Slices of our Past

At the rate at which our countryside is being eaten up by urbanisation, I almost feel compelled to document every building, every tree, and every flower I pass by because I'm not sure it will be there the next time I walk by.  The arguments justifying all this are the same as they ever were; that you cannot stop progress or – more pathetically- that what we’re doing now is nothing compared to what others have done.

The remorseless advance of urbanisation will not be stopped until all those who dream of a concrete jungle – and the riches that it holds for them – have paved over every blade of grass.

Recently a new road started being laid close to where I live; a predictable development given increasing traffic but not any less saddening.   Work, however, had to be halted because of the discovery of some underground catacombs and the bureaucratic delays that is outcome of such a discovery.  It will be a temporary reprieve, I am sure, and once the work resumes another piece of countryside will disappear for ever.  After all, you cannot stop progress.  Or so I hear.

In the meantime, however, this half-finished has temporarily opened up access to some country lanes that were previously inaccessible.

It was while curiously walking down one of these passageways that I came across this structure which immediately inflamed my immagination. Surrounded by trees and wild grass, it is easy to overlook it as some abandoned farmhouse.  But if you look closer – especially, as was the case for me, you spent your childhood reading about fanciful buildings discovered in a similar manner - you can see traces of lost nobility; with the prime piece of evidence being the coat of arms that, alas has been worn away and offers no indication as to previous ownership.

All this liberates the mind, inviting it to roam and build stories about the history of this place.  Wondering who lived here, their lives and how it came to be over-run by the wild.  It feels like a gift from the past, a fragment to enrich present lives through imagination whilst all the while pushing back the thought that soon this too will eventually fall victim to the beast that is modernity.


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