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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,

creeping sound,

down to the beach


It was all the seals, they sang


Like ghosts

They were singing and 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

they’ve gone.


I board.

At school, sleep over,

if the tide is really high.


Pink and

grey and this

really yellow grass.


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

this tingle


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


The sheep

This long yellow grass


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.


Red. Seaweed.


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


as possible.

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,

no wind,

squalls and bright sunshine


A cormorant with a fish bigger than

its face.

A porpoise. A skipper.


Sailing boats,

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

A flock,

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


The mackerel

used to run in the river and now

they don’t


Now they are running north.

More shipping

more debris in the water


a lot

Scallops and prawns


A ‘prawn cocktail’

was a treat

They were fishing,

white fish,

haddock and cod.


These birds

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


The horizon,

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

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

wandering by.

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,



Two great,


teenage children,

taller and bigger than me


Sitting in those swings,

climbing that frame


You walk from houses to these

funny parks


Moorhen,red and regular ducks.

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,

Some oaks

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.

There are deer. There are dogs and

dog walkers.


This patch of rhododendron, the

madness of the bracken growing so

tall up through


Red berries underneath those yellow


The stillness.


A nest


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

it’s swarming.


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

the land,

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


Sharing, seedlings

and helping each other muddle through.


I’ve got so much rhubarb, just

help yourself

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.

It’s hidden

It’s huge


You don’t have anything in front of you


My daughter learnt all her walking and

running there.


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



they hide

peanuts away.


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

half naked,

picnics and stuff.


When my daughter was small

The morning,

the summer,

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


Just quiet


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

Almost, precisely

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

the nuts.


That’s where we do the jumping


In the summertime

I stand here,


A lovely breeze,

Over my skin, face, hair.


You hear children,

laughing and

playing and


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

jack-jack-jack-jack call.


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

St. Bernard.

One year,

the whole river was frozen over, his dog

walked out on to the ice and had gone in

the water.

He went in, this guy,

he was eight stone, wet-through and he

managed to get it back on to the ice and

didn’t drown.

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.



scudding across


Rhododendrons, conifers, silver birch


These old trees, fantastic shapes

against the sky.


Powerful, compelling.


These tall ones, all standing there


Snow, snow and more snow.

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,

twenty women,

all chatting


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

for miles,

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

think, ‘Right’


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

and sledges.

We used to climb up

to that one

and go

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

gets numb.


We used to run up that hill,

a huge training.

Slow and steady, and then it goes

and then it goes down.


You know,

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


The sky, with the clouds

and a bit of sun

and the trees


None of these people’s relatives are



Overgrown by moss and plants

and bushes



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.

Growing out



Out of the ground,

so you could climb up, when it was

blossoming and have cherries.


Little islands.

Sometimes just staring out of the


I walk

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

what happens


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

around me.

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

few robins.


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,

a sparrow

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

rusting orange.

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


Almost everything



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

Solitary bees


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

change colour.

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.


Slimy seaweed

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

helped fishermen

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

other side

A ruin with dark orange,

A decaying wall,


Seaweed, floating

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

And considered

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


Coming overhead,

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, wade.

They spend time in fields picking out

insects. Flat fields, fertile fields,

that have short grass.

A curlew,

My favourite sound

Each repetition goes up with pitch


A really beautiful announcement of


more, solitary


These plains have their own strong

smells, these reeds

over there,

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


These visitations

These birds


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

the coast.

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

flying kites.




Big skies


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

Like rocks

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

shifting sands

There are ships

that come into the river

that bring, semolina, pasta,

scrap metal

related things.

A wreck.

It was carrying concrete powder

A leak, so down it went.

Sometimes it seems further out.


Counting the thunder

getting closer.


They stay for ages. Some of them

are there all day and all night.

Cod, mackerel,

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

a big sheet of polythene.

We’d sit under when it was raining.


We’d have to give up sometimes and

go home. But that was half the fun.


There’s seagulls

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.


A swan,


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.

Sit and

watch and



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.

