I don’t know what the better route out of
the village is.
Let’s go that way,
where there was that lady,
she was selling lotions, potions and
snakes and something,
trying to sell us Viking shoes.
A bank holiday in August.
The mainland is over there.
This is the road of the causeway,
the village is on the south.
The island curves round, a bit like a
just after winter it’s really vibrant.
Orange and purple and pink
It’s the wrong time of year, for swallows.
They are too loud for sparrows.
Once I walked at night, this weird,
down to the beach
It was all the seals, they sang
They were singing and singing
Bright hazy sky,
Cloud grey and silvers
You can hear them at night, lying in bed.
There’s the church, and down to the
castle that way.
A white lady in the priory
Goats. One day they escaped,
never to be seen again, don’t know where
At school, sleep over,
if the tide is really high.
grey and this
All my photos have this dusty pink
haze, as if the sand has rose in it
At the weekend
If I don’t have to go anywhere,
If I don’t have to go out,
I don’t notice the tide.
The tide, not the sea
A proper cinema, in the city,
I could just watch people rushing
around all day.
This is where we had the village hall.
It was knocked down ten years ago.
When I was younger we used to go
swimming, you get out and you have
When the tide was open.
We’d go to school on the mainland
and there’d be more people,
and when it was closed we’d stay here
with one teacher
In the summer last year,
I would walk out
Everyday. I got lost
somewhere in these dunes.
It was quite nice being lost,
as the sun was coming down.
Two smaller islands,
They’re really rocky.
Huge gulls, swooped, a woman crying.
Your time there is rushed.
You get off the boat and then you have
to get back on.
That stone stack, is used to steer.
The white keeps on flaking off and they
keep painting it back on.
The sea. The edge. To see as
He sailed tankers.
Came past the island, she flew, a lot.
I have this dream of going somewhere,
where the sea is warm.
I’ve never swam in a warm sea
There’s my dad’s boat,
it won’t be there when I come back.
Dart is for the oak,
The trees just pour over
A line, they just hover,
so you can swim underneath
The leaves changing so gradually
We used to swim in the river
and then out
High cliff and craggy
these little rocky bays.
A wintery day
Loads of wind,
squalls and bright sunshine
A cormorant with a fish bigger than
A porpoise. A skipper.
to take scientists places they couldn’t
get to any other way.
I used to race
Our own little island,
and sitting at screens
because it’s a manager’s job
You wake up you wash,
look after the boat, look after each other,
and do it all over again
We can go under the water,
volcanoes, mountains and valleys
and sea mantis, all these
we don’t know about.
The seals and the basking sharks
and the terns
they separate, split and
then all meet again
Lighthouses, they flash
Lands End – 1 – Lizard – 2 and Start
Point – 3, coming up on the coast
used to run in the river and now
Now they are running north.
more debris in the water
Scallops and prawns
A ‘prawn cocktail’
was a treat
They were ﬁshing,
haddock and cod.
that keep me company
are keeping me company
at a different time
A very small family,
the same group of friends,
and people, I’ve crossed an ocean
I’ve not spoken to
for ten years.
That’s the Flying Fox, that doesn’t fly
Behind that hedge is a boules court and
tennis courts and a path you can cycle
around as you learn to ride your bike.
There used to be a café over here.
This is where they keep the canoes
and those little dinghy boats.
It’s a good size to do a walk around
Red brick, light brick
the sea, the Downs
My mum had a shop, and we lived
above the shop.
I used to look out the window at
everyone at the bus station
Over this one connecting bridge,
there’s a mill and a funny little
network of places.
My gran used to live the other side
and from her house, you used to be
able to walk
something you rarely see in the city.
Where the skyjoins the land
My friends and I used to cycle around,
there were lots of fields, it could go on
you could keep going and
You didn’t have to be home for a time
You didn’t really get a sense of tide.
More of a pondthan a sea
It’s probably identical.
All the pigeons hang out here
A very odd honking sound
This, is where we’d feed all the ducks
The water is always calm
There are not very many people
Usually, an old person and the sound
of the planes,
the odd train
A lot of pigeons,
My kids, always wanted to get across
to that island.
Buggies, scooters, lollies and ice-creams
in the summer.
Funny trees without their trunks,
very good climbing, when you’re little
The smell of wet, damp,
taller and bigger than me
Sitting in those swings,
climbing that frame
You walk from houses to these
Just east the dual carriageway ends
and west it begins again. There’s always
been this bottleneck. They’ve been
talking about it for thirty-five years.
It used to come through the centre.
It used to just go down the high street.
Lorries get bigger and bigger.
So there’s talk of joining the two
Going over the river,
over the flood plain,
over here and the railway.
The road traffic, the air traffic
Overcast, quite heavy, misty up there
but not down here.
That coppery colour
There are a lot of hazels,
Bands forested with pine.
When the leaves fall, like snow,
Everything is soft and covered.
It’s a bit squelchy, sometimes there’s a
foot that’s really gone deep.
This patch of rhododendron, the
madness of the bracken growing so
tall up through
Red berries underneath those yellow
I was coming here at twenty-one,
pushing the pushchair around for the
first couple of years
There are so many toads
There’s a pond just along here,
and in the summer
My entire life I thought toads were
so old and so rare.
