Last Saturday I visited Uuras, the home of my maternal family, off Viipuri (now Vyborg), with a group of relatives. My mother, as one who has lived there, was persuaded to come along to act as a guide. She reminded us that it was almost to the day 62 years ago that they had had to leave their home. And, indeed, there were fresh flowers at the Russian war memorial, celebrating the victory once again.

The island has changed much since the summer of 1989, when the walls were starting to crumble and it became possible to visit even prohibited areas, such as Vysotsk (Uuras). The street where my grandparents and great grandparents had lived with their families, was of course in ruins, bombed by the Finnish Air Force in 1944 for military reasons. Otherwise much of the island was as it had been before the war, except for the decay and a few Soviet style blocks of flats. Now fences have been set up, redistributing stolen property, and the newly wealthy have built their architectural fantasies there, among modest old Finnish houses.

I saw again the stone base of my grandparents' house, my great grandparents' lilac bushes on the other side of the street, and the house on Lompka shore where my mother had been born within sight of the Viipuri castle tower - and picked some ballast stones from the beach as a souvenir. Now there were Russian families on the cliffs bathing and frying sausages on bonfires.

On our way back, in Vyborg, we saw newlyweds leave flowers at the statue of Lenin on the Red Square.