Solvitur ambulando – It is solved by walking – May 2022

Words by:
Maxim Griffin
Featured in:
May 2022

8th April – fast sky / everything represented. By Maxim Griffin.

There are people dressed for beer gardens despite the snows of last week – full tilt into springtime then – there are lambs in the fields and deals on lamb chops in all the supermarkets – those leaves you like are back in style and the horse chestnuts approach inflorescence.

There’s a mock sun forming on high – a trick of the light, just ice in the stratosphere – a white dog thunders over young nettles – there’s glass on the path – the traces of a fire, pop cans and foil – attempted camping – dirty little goblins.

Bin bag it up – half a garden sack – the blackthorn is a wonder but in the hollows below are gullies of lost balls and melted plastics – a thorn pulls on jacket strands opening a rip – nature is chaotic today.

Jackdaws with split wings cawing – a voice calling for a dog – late frost in corners where the sun doesn’t touch – the dog rolls in something delicious and bounds away to the unseen owner who curses at the task ahead – jackdaws, pigeons.

A blackness passes to the south – squall hitting way out toward the turbines and there are sun bolts in phalanx pouring out in the direction of the coast – stellar debris – a gull hoard against blue slate and green – in the razor wire defences of the powerline are the shivering ghosts of party balloons.

On – golf course, garden centre, roundabout, woods, big green fields leading to battery farms – the way ahead cutting over a main road toward the sea – the bus shelter has been built with the wind in mind – leaning away from the westerlies. Step in – no info – on.

Paths south east – two mounds a mile or so apart, largely hidden by trees and landscape – there’s not much to go on – local names, the odd reference – two castles of earth and wood – forts, outposts from the years directly after the conquest – keeping watch on the marshes and the comings and goings along the Great Eau – all this was swamp and weirdness a thousand years ago – levels and islets – hamlets accessible by wood tracks established before memory – reeds, murk – perhaps you have seen Somerset when it floods, you’ll have an idea.

The first blooming of the oilseed – look – the first butterfly of the year – a magnolia tree in the garden of a red house – shining blossom on a hard blue sky – a horse in a blue overcoat – outskirting a larger village – path to the back of the church – path behind the swings – glass and pop cans, signs of burnt offerings and dirty little goblins – another brick bus shelter leaning out of the wind – a sudden gust of hail – pull in for a moment – oh – no bus information but a quantity of anti-vax scribble – the paint is new – urgh – those goblins are everywhere it seems.

The village has one of those Methodist chapels, a small war memorial, the derelict forecourt of an empty petrol station, a garden of gnomes – there was a shop, a good little shop – the kind of place you could expect a reasonable local pasty, a can of cash and carry pop – we were working in the churchyard here on the day Syd Barrett died, drinking dandelion and burdock with the van doors open – it was a green, hot day – the shop has gone now.

A bus from Skeg brushes the hanging branches at the edge of the village – an old woman gets off with plastic bags – there’s a path that cuts back down the old railway lines – shining blossom – ahead – four walkers, bright cagoules – red, blue, yellow, blue. Since the Weirdness, flocks of walkers have been a rare sight – an exchange of greetings at the passing place – turns out they are plotting one of the Slow Ways (look it up) – one of them shows me their map – different colour highlights on familiar routes – bright pink for today’s journey – one of the walkers carries a pilgrim staff – a holly stick about four foot – a Will Parsons – the Rolls Royce of sticks – nods of approval – a puppy in the fold of the yellow cagoule – the puppy is called Jasper.

The hedges are in chaos – must be a good year for the birds – an explosion in the pigeon population – once you tune into the sound you realise how big it is – a million pigeons purring into a great ambient hum. Those squalls have cleared off – it’s clearing – the sun is warm out of the breeze – a mile or so on – the remains of a railway signal pole, drowning in thorns and nettles – bricks and mortar under the mass of tangles. The track is damp – covered in prints – mostly deer – where there are embankments there are signs of rabbits and badgers – old railway lines make incredible habitats – sometimes it’s okay not to be so well connected – a bunch of magpies tussle for supremacy until a big rook moves in and the magpies quit it – big rook barks over the line and blossom.

Traffic close – an unofficial way for a mile – depends which map you read as to the rights of way – 1888 edition says it’s peachy – you’ll come close to the mound of another earthen castle and a gritstone church dedicated to one of the post Roman saints. Try the door – locked and hasn’t been tried for years – damp smell, damp place – best left to time and ghosts – on – someone out fishing on the Eau in full fishing regalia as though he were on a birthday card. In the sunlight there are insects gathering – a jet fighter shrieks north east – starlings pulse towards the battery farm – the squalls are out to sea, harmless blue smears on the horizon – on – road a little – bus shelter – perfect – a brick job, leaning away from the wind – step in – ah – bus info – good – eighteen minutes – that’ll do. A sudden darkness from the south – hail, then sunlight until the bus arrives bang on time.

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Calling all UK young artists!Doddington Young Sculptor Exhibition Doddington Hall and Gardens, Lincolnshire invites submissions from UK-based sculptors and 3D artists, aged under 30, for an exciting new open exhibition to be held this summer. Doddington is looking for pieces to be exhibited in the historic working Kitchen Garden, which complement the Garden and its surroundings. The Doddington Young Sculptor Exhibition will run alongside the main bi-annual Sculpture at Doddington exhibition and is an opportunity to exhibit alongside some of the finest contemporary sculptors selected from across the country and further afield. Prizes: 1st prize – £750, 2nd prize – £250Submission deadline: Sunday April 21st 2024Further details about eligibility, terms and conditions can be found at: apply, please email your submission as a PDF document to ... See MoreSee Less