There’s a little lane
The allotments just round the corner,
There was a time when nobody wanted
so they put chickens and goats on
to keep it down.
Now we have a bit of a queue.
Fruit bushes, gooseberry and blackcurrant,
loads of potatoes
and helping each other muddle through.
I’ve got so much rhubarb, just
anytime you want.
My father was a high mountain hiker.
My daughter will be eight next year.
The mountain is still there
The lake is still there
There are more roads
The park is when
you don’t know what to do
This is where I come.
It’s trees and grass.
You don’t have anything in front of you
My daughter learnt all her walking and
If you grow living with an open field,
you can go
Grandpa owned a rice field.
Where you can’t see the end
I come here and sit in the park all day.
I go into the garden,
I go look at the deer
There are two kinds of deer
One with spots, one without
Pigeon and squirrels,
they will run up to you and your leg
My daughter was born
A tree in her name
On her very first birthday
We went to the tree
A silver spade
Bigger than her
October, we will come to step on
big piles of leaves,
We will jump
Up and down
Up and down.
Back to the mountain
You’ve got people
picnics and stuff.
When my daughter was small
I know exactly where the sun comes in.
You can smell the grass.
Winter is when it’s covered in snow,
You can go sledge down the side.
Winter is to think
The park is the same
Waiting for the spring
It has been a little bit mad.
The plants are a little bit confused.
Don’t know when they should come out.
My daughter’s birthday is March
When a yellow daffodil comes
I will take her to her tree,
just to see how much they grow.
You know the time of the daffodil,
and when the squirrel will pick up
That’s where we do the jumping
In the summertime
I stand here,
A lovely breeze,
Over my skin, face, hair.
You hear children,
If I sit on this bench
The mountain is there,
the tree is still there,
the lake, is there.
The grass will grow.
The ginnel, the bus stop,
the 741 to go and buy my vinyl.
We all used to walk out and onto that
bank, beyond that woodland there,
down onto the side of the road. Not my
elder sisters, but at least four of us, we’d
have Tupperware and we’d go picking,
hundreds and hundreds of blackberries
This has been tarmacked, this was just a
track, a gravelly track. There always used
to be a barn owl that flew between these
two fields, looking for mice.
Lots of yellowhammers, flying around,
as you go towards them they
Flick, across the top of
the hedge and they land further
on, and you come closer and they
And jackdaws. You would have that
This is the beck.
Mum would see you across the road and
then you would come down here and
build dams. Go up the rocks, climb the
trees, cut a stick off and make a sword
and fight each other.
There used to be the sound of the
cuckoos, jackdaws, jays and barn owls.
But, the cuckoos have gone.
And the yellowhammers have
pretty much gone.
They all used to nest in these high trees.
Russet and bronze
Amber in the autumn
When the sun is on it, in its fullest
It’s just plush with green.
This is where I used to come with my
dog. If he got a bit bored,
I’d throw a stick and he’d go in the river.
This little lip, where the tree is,
I’d perch here and sit for ages and
That’s a different little village
That’s a farm just beyond those trees
That house there, the water literally
goes up to their front door sometimes.
It’s never actually gone over the steps.
The grandest house,
with a ballroom I used to look up at.
That’s one of the places we used to go
There’s a cave underneath
You’d set off on your bike,
From right up the top there,
Hit that and turn it,
Go off the side of the bridge and
jump the beck.
It was hot. It wasn’t always
super hot, but you used to get a tan.
Winters were cold.
We used to have a fence that was about
eight foot high, I jumped off it once and
I was up to my waist in snow
Last year I saw bullfinches, here by
the river. A mating pair, striking.
That red. It’s
kind of like, a stop sign. Bright, come
and get me, a seductive, kind of red.
There’s a robin right there. Incredible
song, from such a tiny bird, so intricate.
He’s really showing off, there’s one over
there. They’re all showing off.
You can see the church over there,
where I used to go to harvest festivals
and sing. I used to love church,
just because you’d get to sing.
By the time we got our Labrador it was
really only me, mum and dad at home,
my brother, occasionally
This is the weir. In the summer,
the water will come over the top of you
You used to stand underneath and push
your head out through. That’s the edge,
where it drops off. I used to cycle
along there, leave the bike on the top
and then fall
I used to work in the bakery, which is
closed now. That was one of my first jobs
and the guy who owned that had a big
the whole river was frozen over, his dog
walked out on to the ice and had gone in
He went in, this guy,
he was eight stone, wet-through and he
managed to get it back on to the ice and
It’s very powerful
And sometimes it’s just flat
This bridge, right here
You can hear the echo. I’ve stood
under this bridge and just screamed
It’s also a place to hold hands and snog
Another good excuse to take the dog
for a walk.
The boys would get into this stream
and paddle. Wellies and waterproofs
We would sit and gossip, while they
played with twigs.
Orange juice, a picnic, Pooh sticks,
to pass an afternoon
This is the bridge, we would stomp,
and somebody would hide.
The odd runner, the odd dog walker.
Rhododendrons, conifers, silver birch
These old trees, fantastic shapes
against the sky.
