Caught by the River

Space Shuttle

John Andrews | 4th September 2007


back from dungeness, the lost beach, the largest area of shingle in the world along with cape canaveral, a post apocalyptic edward hopper vision in a corner of kent long forgotten by the mapmaker. the first sight of the power station chills the guts – a ticking time bomb, a concrete tumor lost in a forest of pylons. no human life visible, little birdsong. all around it the future post dirty bomb perhaps, a wasteland of gravel, sand and alpine plants, giant sea cabbages, rusting arms of iron poking out of the ground. occasional pilgrims to derek jarman’s prospect cottage with its gethsemane garden and john donne’s ‘the sunne rising’ nailed on the side.

a row of clapperboard houses, its occupants the pioneers of the 21st century, their dwellings built from abandoned railway carriages.

expected to see the ghost of roger deakin walking round or swimming in the areas marked DANGER on the map. a place bleak and beautiful beyond the imagination. porpoise in the sea, your sailfish wouldn’t have been out of place. left the rods in the car wrapped up in a flag. walked and walked and sat on the beach and watched the fishing boats being winched on and off the shingle, stick men on the horizon hurling their leads and lug at holland. planned our dream of living here. the white cliffs in the distance. collected driftwood for the first proper fire of the autumn and had a pint of spitfire in the britannia – the last pub in england.

the best day of the year on the bird table