|An aerial view of the Broads|
|Tommy and Lola take a drink|
|The remains of St Benet's|
A favourite place is St Benet's Abbey, a few scattered ruins that mark the site of a vast medieval religious establishment founded on the site of a ninth century monastery. It seems so remote and tranquil, with just the odd boat gliding past on the nearby maze of waterways and I imagined those early monks at their devotions without the interruptions of ordinary life. But after a little research I discovered that in fact in the past the area around St Benet's was a hive of activity and commerce. By the twelfth century the East of Norfolk was documented as being one of the most densely populated parts of the country. Indeed St Benet's was the site of a rebellion during the peasant's revolt.
|A sail in the distance|
Before long, humans fought back with complex systems of drainage and the 200km of navigable waterways of the Broads came into being. By the beginning of the twentieth century the Broads were a hugely popular tourist destination and continue to be so, but still out walking it is possible to wander for miles and barely encounter a single soul. I still find it curious to see at a distance the sail of a boat passing languidly across a vista of marsh and farm land,on an invisible ribbon of water hidden by the raised dykes on either side. As I walk, aware of small birds fidgeting in the reeds, the rustle of something, an otter perhaps, in the undergrowth, a quick smatter of raindrops, time folds back on itself and I am in the past.