The thirteenth instalment of Darren Hayman’s Thankful Villages project
Scruton (North Yorkshire)
I had been visiting an ill relative in the north. I should have driven straight home but Scruton called out to me. It was an unusually sunny autumn evening and the village was a stone’s throw from the A1. I promised myself the briefest of stays in Scruton. I would catch the last of the light and hang on tight to whatever idea came to me.
Scruton is neatly kept and the houses are surrounded by tidy hedges and flowers. I find red berries and pink houses. Dog walkers take their last opportunities before dusk. Huge four-by-fours purr as they crawl onto the loose gravelled driveways. People are coming home after Sunday errands and visits.
There is a pretty heritage railway station on the edge of the village. It was closed to passengers in 1954 and re-opened by rail enthusiasts in 2014. This is the first village I’ve come to that sometimes reverberates to the sound of steam trains.
In the middle of the village is a triangular green covered with golden, fallen leaves. Bare trees are scattered across it and cast long, dark shadows. A lone swing stands in the centre and I find a bench at one side next to the vicarage.
For once I leave the church be and decide that this might be my last chance of the year to record outside.
I tap out a rhythm on the bench and strum out lazy major chords on a Spanish guitar. I start to sing but the only word that comes out is ‘oh’.