These tall ones, all standing there
These white statues,
The sunlight bouncing off
Crystal white and sparkly
All so still
Not much wind.
Just the odd little breeze
A baby deer,
Just over there
and the mother
We both looked at each other and they
scampered off into the woods.
On a Sunday, when the boys were
still asleep, I would go running,
One morning all these guys in
camouflage outfits popped out
We’d gone so deep in,
had no idea where we were.
That’s the roar, the big road that
they’ve cut through the woods.
Time goes so quickly,
I know we’d sit here
and you could see all the way across
Now the trees
have grown up so much,
you can’t see the land beyond
You don’t think what year you’re in,
what day of the week it is,
what hour it is,
When I was at home
the thought of school the next day,
homework, and all the stuff you
hadn’t done, that sinking feeling
I used to say to my parents
I’m just going for a walk
I’d go across the fields
and there was a weir,
I would just sit there
for five, or ten minutes
and lose myself and then walk back and
I went off nursing
We would go to midnight mass,
and then to the old fruit and
veg market, our capes with
the red side out.
They’d give us crates of bananas
and satsumas, and then the police
would give us a lift in the Black Maria,
back to the hospital
We’d fill the sink,
Red shiny paper, all the oranges,
and mattresses sat on the floor.
This is where we used to bring trays
We used to climb up
to that one
all the way to the bottom,
until you got frozen toes
in your welly boots.
We’ve sat there in spring
and we’ve sat there in summer
and we’ve sat there when
it’s freezing cold and your bottom
We used to run up that hill,
a huge training.
Slow and steady, and then it goes
and then it goes down.
when your nose is touching your knee.
Not a breath of air
And then there’s a bench
For someone who used to like to
sit here, in the most fortuitous of
and a bit of sun
and the trees
None of these people’s relatives are
Overgrown by moss and plants
The houses look the same,
people are similar.
I eat my breakfast
through the window, I call it a jungle
Trees and some bushes and the grass
We used to have a little fox family.
They would come out in the morning.
It had rained, a bit like now.
Drops of water everywhere,
There weren’t that many people.
Light coming through the branches
Cold, colder than now
A giant Cypress. We played, talked
to her child, walked around and chatted.
A tent of two bushes
I can hear the machines,
probably they are building something,
and a bit of traffic
I used to climb on a tree.
A cherry tree we had at home,
I used to go up there and stay.
My Mum knew it when she was little.
Out of the ground,
so you could climb up, when it was
blossoming and have cherries.
Sometimes just staring out of the
I sit down on a bench
I can hear the plane
Someone riding a bike behind me,
the leaves moving
and the wind
A ray of sun, a bird
The coldness of the ground
Leave it half wild
Plant a little something, a little bush,
a tiny tree.
That’s the railway line and there’s a
footpath as well.
A lot of mist, in the
White, coming through the clouds,
bouncing off the water.
It’s quite low at the moment, but it
will come right up, where those dogs
are over there.
Further down you can be in a town and
start to walk out and out, and this is
Fields and fields, and then, you start to
go back in
The old willows, that’s mistletoe,
they had some fantastic long branches,
a bit like somebody with really wild hair
A few houses raised up, along here,
houses and people and boats
And then you go to where I live,
new housing estates being built
There’s a big cutting
I witnessed when I was very young,
I was there with my father.
In a few miles, you hear the hum.
just the noise from the occasional train.
A golf course
You’ve got the swans,
different kinds of duck
and some different geese,
Mainly human beings and dogs,
lots of breeds of dogs
There’s a churchyard. There’s a pub
around here, I’m one of these children,
the carrot, a Coca-Cola and packet of
crisps at the end
If I were all of a sudden transported to
that house over there,
where’s your nearest neighbour,
half a mile down,
Could I knock on their door
and have a chat with them
Looking out my window,
five little sparrows
on the nut feeder,
I hadn’t seen sparrows
for quite a long time.
And an old furniture factory, I think
that was one of the last ones to go.
They had a big patch of land at the back
It was just wild.
Clover, bees and
All the mist has gone.
It’s very still,
all these insects walking on it.
We can’t walk on the water,
we can’t fly in the sky.
I saw a lady swimming
right down the middle of the river
in her wetsuit,
I know my father swam
in the river
when he was a boy,
But, you don’t hear of it now
It’s things like that you forget
you can do.
I used to swim
in the sea,
we’d go for the day,
and that was
to go to somewhere you’d forgotten.
In two halves, divided
by the gun club that was here before the
land was given over.
You’ve got the industrial estate on that
side there and then,
the rush of water.
Wagtails along here, beyond the station
I saw a kingfisher there, once.
A few years back, it was right up to the
bank. A lot more
ice on the river.
There used to be a couple of trees
here, a lot of starlings and quite a
I’ve seen wrens
We had woodpeckers,
I once spent an afternoon
walking round a tree with my dad,
something kind of insistent,
a hammering sound.
It’s somewhere you can come
away from tile cutters
and roads being dug up.
As it’s getting to be dusk,
and maybe a hawk overhead
It was nettles to begin with
Weeds, slugs, squirrels,
it hadn’t been tended,
other than some horseradish
over this side.
There was a breaker’s yard.
