Perception. It's a strange, unknowable magic. What you see is different to what I see, and we will never know. Our eyes play tricks on us, fill in gaps, take shortcuts that alter our views. Our brains filter and reinterpret. Each of us lives in a world no-one else can access.
Who you are changes too, and changes the way you see things. I returned to Kidsgrove station not realising I'd been there before. I'd visited back in 2014, as part of the Northern Rail map, and I'd forgotten about it. When it showed up on the West Midlands Map too I blithely pencilled it in for a visit. Back then, I'd come at the town second, starting out at Longport and walking up the canal. I'd passed from the industrial ruins of Stoke on Trent through countryside and parkland before pitching up at Kidsgrove station. The walk had turned greener and warmer as it went on; the streets I'd passed through had been leafy and the houses large. There was a church and trees and a canal view - it seemed charming. The station was a bit run down, but stations often are, and I'd come away with an upbeat report.
Since I'd last been here the Accessibility Fairy had visited and planted some lifts and new walkways. I might have spotted that I'd been here before if they hadn't; I normally have a great memory for places. Kidsgrove was just different enough to fox me. Either that or the dementia has started hitting. I was mainly impressed that all that clean white steel was still clean white steel and hadn't been graffitied or vandalised in any way. I suppose it's only been a few months - this time next year the local teens will have discovered the blank canvas and will be painting it with obscenities and love notes.
The station is on an island, a canal on one side, the tracks on the other. Did I take this picture to shame the person who had parked on the extensive yellow hashes? That's a distinct possibility.
Students of the decay of the human being may wish to contrast this photo with the one in the earlier post and then recoil in horror.
I crossed the canal to enter the town centre proper. The A50 climbed a steep hill with small shops on one side. The Kidsgrove Bank Dental Surgery still looked an awful lot like a NatWest, while flags hanging from the lampposts urged me to keep the town tidy. On top of the hill the Victoria Hall stood firm, home to the town council (though it's now part of Newcastle-under-Lyme borough) and an event hall for hiring. The clock tower kept the correct time which is depressingly rare.