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  • I have no connection with the place that I live, other than I've lived here a long time. I wasn't born here and I have no family who originate from here but my aunt and uncle lived here once, and when we moved south from Yorkshire when I was nine years old we settled here, first with and then nearby them. Because I'd moved around a lot before that time, this place through familiarity is now my home, the only place in fact that has ever truly felt like home. I think I was well into my twenties before I realised that I probably wouldn't want to ever go elsewhere.

    My town is built next to a massive floodplain of river, grasslands and marshland that stretches over three counties and down as far as the Thames in East London. These, now mature, lakes were once gravel pits and both they and the marshland that stretches for miles behind have a rich mossy, calcareous smell that's hard to describe adequately. But to me it smells like home.

    I love to walk there, not just for the wide flat lands and all the wildlife, flora and fauna it holds but mainly because of the vast expanse of sky above, that makes you feel like you walk upon a planet and are connected to the whole of it under this one all encompassing sky above you.

    Here, in this quiet corner of England amongst the little ringed plover, Gadwall ducks, northern shovellers, swans, hairy dragonfly, red eyed damselfly, Roesel's bush-cricket, marsh orchids, musk beetles, otters, harvest mice, coots, and other rare and delightful wildlife that have claimed a piece of this place to call home, we come together and like the waters we too saturate our influence on this place, as it does us, and here we build our nests.
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