There was brown
Patches of bare soil
The raft of the fence,
fallen leaves that hadn’t been cleared,
bits of plastic in the corner, old carpet
Green in the summer and then,
a layer of snow
sitting on the shed
When no one else is around,
you get that lovely crumpling
Ruby red veined,
chard leaves pushing through
Purple tulips that come up by the drain
A yellow dot
in the centre, moving towards
a pale lemon white, very vivid
Some blues and purples in the pot,
That rich terracotta
These dark red flowers
with the almost ochre yellow
Dark, olive green and the silvery
white of the tree
It goes very slowly,
when it’s beautifully warm
A colony of frogs
I haven’t seen any this year
We also had mice and there are rats
That it’s flowering now is quite odd
This time of year,
you can feel your feet getting cold.
Summer has come to end
and we’ve flashed into winter
Autumn raspberries have fruited in
Beans, took around August
Looking at some of the sheds
They seem like people’s houses
You might inherit one, something that’s
already fairly well established
I live in a small upstairs flat.
If I didn’t have a plot,
I would probably still go to parks
To watch the trees
It’s a margin, border, edge,
fertile manicured land.
Going into a wilder more rugged place,
Defined by the coast
More often than not on my own
The light here is really strong,
and you can see a long way around.
Amazing dark, green, olive,
Some flat rocks
Shingle and shells
Quite dark sand
Along that bridge there,
there was a fish trap.
A wee set of steps
Remnants of structures that would have
You see the odd boat,
but they’re just people
They’d bring their grain and their crops,
in turn for having land
Looking right, across on the
A ruin with dark orange,
A decaying wall,
Loads of things left behind
It’s very shallow
It’s the bed of the Firth
There’s a wall we’ve sat on
a good few times
why we’re here,
and not further south.
Around this time of year,
maybe a little bit earlier, it was dusk
And we had walked together along
And were sitting
And it was the time of the year when
they will hang around for a while
before they carry on.
They all took up, into the sky,
this flurry of grey.
This year it’s later.
A really long mild summer
This flat machair,
This vibrant green
A real gathering point for geese,
Often grazed by sheep
An urgency of animals,
at a certain time of day
to a different place at night.
There aren’t so many people
The people are spread out.
The animals and the clouds
Last night we saw high tide
Now, we get different noises
Waders on this muddy shoreline,
Fish, when the water’s in,
you can see them too
They do very well,
where this land meets the sea.
They spend time in fields picking out
insects. Flat fields, fertile fields,
that have short grass.
My favourite sound
Each repetition goes up with pitch
A really beautiful announcement of
These plains have their own strong
smells, these reeds
to the north,
over the top of that skyline,
there’s a really large wind farm.
There’s a small farm, private windmills,
over there, to the west.
You see the fields changing
And the colours changing
This sort of tapestry
Throughout the year
This flat machair
Being less bound.
There’s a bit of blue, grey clouds,
greyish-brownish, grey, flat sea.
Which occasionally in the summer
does get a turquoise.
Everybody thinks of the brown,
the brown North Sea.
At night you can hear that
Sends you off to sleep
In the winter there’s corrugated iron
sheets they put up against the railings
to try and keep the sand on the beach.
They come down again in May.
There’s a lifeguard hut that goes up and
you get that tingle of excitement.
And that’s another year gone
This beach was really pebbly then
We would have gone further down
A really sandy beach, where you can
see the wind turbine there, the most
easterly point in Britain.
We would come here if we were
And you’re on the edge of something.
We’ve stood arms out, leaning
At forty five degrees
We would judge the weather by how
many hats we used to have to wear.
A three-hat day
A lazy wind, they say
it doesn’t go round it goes straight
The number of benches has increased,
they’ll soon be lining side to side.
These black backed gulls. Enormous.
The terns are the smaller ones,
a breeding ground just up the coast.
Flocks. Swifts and martins
in the summer
They’ve just started to pup.
This is the time of year. There
and everywhere you look
They bob their heads up, regal
White and fluffy, blacks and greys
a metre and a half long. On shore until
January and back out to sea.
The building of the harbour
There are ships
that come into the river
that bring, semolina, pasta,
It was carrying concrete powder
A leak, so down it went.
Sometimes it seems further out.
Counting the thunder
They stay for ages. Some of them
are there all day and all night.
the women used to come and gut them,
follow the fishermen around.
You used to be able to walk across
the boats lined in the harbour.
We’d come for the day.
My dad would always produce
We’d sit under when it was raining.
We’d have to give up sometimes and
go home. But that was half the fun.
flocking. The wind
is always there.
I collect stones, stripy,
little bits of glass green, white, blue,
dulled by the movement
of the sand and the sea.
The river mouth, the quay, there was a
ferry but that closed fifteen years ago.
There’s a theatre that’s been there,
for I don’t know how long, he used to
go in there dancing, his social life
before the war.
There used to be an open-air pool.
who would come back every year to
nest on the boating lake.
He did have a partner one year.
There’s a fountain in the middle.
Concerts in the summer,
people bring their chairs down
and their picnics.
Cormorants that fly
The moon, you see at night.
Sometimes on a warm evening,
when it’s really still,
the water is just like
A constant thread through
jigsaw puzzle pieces
that are missing and the sky is
the empty bits,
And there’s green over there.
