Resuming my blog after my change to Windows 10.
The change to Windows 10 was made so easy because of my friends at Poorly PC’s. They just transferred everything seamlessly so that it looks just like the old format (but quicker hurray) I am taking the opportunity to change the way I post. I started the blog trying to do one post a day but that is sometimes pretty difficult…this time it will be more random and probably not so regular, largely depending on the photographs and illustrations that I have. Since I mainly do this for my own satisfaction and interest it shouldn’t make much difference. It will also appear at different times during the day. Here goes post Windows 10!
Ever since I was quite small I have been interested in journeys and maps. Like a lot of children I made imaginary maps, sometimes of lands of my own making and sometimes of places that I knew very well. These would occasionally be like a traditional map but more often things that I saw or experienced along the way. I have continued to make them in one way or another through my life. As I got older I wanted somehow to express the passage of time as well. I have already shared some of the images but I may repeat them in this different context.
I have already written about this one in an earlier post. The Magic Grove…why do some places remain so firmly entrenched in memory and feeling when other locations disappear almost without trace? I have thought about it often and come to a few conclusions, a) there was something numinous about them and they stimulated the imagination (and still do), b) they encapsulated a feeling of love and warmth, c) they were about the thrill of fear from a position of safety or d) there was a sense of adventure setting off for something new. I’m sure there are others that I haven’t pin pointed yet.
The Magic Grove (above) definitely comes into category a) with touches of c).
‘Going to the Downs’ *below) This one comes into categories a) and d) I think.
There was always a big imaginative boost in going to the Downs (the Berkshire Downs, as they were then, with the Ridgeway path traversing the uplands.) especially for a bookish child like me. My father had filled my head with the local legends. I could feel the presence of the ancient peoples, think about the encampments, the shields, the horse chariots, the fires, the bloodshed. This image was made for an exhibition called Songlines after Bruce Chatwin, these are some of my song lines, cycling to and being on, the Downs. I think the place where you spent most of your childhood has a big hold on your heart. On the very few occasions when I have been back, I have met friends that I was at school with that have never moved. They have remained close to their roots, most of us have moved to different places during our life time. I suppose both situations have their pluses and minuses. I have been happy here in Kent but a huge part of me still gets a lift when I am in chalk land. One of my treasured books is The Land by Jacquetta Hawkes, she tries to delve in to this sense of place that most of us have.
‘Going to Gran’s’
This one comes into b) and c). I am going to my granny, whom I loved dearly, to borrow a vacuum cleaner. I used to skip along the first part of the journey, it was safe my Aunty Marge lived there, then past the tree and the place where the mushrooms and the cow parsley grew, (for some reason I thought there were little people living there,) finally down East Street where there were frightening people including Old Bowsher, that all the children were scared of. This was my memory of the feeling of going on the errand drawn years later. I often make these little journey drawings, doodles from my mind of times past. The things you leave out are probably just as interesting as the bits you put in. On the way I passed the police station but that has never appeared in any of my memory drawings, it obviously didn’t impinge on my imagination.
In hind sight I feel sad about people like Old Bowsher, so feared and shunned by his neighbours. He was just ‘different’ and lived alone. He was English but had lived a life in China, (doing some sort of service) he had obviously had to come back in his old age. A big man, unkempt and wearing the sort of work clothes that probably a Chinese peasant would wear, baggy dark loose trousers and a mandarin collared tunic. He had no wife, his house looked dark and the curtains usually closed. I only knew one ‘FOREIGNER’ the father of my friend Florence, he was Swiss but still a bit suspect!
More on Journeys next time.