Monday, 30 June 2008

things passing through: cars and what they do

into the blackdowns from athelney through curry rivel. i wanted to return to 2 places i had seen on previous journeys. i have been struck by how the neroche area is triangulated by 3 roads: the m5, the a358 and the a303. as soon as you turn off any of these roads, the sparseness, emptiness and quiet of the blackdowns descends, and almost instantly you are disorientated, lost.

i came out onto the a358 opposite bickenhall, and then south, pulling into a green lane where a hedge trimmer was working. parked up, feeling conspicuous and went to investigate this strange relic that you can just see from the road.

is it a monument, a gravestone, the last of a derelict house? it is a
cross of four walls in a circle, with a hole in the top for a flagpole perhaps, and it says C.L.W. House 1935-2006 - is it for a life? money spiders were running all over it and their negotiations and encounters ran in parallel with the constant passage of cars and trucks.

i emailed the Neroche Scheme to ask about it, and a few days later this came back:
"yes, this was erected by Mr House who lived on a farm in Ashill (and made cider) .... he was very annoyed because he wasn't allowed to put a sign up on the new bypass to sell his cider, he could only put an advert on a trailer and move this around. So he built this monument (he was allowed to do that!!) - he had cancer and thought he was going to die and put up this mausoleum as a protest against the authorities.
He lost a lot of business from passing traffic and had quite a fight
with the local council.
We didn't know he had died, but presumably he did in 2006."

then onto the a303, and a return to the hillside cafe and tearooms where i filmed the traffic passing in front of the closed building. the breeze-blocked-up windows, a thriving plastic pond, abandoned flower garden - i crossed the road to take photographs, and couldn't get back - a blind bend on the main tourist road to the west country overflowing with cream teas. whenever there is a break in the traffic (not so often) a peace descends and momentarily settles. a speckled wood negotiates the give way sign. the green lane right opposite the cafe broken by cars, exists as if in another world.

No comments: