Don’t go back. You can never go back. The past is indeed a distant country.

The Fish is away at present, and may be some time. Revisiting old haunts. But things are never the same. Going back to the House of the Fish, where us little tiddlers took our first few tentative steps. When we left our house, our ancestral home, our turangawaewae, if you will: flowers bloomed in the paddock, trees blossomed, and a wide drive lined with flowers lead the way to the mansion of my parents. A quiet, well-designed, modest wee house to be honest, but at least it was home. Pictures of ancestors lined the walls. Childhood scribbles daub the walls. Chickens roamed the section, clucking in alarm as our faithful beagle trotted by. She is buried there still, beneath the holly tree.

I built my first Fish construction here – a chicken shed of course. Then a tree house of majestic proportions. All gone now. The tree house is gone. So is the tree it sat in. The plants concreted over. The walls painted the colour of shit and death.

Never go back.

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