We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. The rolling hills, the dales, the rivers, the waterfalls - we seem to have it all - draw visitors from all over the world. It is an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - and rightly so.
And yet...and yet... whenever I return to the flatlands of Lincolnshire and East Anglia I know that that is where I feel most at home.
Is it something to do with having been born there, with tracing my ancestry back for generations and finding all my antecedents have been born there too? I can surely say with certainty that the flat country is in the very fibre of my being.
I felt it recently whilst on the coast of Norfolk. The straight, flat horizon, the wide sky, and the dawn - where just a suggestion of light stretches for a whole one hundred and eighty degrees without any interruption by a hill or a tree or a house; just flat marsh land. And, if you look closely, patches of Brent Geese standing, backs to the wind, silent and still, waiting for a bit more light before they begin to feed.
And when the sun goes down, that same straight line of deepening red that tells it as it is, with no subtlety, no hiding behind or peeping out.
I wonder if this is reflected in the character of the people who live there. Do they lack subtlety and tell things as they really are without any need to embroider the facts. Or to put it another way - are they blunt and to the point? I rather think they are.
As I muse on this and watch the light slowly filling the marsh, the Brent Geese rise suddenly, startled by some noise or some movement, calling as they go. They take off into the wind and are quickly joined by other flocks I have not seen but which follow the call to move.
Then the skylarks begin to rise. I can't see them but I hear them and their song is soon joined by that of a cuckoo. Such a rare sound these days.
The tidal race comes up the creek and fills the pools and lifts the boats moored on the Quay. The seagulls lift off the mudflats as the water rushes in. They wheel and call and watch for any morsel of food that might come their way.
Another day has begun. No hills, no trees, no houses, just the wide, flat salt marsh - the flat lands. And I love them with a passion that only fully comes to me when I return.