Tag Archives: rural england

A Village Trapped in Amber?

I always have a camera close to hand; you never know when you’re going to need one. A case in point is this one…

It’s a screen shot from a TV show that was filmed thirty years ago in the village that, for the last ten years, I have called home. I can still recall crowding around the TV set when it was first aired on the ITV network in 1993, to see how the production company had ‘tarted up’ the conurbation in which my mother lived, and into which I was born…

The tale, itself, wasn’t one of Ms Rendell’s best, particularly because it was stretched out to a three-parter, when two episodes would have sufficed. Having snapped several screen shots, I had the fabulous idea of recreating them – to see how the old place has changed during the intervening decades in which I went from being a young dad, to a grey-haired pensioner. So I grabbed my little Canon compact and went hunting locations. The first was inaccessible – being a thicket of vicious thorns and stinging nettles; but I managed to get very close. Close enough to take this…

Not a lot of change, I think you’ll agree.

Here’s an establishing shot during the titles…

To replicate this I would have needed to access someone’s property, so I just stood outside their gate and took this…

Well someone forgot to take their dustbins in: and I don’t think anyone has milk delivered to their doorstep anymore. Here’s a closer Panaflex shot of the shop at the bottom of the hill…

The TV production company changed the name of the shop. Here it is today, with the original name…

No one bothers with window baskets; not in real life. The production company must have thought it would look nicer with them. Here the central character is seen outside of a Limo-hire establishment…

Inside, the building was decked out very like it had been during my childhood: a car sales garage. The apparent antiques shop was actually a private home, and still is. The modern picture shows the ‘garage’ looking very much as it had for eternity…

…but it is, in fact, now a private dwelling, but some stupid by-law forbids the owners to change the outward appearence: so it still looks like a car showroom, but with blacked-out windows, so passers-by can’t see the occupants watching TV. Dumb. Oh yeah, and someone else forgot to take their dustbin from the street. We’re a forgetful bunch – us carrot-crunchers.

Here we see the back of the central character as she turns into the high street. Note the time on the  church clock. Everyone is out at work: those are production company ‘props’ parked in the road. Also note the red Ford Sierra: it will, as of by magic, swap position. Today’s picture…

…includes an ugly warning sign that suggests that very stupid lorry drivers should refrain from taking their huge vehicles up the tiny, narrow road. Presumably one of the aforementioned once tried it, and wrecked several cars whilst trying to reverse back down the hill. God I hate that sign: it’s a blot on the landscape!

Oh look, it’s that red Sierra again. I had one, myself, in the same shade of red. Very bouncy back end, I recall. Blew a head gasket – just a few weeks before I was due to sell it and move to Spain. The florist closest camera was never such, and until recently was an insurance broker. It’s now empty, and will probably become a private residence: they all do eventually. Opposite is the George Hotel. It was actually one of three public houses in the village (now down to one). Today it is an partment building, but retains it’s original ‘look’…

Here is a scene from inside the building…

…which, for me is rather poignant. It is the place (in 1981)  where I met the woman who would become my wife of thirty-eight years, and the mother of my children. So, in summation, apart from in-fill between existing buildings and the street in which I now live – which was constructed in 2011…

…not a lot has really changed. But that’s the English countryside for you. Glacial. And I would be the last to complain.

 

Country Life Wallpaper: The Lab Chase

Here, a huge hulking male Labrador chases it’s playful offspring…

Later I met with them, and the youngster’s mother. Being Labs, of course they were kind and gentle. Well the mother and son were. The father ambled up to me with his tongue lolling and his jaws agape; mis-judged his speed, and nearly took my patella off.

P.S If you look carefully at the centre of the upper half of the picture, you will note a blue portable toilet. Just for the record: I didn’t use it.

There is Always an Arsehole

It doesn’t seem to matter where you live, there always seems to be at least one arsehole in the vicinity. During 2021 the village in which I live decided on a ‘Greening’ campaign. Wild flower seeds were distributed to every household, with the intention that it’s occupants would plant them, and the gardens,  streets, paths, and byways would blossom forth with native flora. It was a success, and everyone was very pleased about it. Fast forward to 2022…

…and some fucking dip-shit decides to poison the public footpaths that pass beside his rented field…

…killing off every one of the wild flowers that bloomed there.  That, in itself, would label him as shit-head of the month; but the over-spray has also poisoned the grazing grass on the other side of the fence. I find it less than coincidential that his sheep are notable by their absense. I just hope it’s costing shit-for-brains a fortune in vets bills!

Spend Spend Spend – An Iddy-Biddy Bit More

It’s quite possible that I might have inferred that I had spent enough hard earned cash on extras for the Yamaha. Well sorry for that – but I lied. Whilst out and about down gnarly English country lanes, it occured to me that if I were to get a puncture – not only am I incapable of pushing the 250Kg leviathan, but I wouldn’t be able to summon help because most of the time I never know where I am. One English lane looks much like another. So, after careful consideration for about three seconds, I turned the machine around in a farm entrance (apt really, coz the Yam turns like a tractor) and set off for a motorcycle accessories emporium. I required a pump, tyre repair kit, and a top box to keep them in. And whilst I was in the mood, I fetched myself a brighter jacket, so that car drivers might be less likely to ignore my presence and pull out into the road in front of me at point-blank range. The result?

Very smart, and practical too. And, oh look, it’s one of those anonymous English country lanes. How fitting.

P.S here’s a moody film noir shot of the same thing, minus me…

Photography: What a Difference a Day Makes

It was November: the weather forecast wasn’t hopeful: but I was keen to get some snapping done while the sun shone. So I took a chance and put on my hiking shoes. Here is one of the pictures I took…

As it transpired, the weather forecast was premature: the bad weather arrived 24 hours later. Had I taken notice of it, and stayed at home, this is what I would have captured the following day…

Photography: it isn’t all about timing, but timing plays a major role in finding that neat shot. Grab that camera while you can!

No Footpath! No Shit?

As I walked along a narrow, single carriageway back lane, the sides of which were strewn (nay, overwhelmed) with greenery gone bananas in a wet English Summer, I chanced upon a hidden sign…

With such an abundance of native plants hiding it, I couldn’t imagine why it was there. And upon closer scrutiny, I discovered this…

Regarding the immediate area I could see no reason for its presence.

“No Footpath?” I said. “No shit – I’d never have guessed.”

Somebody paid money to have this erected: why?

A Lifeline for Nature

In England many farmers are paid to leave parts of their land fallow for several years, and turn it over to nature. Some go so far as to sow seeds of plants known to be of benefit to endangered species. The results have been very heart-warming to those who give a damn about the creatures that share this land with us. And areas that would otherwise be an uninteresting mono-culture, look like this…

And this…

If we keep this up, who knows, we may yet save the world from ourselves.