The summer, you can’t move.
You can sit and watch
everything go by.
You see people doing everything,
falling asleep, against the trees.
And little ones
Soon there will be the smell of cakes or
pretzels and people with big woollen
hats and massive coats.
It would be really dark
and you look up to all this blue
In the summer, there were flowers,
intertwining the arches and stuff
Now, it’s a bit stricken.
There’s nothing here, except for sky
It goes on for seven or eight miles in
that direction and ten or so in that
Dead and brown Grey skies,
If it snowed, we would come up here,
we would want to come to somewhere
there were ten foot drifts
There’d be my mum and me, her
driving through a blizzard.
This is the road we would drive down.
It’s so windy
So high and so flat
When it does start
there’s not really much to stop it.
Especially at this time of year, when it
Often because me and my sister lived
quite far apart, we would meet here
would chase the sheep
and they would get lost in the snow.
Down there, is an inn
that we went past, for two hundred years
its fire, never went out.
And there was a giant,
who had a fight
with another giant
and scooped out
Around and up, and down and into that
bit, beyond that bit over there, you start
to see fields and then eventually, the sea
A village, in two halves, at the top there’s
a hill and a very steep cliff.
We were going to that place before
I was born
All together and trying to get along
Being on the beach, being outside
Summer. When you left
your ordinary life and went on holiday
Over here, there’s a radar station,
These big golf ball, buildings, massive
white, looking out
at the sky to see what’s coming and
I used to have daydreams, driving there
Six, and then four or five, as my brothers
got older, in the back of the car,
Traffic jams, absolutely nose to tail,
cars and caravans and camper vans.
They used to let us out
of the car so that we could run,
I used to run through the heather
Damp, peaty earth
Having to grab onto things,
so you don’t fall.
Or we’d stop and go for a walk, in those
villages over there
A small pond,
in the middle of the wood,
a man, diving in and swimming
All of that,
was purple, and the sky
Just the heather and the sky,
A flat sky
A few colours
Bits of sky, that’s fallen
The wind has dropped
The blue of the sky
The pink of the flowers
A great big pillow
At the crest of this little bit,
there are these different paths.
They suddenly appear.
A rock in a patch of heather
and you’d end up sitting on it.
Covered in caterpillars
A single butterfly
It’s like, walking on top of the back of
a big animal.
Going off in those paths, seeing what
you can find.
An animal, waiting,
it hasn’t moved, it’s just waiting
It’s always just been here, waiting and
A big remembering machine
And every now and then it flowers
My parents bought a guesthouse, to live
by the seaside, a fishing town with a pier.
Somewhere people could get to by train,
before the days of cars. It was harder
because they were doing evening meals,
the days of being kicked out at nine
o’clock in the morning.
Now, in that hotel by the bridge,
are a hundred people, there all the time.
we would play in, up there,
have got houses built on them.
Those are the backstreets, old
You can sit on the quayside, in summer,
dangle a line over the edge, a bit of bait
on the end and bring up the crabs that
live in the wall.
There’s a little bit of fishing still,
most of the boats are out today.
They would have gone out early,
when there’s water in the river;
in the early morning sunrise, on calm,
tame days, days like today.
Another day it will be bashing over
the walkway, a south-westerly storm,
you just lock the doors and stay inside.
The sky changes colour
The sea changes colour
It gets rough. It gets smooth.
It’s still that line out there
on the horizon,
a couple of silhouettes of things
floating on the top.
I remember coming along the road in
the bucket of a digger. Flooded
We couldn’t get to school.
It comes up through the drains, always
been the case.
a few spots of rain.
Lots of black backed gulls out there
There were two sisters.
One taught needlework at the school,
they lived there. They left it,
A sanctuary for seabirds and seals.
Two or three times a year it dries out
enough to walk out, just above your
There might have been a causeway,
I’ve been playing in the rock pools since
I was a kid.
Little tiny things, squat lobsters. No
more than the size of your thumbnail,
very flat, they trail their tail underneath.
Great big spiny starfish, between us and
the island, dinner plate size with spikes,
of blue and grey.
A soft slate rock, you snorkel over,
when the tide’s in and the sun’s on.
Strong green. Bright, vivid, purple. Grey.
Between the rocks and that reef, a great
big sandy bed and forests of kelp.
You go in and float around, wander
where you want.
I was always quite happy,
pondering, playing on my own,
Searching along a hedgerow.
Searching in a book.
A chapel, up there, linked to another out
on the island.
Boat shaped settings
of rock up on the moors.
Up the valley, you’ll always see
The first spring roses,
snowdrops coming out,
sunlight coming through.
Brown water coming down
Midsummer, flag irises,
the smell of wild garlic.
You don’t have to go far, to not see
I saw an otter’s tail, disappear
into the river.
We used to just sit on the beach and
watch the tide and play in the sand.
Sandwiches, my mum used to bake
little fairy cakes, apple pies and things
A green between the road and
A windmill there on the front
The bakers used to grind their own flour
A blue sea, green grass, a blue sky
Picking all the shells and thinking
“where have they come from?” I’ve got
all sorts at home, all sorts of driftwood,
all sorts of stones, all different colours
Where have they come from and how
old they are
They do the cockle fishing from there.
