Dead rats aside, there was one area of the garden that always made me feel a little uneasy. As the name suggests, there was once a mill here. Upper Vatch Mill was one of several in the area and reputedly the highest around Stroud, at seven storeys. In the late 18th century it was a paper mill, but by the 1820s had become a cloth-mill. By the end of the Victorian era, the mill was gone.
As the beam touches you, it has a near instant effect, quickly drawing your thoughts out through the window and filling you with a desire to be out there, on the other side of the glass, walking in the sunlight, exploring the city streets, or escaping over the horizon, (I like to think of this particular effect as a positive variety of Corpse-light or Willow-the-wisp, but without the danger of being drawn into some terrible dark and boggy end).
Nationally many apple and other orchards have vanished; abandoned or grubbed up because there’s no longer any money in them.
There’s a mournful chapter on the country’s last orchards in Paul Kingsnorth’s Real England.
Yet, here in London one group of people have set out to plant a series of new orchards, filling South London with saplings of hope.
I had a Charlie Brown moment this morning.
Up early, I glanced out of the window and was struck dumb by the sky.
Easy access to the internet and faster broadband, for many in the West at least, mean that anyone interested in landscape, nature, geography, topography and related areas can now spend vast amounts of time casting their eyes over an almost limitless territory of online landscapes and environments.
As a result, it is quite possible for people to devote many more hours gazing at digital photographs of places near and far, than actually spending time in them.
Over a wall is a river foreshore busy with gulls and expectant cormorants – right in the heart of London.
For a long time it didn’t have a name. It was just the lane that ran along the back of Mum and Dad’s bookshop…Sometimes I’d dare a peek over the top of the wall, but all that could easily be seen was an area thick with buddleia and other wild flowerings.
My imagination was quick to populate the space further with various other unnamed horrors and I’d quickly scramble back down to the ground and in through the door before sliding the bolts back across in delicious relief.