While out on some daily exercise yesterday I took some photographs. It’s a nice reminder that once we are gone other life will go on.
I wrote a short while ago about the area in which I live and how I would consider it countryside but there’s also the machines of human activity nearby. In that communication I mentioned motorways, supermarkets, train tunnels and an airport. So, here is a map of Eccles’s surrounding area:
And here is a map with various things highlighted. The legend is below the picture.
- Yellow: motorways
- Green: airport
- Blue: high speed train tunnel
- Pink dots: Supermarkets I visit
Below is where I grew up, the village of Hatfield Heath in Essex, and I’ve marked similar things onto that map. Perhaps that is why I like my current village. I spent nineteen years on the Heath and had a very similar environment.
I do like living in the country away from things. Well, I’m not really that far away from things; there are two motorways within five minutes, all the supermarkets you could want and I live under the flight path for a small airport, which essentially means this is an almost perfect place to live. It’s generally quiet, even though I can hear the M20 and also the Eurostar as it blasts its way through a tunnel in the North Downs, there are aircraft [at the moment] flying overhead on their way to the money centres of the world and small planes circle around doing their thing at Rochester. So, it’s not quiet but it’s my kind of noise.
My recent angst at all things human society have been calmed by the idea that even if we fuck it all up this planet of life will continue and something will stay here, alive and well. It could take a long time but maybe this planet will once again be an amazing world of life and beauty [beauty being a human property because of the way our brains work]. So, here are some photographs of this wonderful place. It might turn out that everything becomes forested again at some point. Wouldn’t that be great.
The vineyard below won’t exist but something will be there.
I’ve been thinking recently about creating a time lapse film of the view outside the back of my house. I think it would be nice. It’s a big open space and the weather and seasons changing would make it interesting. I quite like the challenge of figuring out the tech to do it. I’m going to investigate a small 1080p camera and then see if I can write some script [or steal it] to capture a still from it every hour or so. That would make a six minute video for a year’s worth of photos. Once it’s created I’ll write a communication on here and let you know.
I have some good friends. Back in the summer a good friend, AG, leant me his Mazda MX5 for a weekend. I think I picked it up on a Friday evening and then returned it late afternoon on the Sunday. I would have to say that it is a great little car, really fun to drive. Sally and I explored the countryside around Kent and also took a trip into London.
So, we bombed around Kent. I drove the car out and about and we went to Scotney Castle. It was pretty good weather while we were there, but we didn’t go into the Castle itself as we would have to pay around £14 each. We did walk around the grounds and suffered a short while with fine rain.
It was soon lunchtime and so we drove to the Three Chimneys pub near Biddenden. The Mazda looked good in the car park. Lunch was nice, I had Welsh Rarebit and Sally had a posh sausage roll.
After that we visited the Biddenden Vineyard shop to purchase some of their fine cider. I had been persuaded to try some of this by Sally. I’d never really enjoyed cider before, especially from the pub, I just didn’t like it. This real cider from a decent maker was really tasty. When leaving the car park for the vineyard I *may* have wheel spun and also handbraked a turn a little, you know, just for kicks.
From there we drove through the fine countryside of Kent towards a hairdressers shop in Parkwood, Maidstone. Sunday morning was going to be interesting and Sally wanted to make sure her hair looked awesome.
Sunday was a special-get-up-early day. We had to get ready for a photoshoot in London. For some reason, mainly my exhibitionism, we had met a photographer at a club night and she wanted to expand her portfolio and offered us a free photoshoot. This took a while and plenty of emails to arrange but organise it we did. We dressed, did make up and checked hair before driving in the Mazda to Lincoln’s Inn Fields. We had to keep the roof of the car up for most of the journey else hair would have been blown around and looked bad.
We found [free] parking and met Marisa, our photographer. We then spent about 2 hours posing in various locations around the square. Onlookers aplenty were staring and some cheeky fuckers (mostly men) even took photos of us (or mostly of Sally) as we posed in the street. The results of the official photos are stunning and we are both really happy. We will be ordering some for the walls.
As the photos were now complete we decided to tour around parts of London with the roof down. I had sunglasses on so my make up didn’t show too much and Sally wore extra clothes to keep warm. We toured around the Embankment, Trafalgar Square but we couldn’t get to Buckingham Palace as The Mall was closed.
After wandering around London we drove home and got changed. It wasn’t long until it was time to give the car back. It was great fun to have and drive around. I want to do it again, or maybe buy my own.
We plan to explore the Midlands and Cotswolds and so a Mazda would be very good for this. I’ll have to ask AG if I can borrow it again! Maybe even for a week!
I live in one of the three villages of the Medway Gap. I have only just heard of the term Medway Gap, I was preparing the previous communication and looked up Eccles on Wikipedia and there was a link to something called the Medway Gap. I think I prefer the Three Villages moniker but Medway Gap is a pretty good name too.
The Medway Gap is a part of the Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Kent. My village doesn’t quite make the cut into the AONB but I do get to look up at the Downs every day and often run through the lovely countryside.
Here’s the Kent AONB:
Here’s a link to the website of that organisation.
The Medway Gap is a little part of this map just outside the AONB but nestled between the conurbations of Maidstone and Rochester. To live here it feels as though you are deep in the countryside of Kent but in reality there are two motorways within 3 miles, a mainline railway to London, a major river and the Channel Tunnel Highspeed Railway passes under the Downs within this area.
Here’s a map of the Medway Gap.
View Medway Mosaics in a larger map
Here’s my rubbish attempt to show the route of the high speed rail link:
The title of this communication is privileged. I feel privileged to live here and see this lovely landscape every day.