The sand is very soft, it goes like mud
They go out at night, all the little boats
Waiting for the tide to come, from
Lights on the land.
Mare’s Tail, almost prehistoric
It’s a place I’ve been walking to,
and up and down.
It’s a place where we come to walk the
It’s a place where in the winter
we used to come sledging with the girls.
It’s a place where we bring visitors.
where we come to get long distance
Crow that veer around.
There weren’t any buzzards ten to
twelve years ago.
They’ve gradually moved up from
in this direction too.
Constant chirruping of small songbirds
There are woodpeckers.
Ruts made by motorbike scramblers
A pheasant, the wing beat,
Such noisy birds.
It’s fabulous in the snow, the highest
slopes. Sledges have exploded.
A couple of years ago I was lucky to
escape without a broken nose.
The deadly one is this one,
from that ash tree up there.
You can wrap your arms around its
That tree has always been like that,
probably a hundred and fifty years old.
Thirty years older than when
I first saw it.
Divided fields and hedgerows, scrub,
sound of it on my jacket, the wind
through those trees, my feet on
That’s a track there
I walk along.
A green lane, it’s a lane that for
generations farmers have taken
them to the market.
One Sunday we came up and
one of these beasts
had completely fallen over.
French and English families together,
playing, there. Eating, talking.
Standing on a ridge piled up
Sitting on top of this mass
These little details,
Contorted shapes, twisted.
One berry. Heart red.
My dad made this.
He’d go out into the woods and cut
hazel, a pile of them at the end of the
drive. He loved talking
to people hikers, walkers.
A buzzard, we can just hear it
about to call.
A sad sound, but not unhappy
You see, they are usually in twos
There’s no struggle
There, above the tree
There, where I was larking about with
Gulls that dive and bite for sandwiches,
Bigger than that rabbit running toward
I can be in the mist all day,
while an hour away he walks the bridge
in the sun.
The slate mine, shut down
A yellow plant
The wind farm,
The tide so high,
The smell of the sea coming up
Two swans on the strait
Not unlike a fjord
The broken railway line
Next door, one goat
and an empty house
If I look across the way there is sun
splashed on the mountain’s side
There were no butterflies for five years
and this summer there must have been
I first came here on a school trip, with
my teacher. It was really cloudy and
very windy, a bit overcast and grey too,
and a bit cold.
He brought his dog and we were all
running, and the teacher was going
“slow down, slow down,” a class of thirty
running down this slope
It’s quite steep and there’s a load of mud
Then, we used to come with my family
a bit, a kind of day out
Lots of different pathways you can take
Lots of sky
Quiet and empty.
When I used to come as a child,
there wasn’t the pub, there was a hut up
there where you could get a drink and
the car park wasn’t as busy
In the height of summer, or on a really
Incredible, colourful, wild, shapes.
It’s a really good place to fly kites.
That mound thing up there,
that’s really fun.
These blocks of stone that you can
kind of hide in and run around
The grass is often really long, these bits
today have had a haircut, but we go
rolling down, really, really fast,
Green, gold, cuddled.
You can be standing here, and suddenly
And then, light again.
These huge shadows, the clouds moving
fast. We chase them.
We make up stories.
A massive big ball came through here
A giant tenpin bowling
That kind of yellow,
Lots of blue flowers and purple
A forget-me-not blue, not too
dissimilar, to the way the sky is today
A few other families or dog walkers
Cows, I hardly ever see them, maybe it’s
the time of day we come, either before
or after lunch
And horses, lots of horses,
Rabbit holes, cows, sheep, horses, rabbits
Butterflies in the summer
Squirrels, when we get round this bit it
gets really foresty
That tree has come down.
In the summer, through the very dense
can see, little bits of sky.
Quite small leaves, oaks, really deep,
green. Moss and ivy. Rain.
That’s really squelchy now
That’s quite squishy
A really bad storm last Friday, wild and
powerful and out of control,
we went down to the seafront and we
had to hold onto the girls in the wind.
Here, and just over there,
the pebble beach, when the tide goes out
far enough, there is sand.
No one ever stays around long enough
to see it.
So far out that you can hardly see
That dark line, of the cloud
That green, brighter and brighter,
Going. The fields, that disappeared, in
Sheep. Rapeseed, that shock of yellow
Often when we’re walking,
they ask questions
Why is mud like this?
Why is the grass green?
What colour was the universe before the
Standing here on this edge,
Looking down at all those trees
The same with the sea
Waves crashing at your feet
Diving in swimming out
Looking back at the shore
The sound in the water,
It’s a lot more relaxed now than it was.
You couldn’t walk on the grass, in the
day of the rose gardens.
He worked on a farm in his youth
and his father was a gardener, you see,
for the gentry.
We used to pick the wildflowers
in the hedgerows and they’d said this is
what this is and this is what that is.
Here, is where we always used to play.
Little tiddlies, a net and a bucket,
scoop them out, half an hour in and
then throw them back again.
It can be really high, scary, fast flowing
I went to the water last week and the
trees were just turning.
I used to sit down here courting
Just listen, nothing.
