Lofted above a scaggy, driftwood scattered beach,
lording over chunks of rock, a stilted steam-punk
iron torch, painted in off-white,
Lofted above a scaggy, driftwood scattered beach,
I began to wonder, what makes a hill? Did all this tarmac count?
Fences, PRIVATE SIGNS, the houses? Were they part hill as well – landscape like the stone and grass? The buzzard overhead, was that part sky, part bird, part hill?
Two rants in poetic form, inspired by Liz Truss, her party and their supporters…
Three short recent poems, concerning light, heat and the potential perils of open windows. All first seen on Twitter as posts for Blackbough Poetry’s @toptweettuesday.
“Those woods on the ridge,
through the window,
if watched from a certain angle,
will roll over the roads,
untamed the suburbs,
reclaim the shape
of old maps…”
Three poems recently shared via Black Bough Poetry’s @Toptweettuesday on Twitter.If you enjoy reading this, I also recently had some other poems published by Ink Sweat & Tears and Briefly Write – click the links to view. If you’re really, really interested, even more can be found in the Published Elsewhere page on this very…
What if your average numbered walking guide, turned out to do much more – going beyond the basic geography to be predictive, intuitive, even psychic? If that happened, it might go something like this…
It is more than possible to lose yourself inside the wood. Not, of course, physically in a Hansel and Gretel way, more like released, albeit temporarily, from the cares of everyday life.
The day Bristol Museum and Art Gallery’s Chinese Room disappeared, was the day I first realised that places, like people, can change. It came as something of a shock.
It’s a strange thing to walk into someone else’s memories; especially those that have been woven and tangled about a place. A place that you’ve heard about, but never visited. Somewhere that means a great deal to the person who told you about it, but for you, who’s never been, it retains the status of a rumour.
Going down to the mill is something we do every time we come here. It’s a short distance downhill from Rue de la Roche, where my parents-in-law live, to the town’s second river. When the water is low, as it usually is in August, the visit also includes a walk across the stepping stones and…
A mysterious letter. A secret journal. An ancient wood, in borderland territory. Deceptive paths and strange, ghostlike figures, stirring at the edge of the trees. These were some of the elements that quickly took hold and drew me into Ryhope Wood, when I first read about it aged 15.
Recently I re-read it, rediscovered and found many new things to treasure.
To the left of the hostel, and contrasting with its lime-white walls, the soot darkened, red and yellow bricks of St Alban the Martyr, stretch up and up – in one direction forming the church’s hulking tower, in another eventually tapering into a gabled roof with turrets, topped with a crucifix – and just a little lower down, mammon’s TV aerial.
St Alban’s grand scale crammed into a tight spot, give this half-hidden Neo Gothic edifice an uncomfortably, squeezed appearance; like a fat parochial priest squashed into the corner of a Southern Train vestibule.
It doesn’t take much to make a familiar place unfamiliar. A change in the weather – rain, bright sunshine, or more dramatically, snowfall or fog can all do it. Smells too – who hasn’t found themselves aware of sniffing more consciously than normal when drains are blocked, or there’s a whiff of barbecue, bonfire or worse in the air?
And then of course there are a place’s distinctive sounds.
At the inaugural Balham Literary Festival, a gathering of Nature Writers, Landscape Writers and Writer writers came together to discuss the state of the natural world. Here’s my report on what I saw and heard.
Let’s say I was there.
In a hotel near three reservoirs for Wigan.
Let’s say I slipped out back on an unexpected walk,
on a circular path…
Norwood is yawning but awake: shopping, grabbing coffee, heading for breakfast, haircuts, workouts, dates. Watching Saturday unfold beyond the cemetery gates, it’s a little difficult to picture a time when almost none of this was there.
In 1837 London was growing rapidly and expanding at the edges. The city had an urgent need for space and not just for its living. Traditional city centre churchyards and dissenters’ burial grounds were full to bursting – the metropolitan dead also needed somewhere to go.
Brandon Hill aside, other hills in Bristol have their own distinctively languid charm and grace, such as Park Street, while a few are simply brutes.
One of these is the short and abrupt St Michael’s Hill, stretching from Upper Maudlin Street to Cotham. The lower slopes are dotted with attractive iron street furniture, step-work and historic buildings – including the pretty Colston Alms Houses – but don’t let these architectural gewgaws deceive you – it’s a bastard.
This post originally began as a rant about ‘gatekeeping’ in so-called ‘New Nature Writing’. Since then, I’ve tightened it up a little, and updated some of the links, esp. re lack of diversity in nature writing, creeping nativism and more.
I’m back. It’s been a while. The woods behind my parents’ house on Tickenham Ridge haven’t changed hugely in the last few months – the seasons have cycled through and for now the hill is a shining riot of green in a dozen shades.
An hour earlier I was in these woods in company with my two boys, my sister, brother-in-law, two nephews and my Dad, but this time I am alone and things feel different.