Words and pictures: Malcolm Anderson
I leave Knapp Hill and head off along the abrupt edged chalk ridge past Golden Ball Hill. The expanse of the Pewsey Vale spreads out beneath me, vacillating, now-green now-gold, as the morning light shifts on the breeze.
Walking up here along the ridge, surrounded by the grass-covered remnants of ancient hands you feel the history of Britain under every footstep and with every breath. Long barrows, causewayed enclosures and tumuli abound; the very life-blood of our ancestors seems spread across the sweep of long-grazed greensward. The fields themselves, if you look from the air, show signs of Celtic farming with their almost square fields, much broader than the open field strips that followed. I cannot walk through this history without being filled with wonder at the physical remnants left behind by previous peoples. I wonder if in a thousand years, someone will walk across the south of England and marvel at the out of town shopping villages and wonder at the people who populated this land in the late 21st Century. (more…)
White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World by Geoff Dyer
(Canongate, hardback, 240 pages. Out now.)
Review by Ian Preece
I’ve never been great on a beach. There’s all that sand getting into the suntan cream, the blistering sun frying your head to a crisp; the kids wanting an ice cream or to go ‘for a walk’. All this and the ceaseless pull of wanting to become as one with the deep blue ocean often prevents me from really getting stuck into a book. One year, pre-kids, I remember walking pretty much the length of the Isla de Tavira to reach the far side of a huge wedge of fair-weather cumulus that, rendered stationary by competing crosswinds from the sea and land, had cast our end of the beach permanently into the shade. We walked for about two hours, and eventually made it, t-shirts plastered to our backs. My god was that sunshine beautiful. The whole island/bar of sand was completely deserted; and that remains the only time I’ve ever swum naked. We could just make out the distant speck of beach we’d travelled from, resolutely cast in grey. I was still congratulating myself on outwitting the forces of nature as we took the 20p boat trip back to the mainland, a salty old Portuguese sea-farer expertly cresting the waves with his 1950s vessel, smoke from the funnel intermingling with spray, salt, the last rays of sunshine and the roaring engine. (more…)
All proceeds will go towards finishing the Away with the Birds album, due for release in the future…
A third extract from Love Madness Fishing, which was published by Little Toller / Caught by the River in April, and is available in the Caught by the River shop here, priced at £15.00.
Words: Dexter Petley
It was a grey spring evening, drizzling but warm. Outside, we kicked a punctured football in the cinders back of the garages, then Liam showed off my pike plug to his brother Fin and his mate Scab. He made me feel so proud to own it, I let him keep it, after all. They showed me the ten acres of allotments between their estate and the River Medway. It was where they went fishing, at the back of these allotments at night, for eels. They sold the fookers for ten pence a pound.
We threw stones at each other for a while, then Liam said they were going off, stuff to do. I had to ask his dad for a lift back. On the way, Nurse Dillon said:
‘Liam likes you.’ (more…)
Unfortunately, due to personal reasons, Alexandra Harris will no longer be able to make it to Port Eliot this year.
Tim Dee, reviewer of Alexandra’s wonderful book Weatherland – who was due to talk to her on the Caught by the River stage – will instead appear with friend and fellow BBC man Paul Dodgson.
Paul is a writer and performer whose latest project, On The Road Not Taken, is a show, radio play and book about a man in his 50s becoming the troubadour he was too scared to be at 18. Tim, also in his fifties, has in the autumn of his life become obsessed with the spring: this year more than ever before. Beginning not long after the shortest day in midwinter he has been journeying north from south of the Sahara in Chad to north of the Arctic Circle in Finnmark. Mostly he has been looking at the birds that share the European spring throughout the northern hemisphere. This too will eventually be a book; here he shares some of his first reports.
Together on stage for the first time, Tim and Paul will talk about getting on with life: Tim will read from his work in progress and Paul will talk and, nerves permitting, sing.