This blog post should really have come before the one about my little walk along the River Ver, because this is my usual walk home from the allotment, and it is by no means less picturesque!
St Albans is a green place, and I find most walks round here a real pleasure.
It's historic too, and the town centre is dominated by our cathedral - I love the way it pops up over rooftops and between buildings everywhere you go:
Our walk takes us past the old Ryder seed nursery - a beautiful art deco style glass building, now a Cafe Rouge. The packing plant for Ryder's seeds was the brick building next door (on the left) - now a Comfort Hotel!
Samuel Ryder was a big figure in St Albans' history - he was not only a major businessman here, but he was a councillor, Mayor, and he was instrumental in the building of one of our biggest churches. And of course, he was captain of the local golf club and sponsored the international 'Ryder Cup', donating the gold trophy.
Then we walk right by the cathedral itself on Holywell Hill. (Legend has it that Saint Alban was beheaded on the site of the cathedral, his head rolled all the way down the hill, and a well sprang up where it stopped, hence the name!)
I don't really know as much as I should about the cathedral's history, but I do know how I feel when I stand in its shadow. It's timeless and permanent and just so... present. Like the great foot of God planted in the earth and stretching up to heaven!
Just beyond the cathedral, we pass the Abbey Gateway and St Albans School - previously a prison, previously a printing press, previously a monastery. Apparently a lot of notable people were schooled here, including Nicholas Breakspear (AKA Pope Adrian IV) in the 12th Century, Stephen Hawking more recently, and many others.
Oh, and I must mention my favourite tree, in the Abbey grounds. It's so huge and perfectly formed!
We live very close to all this - virtually in its shadow - and there's more history every way you look.
But there's a reason I've been getting all soppy over my lovely hometown recently. Tomorrow, we move house. We're not actually leaving St Albans - just going a few miles out to the edge of town - but I have come to really enjoy living in the town centre and I'm sad that it won't be on my doorstep any more. I won't be doing this walk any more. I won't be able to tell the time by the abbey bells any more. I won't be able to walk round the lake whenever I feel like it any more. I won't be able to nip to the shops at the drop of a hat any more. Instead of history and intrigue everywhere I look, there will be 1960s semis and neatly trimmed lawns.
We are moving back in with my parents; the 'granny annexe' adjoining their house is now vacant, and we're taking the opportunity to live there for cheap and save up some money. We will have even less space than we do now, and the allotment will be a 15 minute drive rather than a 15 minute walk (or a 50 minute walk, but I'm not doing that laden with bags of vegetables too often!). Of course, we don't drive yet - we have always been rather pleased about not having to pay car insurance or road tax or petrol or parking or repairs - but now we are learning.
Don't get me wrong - I'm fond of the area we're moving back to as well - it's where I spent most of my teens - and it will be lovely to be closer to the family again. And it's a total no-brainer in terms of the money we will save. But change is scary and emotional, and, well, I just can't wait 'til it's all over and we're settled down in the new place!