Even the birds are quiet this morning.
There weren’t any blue tits or wagtails.
They were all just starlings and an odd
blackbird used to sing and robins.
They’ve all gone.
I never saw a magpie until I was
Over there across the bridge, spent
many an hour, throwing things on one
side and watching them go
There used to be at the end, a little hut.
And the lady lived in our street and she
sold sweets, everyday.
Blackjacks four for a penny.
Eggs rolling down the hill, and they’ve
done that forever and ever, you can’t
even see a blade of grass there’s that
many people sat on the park.
And now they have bouncy castles and
all the rides that go with it.
A boiled egg all painted up, and a
different colour ribbon for every girl.
Six sisters. Building dens, making daisy
chains, shoes and socks off.
It can be grey and silvery or black
and threatening or fine, like today.
green, drowned fields
One long soft edge of down rolling up,
roaring black, white
There’s one coming now and there’s one
coming on Friday
One or two in the winter, but we’ve had
seven, eight, nine
The pier split
The old grammar school, which is now
a sixth form
A much older brother, who was a
skipper on a boat, I was his crew from
about ten to eighteen.
Sailing and racing.
Flat as a mill pond, or mountainous
Every seventh is bigger.
That one climbs the cliff.
Six gulls soaring, two pushchairs,
Diving, for wrecks, chains,
from marker buoys
It gets churned up.
Instead of going up, you go down
The sand and the shingle
Grey muddy, mucky
This little dot in the distance
Pulling the water.
Twelve hours in and twelve hours out
Hot and still.
Out to sea and look back
at everyone on the beach.
I’ve lived along here for sixty years,
a lot of muddy feet through the house.
A shut down area at weekends
There were no cafes up this street,
and it was mostly pubs, greasy spoons
and some of the meat traders.
It used to start so early. You were
coming off shift late, and so you saw
a lot of the life.
Butchers’ white aprons,
An arch here, a flirtation
They were printing in Fleet Street
Offices and all the rough trading, the
Bishop’s Finger, was open.
The hospital as a still point.
My grandfather, a Smithfield man.
He worked here before the war.
Up at two in the morning and be home
Hauling meat and carcass
This was a street the taxis could
Now, people coming to posh pubs,
that serve Sunday lunch
There’s a big hole, a funny building.
It had ‘Crosby’ on it and they’ve knocked
That was meat storage, and a couple of
doors down, there, was a club.
The sounds of the post office,
The circling of taxis and trucks, and
An old fashioned wheelchair, incredibly
difficult to steer, horribly uncomfortable
to sit in.
Flowering cherry trees in the spring and
rowans in the autumn,
We cycle, we often go to the theatre.
Meat lorries are in at ten-thirty, eleven
It always had these four shelters and
a large, plane tree.
It was always a place where people used
to bring their lunch out, on the benches.
One year the fountain froze.
A very cold Christmas
The junior nurses were sent down to get
things to decorate the ward, flowers and
In uniform and capes
The flower market was full.
This huge tradition of work
You looked out on to the square
And you look out on to trees.
We used to bring patients out into the
square in their beds.
And the children used to come down
Away from the hustle and bustle
Not completely absent but different,
The hours between
four and five
When the morning came and it began
to get light,
I’d look across the square to see the ward
All those huge buildings have gone up
The seasons. The trees,
just the light
Too many buildings to see the sky,
you’re aware of the shadows.
The lengthening shadows,
at the end of summer
The sound of the bells, and engines
and motors, fifty horses with their tack
jangling in the morning.
I don’t know if I had gloves on.
It just started to snow a little bit.
I crossed over from the north bank.
Thinking this is a mighty, swallow
Freezing cold, you could get lost in this.
Terrifying and powerful and excitingly
It’s cityscape and it’s buildings and it’s
Murky, dirty. Don’t want to think
about what’s gone in over the years.
People moving around and through
A tide and a little bit of a bank
A beautiful blue day
An unexpected blue day
Birds, seagull, cruisers
A couple of little motorboats
Somewhere to breathe
They came over, wheat and sheaf
Dryness, the colour of the soil, the rain
on the tin-roof of our house
My grandfather used to wander out and
just watch it all.
How gorgeous the trees are
when they come out to that exact green
It’s going to be fading soon.
A word I learnt here.
The breeze, the traffic behind
The sun and the breeze
The grass, this dampness
Uneven but better than any mattress
Drifting wafting clouds
I grew up by a beach, beside a bay
So used to seeing water.
At the ponds, you’ve got the swans and
the birds and everything else.
We get the odd duck landing.
There is the common and other green
We are surrounded by trees, those old
We used to come in the winter,
trains going by
I was noticing the trees are all golden.
And I remember those trees turning,
The chestnut, they turn in July now.
As we’re coming into summer,
the signal for autumn.
Last year was very cold
This year it took a long time to warm up
It seemed a very long winter.
All year round and every day
We get in to be in
Like my home is much bigger
Not just my flat.
I’ve won a cup that goes back to 1910
Always someone to talk to, always
someone to say,
She’s been coming since a time when
people used to swim in the nude.
