I started getting lost in 2004 when we moved to York – it has a circular layout (‘ancient, yet utopian’) with the Minster at its centre. We lived (I finally worked out) in the north east segment of the circle, just beyond the gasometer at Layerthorpe – which was fine as long as the gasometer was visible. I discovered gasometers go down as well as up. Handy to know if you’re lost in the city centre and want to find your way home. By the time I’d figured out my way round York, we moved.
Leeds was easy. Lived ON the A65 (handy link Wikipedia, thank you) overlooking the Aire valley: turn left for city centre or right to walk to Ilkley (unlikely). Didn’t get lost but did end up in Leeds General Infirmary. Decided there were less dangerous places to live.
Moved west again. The Lancashire coast. Kitchen faced south (towards Southport). Coast across the marshes (unseen) to the west of kitchen window. Winds – prevailing westerlies travelled right to left across kitchen window. Note: I spent a lot of time in the kitchen – I didn’t get lost but I didn’t go out much either.
Five years later. Moved south. A bit harsh for a northerner, so only moved a little bit south. South west of the Midlands – which means that over the past 30 years I’ve moved round in a great fecking circle and I too am now ‘ancient, yet utopian’ and still mentally re-establishing myself in this new location.
I live on a bend in the river (which makes it look as if it flows north – which it does – before it turns again and flows south towards the sea). There’s a weather vane on the town clock, so I know which way the wind’s blowing AND the exact time (the clock chimes every fifteen minutes). I decide this town is just small – or big – enough. It has a river running through it, a castle in the middle, the mountains behind. I think I know where I am now.