Sunday, 12 June 2016

Lakenheath

I've been writing a piece about an unusual place I grew up in, which I've just sent off to my publication of choice. To jog my memory, I stopped by there when I was in England last month.

I lived in Lakenheath, Suffolk between the formative ages of 4 to 10. It's a place that has a real X-Files vibe, in that it's right next to a US air base, one of the only ones left in England. It started being used in WW2 as a European base for the Americans. Since 9/11, however - which happened a couple of weeks after we left Lakenheath - it's been the place where bombing missions to locations including Iraq have started. Not a fact I am at all comfortable with.

To be clear, there is Lakenheath the village, then Lakenheath the air base right next to it, which is inhabited by servicemen and their families. A lot of these kids went to my school, so I had a weirdly transatlantic primary educational experience (featuring a lot of novelty candy, with possibly-illegal-in-the-UK E-numbers). I have fond memories of going onto the base with friends sometimes, as a visitor on their parents' passes, to go rollerskating, or going to neighbours' who had satellite dishes that could pick up US TV.

Lakenheath also has an incredibly interesting ancient history; it's the site of prehistoric geological sediments, as well as many Anglo-Saxon archaeological discoveries. All this comes together with my subjective childhood memories to create this place that almost transcends time and space.

I hope to soon be able to share the piece I've written, but in the meantime, here are some photos I took of the Warren.






The base in the distance, behind a tall fence. Some craters (once Ice Age pingo ponds) in the foreground. The word "pingo" has its origins in an Inuit language and can mean "hill" or "pregnant woman"!




I am impressed; I think I only learnt the word "elusive" in 2011, so kids are doing well these days

Mum in the ferns

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