It’s alive

You can sit and watch

everything go by.


You see people doing everything,

having arguments,

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

And heather


All around

It goes on for seven or eight miles in

that direction and ten or so in that


Dead and brown Grey skies,

Bleak weather


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

isn’t purple

Often because me and my sister lived

quite far apart, we would meet here


The dogs

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

that hole.


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.


Fishermen’s cottages.


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

going Sinister


I used to have daydreams, driving there

and back.

Six, and then four or five, as my brothers

got older, in the back of the car,

imagining things


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,

like dogs.


I used to run through the heather

in shorts.

Scratchy, hard.

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,

Very deep

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,

Like glass


A flat sky

A few colours

Flat water


Little mirrors

Bits of sky, that’s fallen



gently curving


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

An animal


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.

The fields,

we would play in, up there,

have got houses built on them.


Those are the backstreets, old

fishermen’s cottages


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.


Yellow daffodils,

a few spots of rain.

The island.

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

a buzzard and deer in the woods.


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

a soul.


One day

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.


A big sheet of polythene

A picnic


Sandwiches, my mum used to bake

little fairy cakes, apple pies and things

like that.


A green between the road and

the sea


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

the shore.


Pitch black.


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

the south.



You’re beginning to get red kites moving

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.

Ancient ash.

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,

and gorse and oak, the rain and the

sound of it on my jacket, the wind

through those trees, my feet on

solid ground.


That’s a track there

I walk along.

A green lane, it’s a lane that for

generations farmers have taken

geese, sheep, cows and herded

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,

These hawthorns

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

my grandchildren.

Gulls that dive and bite for sandwiches,

Bigger than that rabbit running toward

the rocks


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


My garden


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


On one day


Tiger winged and beating


So late the blackberries are bitter.


An adder’s head

bitten off


Damson berries


A mauve haze

above the trees, salt marsh sheep

walking in a line


I stood in the waves on the beach,

in the dark,

having contractions.

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

windy day,




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

it goes



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


Blue and yellow Gorse.

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

and bees

Butterflies in the summer

and ladybirds


Squirrels, when we get round this bit it

gets really foresty

That tree has come down.

In the summer, through the very dense

leaves you

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

the sea.

A rainbow!

That line,

That dark line, of the cloud

That green, brighter and brighter,

that purple


Going. The fields, that disappeared, in

the mist


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

big bang?

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,

dunking under.

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

or empty.


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.

They’re sunbathing.


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

grown up.


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.

Grey sideways rain, grey sky, squares of

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

in two.


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,

three dogs running. A storm.


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


Two channels.

This little dot in the distance





The moon.

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.


The city sky, a sort of pink sometimes.


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

by midday.


Hauling meat and carcass

Trundling about

This was a street the taxis could

come down.


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

it down.


That was meat storage, and a couple of

doors down, there, was a club.


The sounds of the post office,

city churches


The circling of taxis and trucks, and

then, here


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

at night.


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

bare branches

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

and sit.


The blossom




Away from the hustle and bustle

Not completely absent but different,


The hours between

four and five

Twenty-eight beds


When the morning came and it began

to get light,


I’d look across the square to see the ward

sister coming.


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

you up,

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


The Eye

Blue sky

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

fashioned huts.


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.


The water

The tingle


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

fifty years.

It’s being outside in the winter

It’s being out in the air


When my head’s in the water

The blueness


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

wallpaper anymore.


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

like that


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,

the light

hitting the hill.

There’s a farm. There are some cattle.

Good for the tubes, we have plenty

of this.


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


Everything, everything

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

live there.


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.

To wander.

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.



State of Nature report

The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

Above Me The Wide Blue Sky

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

transformative art.

For more on Fevered Sleep visit our

website at, follow us

on Twitter @feveredsleep, or email


Fevered Sleep’s work is produced in

association with Fuel

Fevered Sleep Fuel Theatre

Fevered Sleep is supported through

regular funding from Arts Council England.


All content © Fevered Sleep.

Fevered Sleep is a registered charity,

number 1069144.