He will have been coming for over
It’s being outside in the winter
It’s being out in the air
When my head’s in the water
When the sun is shining,
the dappled effect
When there are not many people,
it’s the trees, the air, the light,
If you choose your time here
The calmness, the slowness
My brain starts racing, you come out
and you’re smiling.
We used to go to the market at about
five in the morning, when the pubs were
still open. The high street, a butcher’s,
a grocer or something like that.
I’m not one for just sitting. Long gone
are the days of shimmying up a ladder
to paint or wallpaper. People don’t
Trying to keep a nice pace going
Then you’ll see something
What’s that, what’s happening here?
The trees are changing
The water is changing
The days, when we had snow
from December to March or something
We’ve not had a spring. We’ve had a
lovely summer. Different colours at
autumn, a good show on our doorstep.
The warmth on your back
Your muscles feel looser.
A changing of colour, down there,
hitting the hill.
There’s a farm. There are some cattle.
Good for the tubes, we have plenty
You stand here and a mile and a half
away there is the city.
The cricket house, the green
It’s just lovely
I’m of the old world
The sandwich generation
The really old score
No stretching before a match and
then… after a couple of sets, go into the
clubhouse have a drink and back out
That, doesn’t look so good to me.
You think of the number of oaks that
went into the navy.
All the trees that went to sea
As you know, they last, can last
hundreds of years
used to be geared around wood.
The State of Nature report was released
in 2013 by a groundbreaking coalition
of UK conservation organisations, and
for the first time drew together data
tracking the abundance and decline
of biodiversity in the UK over the
past fifty years. Mapping the country
through nine major habitat types, the
report is a troubling and hopeful story of
altered landscapes, shifting populations
and ceaseless change.
In the same year, Fevered Sleep created
Above Me The Wide Blue Sky, a
performance and installation that
explored the deep, often unnoticed
connections between human life and
the more-than-human world around us.
An Open Field, made with the support of
the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation,
stitches together the themes of Above
Me and the focuses of the State of Nature
report, through a project in two parts.
The first part was a series of walks. We
made an invitation. People responded.
We met. And we walked. We walked
with each participant, individually, for
the time it took. For as long or as little.
We set out from, and we returned.
In between, we wandered, sometimes
quiet, sometimes speaking. Things were
shared. Things were revealed, ordinary
and remarkable things, precious things,
things from those places and from
those people’s lives.
Each encounter was a space of
possibility, attending to what was not
quite forgotten, what was lost and
found. Each encounter carefully and
quietly excavated years and years
of detail, unearthing particular
knowledges in particular places.
We walked through British landscapes
in which were folded Taiwanese rice
fields, Irish farms, Australian rooftops
and Slovenian cherry trees. We were
shadowed by old friends, grown up
children and loved ones missed.
Travelling across time and over all
kinds of terrain, the practice of walking,
talking and listening revealed how
deeply we understand ourselves, our
families and communities, our history,
and our own sense of wellbeing,
through our relationships with place.
The second part of An Open Field is here
in the ether. This site is not a document
of those earlier encounters, nor is it an
attempt to hold or fix them. It is a series
of new landscapes, unfolding in the
spaces between experience, imagination,
and memory. It evokes the words,
voices and pathways of the participants,
whilst celebrating the unique and
diverse habitats that make up the UK,
and the people and other things who
An Open Field is what’s with us when
we walk and talk.
It’s an invitation, a map, a landscape.
And it’s for you.
To walk in.
An Open Field was developed and led by
Associate Artist Luke Pell
Design by Valle Walkley
Built by Kathie Wu
Walkers: Joy Ayton, Louise Blackwell,
Lucy Boyes, Susan Cairnside, Mark
Camp, Catherine Cooper, Chris Corps,
Tess Denman-Cleaver, Christine Finch,
Sheila Goff, David Harradine,
Kimberley Harvey, Carl Hawkins,
Alenka Herman, Cherie Huang, Ann
Lanceley, Peter Nichols, Lauren Potter,
Veronique Maria, Andrea Robinson,
Jo Royle, Robbie Synge, Sharon Upton,
Martine Vrieling van Tuijl, Marcia
Watson, Siri Wigdel, Carole Wooldis
and others who are not named here.
Thank you: Liz Atkin, Natalie Ayton,
Claire Cunningham, Ruairí Donovan,
Kitty Fedorec, Wendy Houstoun,
Siriol Joyner, Catherine Long,
Theatr Harlech and Dan Watson.
Fevered Sleep makes performances,
installations, films, books and digital art,
for adults and for children.
Fearless about experimentation and
passionate about research, we develop
brave, thought-provoking projects
that challenge people to rethink
their relationships with each other and
with the world.
Our work appears in very diverse
places, across the UK and beyond, from
theatres, galleries and cinemas, to parks,
beaches and schools, and in the spaces
of everyday life: in people’s homes,
on phones, online.
Whatever we make and wherever
it’s experienced, we’re driven by an
ambition to present outstanding and
For more on Fevered Sleep visit our
website at feveredsleep.co.uk, follow us
on Twitter @feveredsleep, or email
Fevered Sleep’s work is produced in
association with Fuel
Fevered Sleep is supported through
regular funding from Arts Council England.
All content © Fevered Sleep.
Fevered Sleep is a registered charity,