Although I am not averse to cemeteries, especially of the old, overgrown variety, with a higgledy-piggledy collection of tumbling graves and lichen encrusted headstones, the last time I visited the local cemetery was at my mum's funeral, when her ashes were scattered there.
My dad grew up in a neighbouring village which still had a special place in his heart, even if he hadn't been living there for over 50 years.
It's where he spent his childhood roaming the streets and open spaces, which were still plentiful at the time.
My dad was full of stories of his childhood, which over the years have become part of family lore.
Quite a few of them were situated during the years of the Second World War which, in spite of the danger and depravity, were considered an adventure by him and his friends.
It's hard to believe that they played outside, unsupervised, all day, even when the threat of bombs and doodlebugs (V1 flying bombs) were a constant reality.
One of the places he often frequented, and which featured regularly in his war stories, was the local fort, part of a chain of forts surrounding the city of Antwerp.
Occupied by the Germans, this obviously was forbidden territory, and one of his favourite stories tells the tale of his encounter with a German officer and his dog. But no fear: it all ended well, with my dad being given a bar of chocolate, quite a scarce commodity at the time.
Nearer to his childhood home, and almost bordering the fort, was the local manor house (known as the castle) built in the classical style in the 1770s, surrounded by pleasure grounds and woodland.
|Then: the avenue as depicted on an old postcard|
The entrance to the house was through a double avenue of linden trees, from where it could be seen beckoning tantalizingly in the distance, a shimmer of white at the horizon.
|The avenue now|
Years of neglect have paid their toll, and the house and its coach-houses fell into disrepair, in spite of the fact that it was classified as a protected monument in 1981.
Derelict outbuildings, decaying plasterwork and pockmarked statues were the sad fate of this once magnificent domain.
At the time of our visit, the house's crumbling plaster façade was being invaded by a colony of ladybirds!
After its last occupant died in 2011, the castle and its domain were sold to the village authorities and Nature Conservation in 2012.
Just before the sale became final, several statues disappeared from the domain, as did some paintings from the castle.
It appeared that they were removed by the aristocratic family, which the new owners considered to be theft.
In April of this year, a court case decided that although the family had the right to take the statues, the paintings had to be returned to the current owners.
In the meantime, restoration work has started on the coach-houses flanking the entrance to the house.
If the area is now reminiscent of a building site, before long the domain will finally be fully open to the public.
Until then, a walk up the avenue and around the domain can already be enjoyed.
Looking up at the trees' canopies, I was filled with wonder at the fact that these were the very same trees my dad walked under as a young boy, maybe even on a glorious autumn day like this, and that I was - quite literally - walking in my father's footsteps.