element of looking afresh at the familiar: I’ve not seen a lot of it for quite a while. And that’ s both quite refreshing and depressing.

I know I’m contributing nothing new by noting that you see things differently if you’ve been away from them for a while; it’s just human nature. Another side of returning to somewhere familiar is the feeling of ‘home’: the pleasure to be had in the sensation that you’re back on home turf – in ‘your patch’.

So it is, then, mildly alarming to be back out re-visiting home turf, only to find there’s a lot of damage around. Woodland, particularly, has taken a fair old bashing in the last few weeks. Where the flooding has persisted – indeed, is persisting – it’s obvious that nature’s not going to be doing a quick bounce-back – it’s gone on too long this time. And that’s all to leave aside the damage to the infrastructure – the pre-existing rotting has accelerated.

Damaged forest trees

Home turf, under attack

No, it’s nothing as dramatic as finding your house has been burgled and trashed in the process, or anything similar, but it is nevertheless in that same general area. If not my home then my ‘home patch’ has been under attack, from the weather and from institutionalized neglect, it’s not bouncing back readily and it doesn’t look as if it’s likely to. Depressing? Yes. Disturbing? I think ‘yes’ to that too. Somehow, by some historical accident, my 50+ years of living in Britain have seen generally improving standards in pretty well all aspects of day-to-day life. The implicit, unquestioned assumption had been that that was normal, that it would continue. That now feels unlikely.

And today a leaked draft of the next IPCC report on Climate Change confirmed the worst fears in that area.