a steering group meeting, and then to Wallace's Farm Shop, where i met a very lovely Hungarian waitress who admired my orange cardigan - we got talking and she told me of her remarkable life story so far, and how she came to be in the Blackdown Hills; answering a web ad for an au pair here, she couldn't speak any english but wanted to learn, so she just set off from her village in Hungary not knowing where she was going to end up. we talked about what it was to be an outsider, and the process of integration into a close-knit community, and the bizarre feeling in the Blackdowns - what is that?
then i headed to the monument, the one i'm always driving past along with most of you, on the M5 - a landmark for the driver. it's cold, very windy, and a hording surrounds the monument - i think it's supposed to be suffering from structural insecurity.
i film it from multiple angles through the holes in the hording, attracted by the 'gunfire' sound of the wind moving the riveted metal, with the stilled old canons partially revealed. a timely helicopter flies past; old and modern warfare. everytime i've come to the Blackdowns so far, a helicopter has flown over or exercised in the area - guess it's an attractive distance from Yeovilton airbase.
it's a bleak january day: exposed, harsh air, pale light, muted.