Thursday 26 September 2019

Reboot... reconnect

Desperately in need of a chance to reconnect with the land, with my feet, even with my boots  - perhaps the part of my brain that comes here too – I took myself out for a long, long overdue walk this morning. Blimey, I needed that.

I take a familiar route, but enjoy noticing unfamiliar things.  

Down the path at the side of the field, looking down, I take care to avoid falling down shallow holes.  Some have been rather curiously filled in with rubble and stones.

What’s that all about?  Actually I do know.  My neighbour P – a fantastically youthful 80-year old who still drives around in her black sports car – explained it the last time I walked this route and met her. 

“It’s J and his metal detector”, she’d said.   Oh, I’ve seen him with that!  Bless him.  With the mind of a 7-year old in the short, squat body of a 60-year old who wears very bad trousers, J is quite a local character.  I think his metal detector is probably one of those ‘Power Rangers’ models as once featured in an episode of  ‘Detectorists’.   And I don’t believe he’s ever found anything interesting with it, but he does at least remember to “always fill in your hole”.  Rather badly, though.

“Did you ever see him with his long black lace gloves?” P had asked after we’d discussed J’s treasure-hunting exploits.  I hadn’t.  “He used to wear them all the time…,” she continued,  “…even asked me if I wanted to try them on one day!”  

I keep walking, thinking about J with his metal detector, pushing broken bricks into shallow holes with stubby fingers clad in goth girl gloves. 

At the bottom of the hill I double back, head up the other side towards the church.  There’s a lovely, pretty row of old houses here, roofs all different heights, roses and jasmine round doorways and porches, a vast stretch of green in front of them.  A couple of estate agent signs and the line of cars parked along one side are the only indication of the century we’re in.  Then my attention is drawn to the broken wing mirror on the ground.  Next I notice a front windscreen and the intricate spiderweb pattern of its shattered glass.  And then the side window, completely smashed in.  Oh, and then the other side window too… both back windows… and the whole of the rear windscreen of the shiny black estate car, totally devoid of glass.  A little magic tree air freshener blowing about in the breeze inside.  This isn’t an accident, it’s an act of vengeance - there must be a story here, somewhere, a series of events.  The vandalised vehicle so much at odds with its picturesque, peaceful setting.

Familiar route, unfamiliar things.

I stride onward, up to my favourite tree-lined walk.

As I pass the entrance to the ancient manor house where they're preparing for this year's Hallowe'en events,  I find myself seriously considering whether or not I’d like to be a scarer. 

Can you be one if you wear glasses?, I ask myself.  Has anyone ever seen a bespectacled ghoul?  Perhaps I’d have to take them off just when jumping out at visitors.  Or simply wear a hood that covers my face, that’d work.  I quite fancy it.

Talking of scares, this is the walk where I saw the devil - my whip-cracking Lagartija Nick.  I am pleased to report that he is still here.

I stay on the wide grassy verge, look down and notice a little pile of hedgehog poo.  It always raises my spirits.  I know.  I have become something of a wildlife faeces expert;  sometimes it’s the only evidence you have of the nocturnal adventures of the secretive beings we share our space with while we sleep in our beds.

No, don’t think about the (presumably) nocturnal adventurers who vandalised that car now.  I hope they didn’t, erm, you know, in it.

I decided not to take a photo of the hedgehog poo - sorry...

Further on, I notice odd little metal things in the grass that J would have probably been excited to pick up with his metal detector - he wouldn’t even have needed to dig a hole.

What are they, what are they doing here?  Bits off a tractor?

Finally, I take a circular route back past the graveyard and the benches. There’s definitely something to be said for glancing down when you walk; you really do notice the unexpected.

As I get back home, I feel just as I had hoped I would – rebooted and reconnected, at least for now.  It was only natural that this blog post would follow.  Walking feels good - writing does too.

Friday 6 September 2019


How are you?  I am so sorry for neglecting you!  Everyone - those who come here and those whose blogs I visit .  All is fine, I'm just stuck in a mildly obsessive work fug (panic?) at the moment; it strikes me as being a vaguely unhealthy state to be in but seems to be the only way to do things just now, and it's left me very little head space for anything else.

Feels like I'm burrowing down into my paints and pencils all day, surfacing only to eat, before curling up in bed with Tracey Thorn (nearly finished 'Bedsit Disco Queen' - excellent).

But look forward to getting through it all, taking a breather and seeing you here again soon!
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