Monday, March 24, 2014

A Distant Parting Shot

I've already declared today a victory, and I'm dreaming of my bed. But, before I slip away to the awesomeness of duvet and eight hours uninterrupted, I'll leave you with these.

Just north of my hometown lies the quaint rural village of Lilley. They have horses. This is dedicated to my dear friend Jayne Martin with great affection.

A different view of the hills at Lilley, from much closer. I toned down the sky to bring out the warmth of the earth on a beautiful Spring day. Too arty? Nah. S'just a photo.  

I spotted this from the car and had to double back. I do this a lot, usually because there's a truck bearing down on me while I'm dawdling looking at the scenery. I'm glad I went back. Especially as I managed to get the clouds acting as the foliage.

Okay, a bit of an off one. A hold in the road left by the removal of a "cat's eye" reflector. And yes, it's full of water. I don't know why I snapped it, other than it looked interesting.

Just south of my hometown is the village of Barton-le-Clay. Not long after they ploughed the fields, I finally managed to capture a view I'd long had my eye on.

I don't know. Geese maybe? Maybe they're enjoying the nice contrast of the water and the reeds?

I didn't trust these lads. They whispered among themselves whenever I checked the camera, and I swear that big one in the middle was on the right a few moments earlier.

Okay, this is definitely arty. But I like it.

The camera went off when I put it down. Well, that's what I'm telling Alistair, who really likes this one. It looks like a path, but is actually a six-inch-wide concrete kerb on an industrial estate. Yes, I wander.

And finally, more cloudsome fluffiness near Lilley. I liked the curve of the road and the nice balance of colours. There's hope for me yet.

Thanks for tuning in. There will be more words soon, I promise.


This blog entry is protected by copyright © Indigo Roth, 2009-2014
All photos are copyright © Indigo Roth, 2009-2014

Sunday, March 16, 2014

More Breaking Than Entering

I love exploring.

The black square of the open attic hatchway gazes down on me. It sighs cold air my way, frustrated to be awoken this early on a Sunday. The chilly breath finds its way down inside my shirt as I stand at the foot of the metal ladder.

I wonder what's up there?

Five minutes ago, I listen to the complaints of ageing glosswork as I apply leverage to the painted-shut hatch. The heavy screwdriver–discovered in a kitchen drawer, but too wide for any fixture I've come across–seems well-suited to the task. I twist its heavy handle, and the wooden frame flexes and begins to splinter; it looks like I’ll need to work my round the square, else I'll be doing more breaking than entering.

I wiggle the tool free, choose a new spot, and thump it into the sealed crack.

Back in the now, my shoulders covered with a dandruff of paint shards, I poke my head up into the attic. I can now hear the wind outside through the tiles, but no light makes it past them. And again, the cold strikes me, tho I detect no damp or moisture in the smell of the place. As I look about, unable to see anything beyond the few inches illuminated from below, I pick out the familiar odour of old newspapers.

So far, no surprises. Emboldened, I thump up a few more steps and stand, my hands tracing a circle around me as I search for an upright. I curse as my wrist finds one, and proceed to fumble up and down the treacherous sawn edges of the wood for a light switch.

My shredded fingertips find a control, and I flick it hopefully.

A conical lampshade lights up above an antique table in the centre of the attic. The light from the bulb is surprisingly clean and constant, and picks out tall piles of yellowing newspapers on all sides before being swallowed by the darkness. I can't see the corners of the room, but I know they're equally full of old newsprint.

Something sits at the centre of the table, but I can't make it out from over here. Intrigued, I step up and tread the old bare boards for the first time; they move beneath me, but are quiet. The newspapers slumber on as I amble over to the table, emerging into the circle of light. I expect the small, square table to be dusty. It's not; the dark lacquered wood could have been cleaned this morning.

In the middle of the immaculate table is a small box covered in lace. The decoration is delicate and intricate, a complex asymmetrical pattern that must have been tricky to weave.

None of this makes any sense.

As I pick up the shallow box–my hands bright in the overhead lamp's beam–the outside feels sticky to the touch. Dry, but sticky. I draw it closer, and see the faint seam of a lid, and feel hinges on its back edge. I flip the lid up. It's reluctant, and to my surprise the lace shell stretches across the opening.

I frown. It's not lace.

It's covered in cobwebs.

Instinctively, I drop the box, and the cobweb disintegrates as it hits the table. Something small and metal drops onto the lacquered surface, bouncing once.

I glance about, unnerved. The dark attic gazes back, indifferent.

The light flickers momentarily as I reach for the shiny object, and I snatch my hand back. I laugh quietly, chiding myself, tho my heart continues to pound.


I reach and pick the whistle from the table. It's slim and perhaps three inches long. I turn it over in my hand, seeking markings; there's nothing there, and no corrosion or blemish. And there's no room for a pea in it, like there would be in a sports whistle.

Is this a dog whistle?

I raise it to my lips and give it a blow.

It's silent.

I blow it again, harder this time.

And from the corners of the room, there is movement. Scratching replies, a faint tearing of thin newsprint, as many coordinated legs stretch and find purchase.

An arachnid scrabbling of creatures awakening, responding to my call.

No, not a dog whistle.

I love exploring.

But sometimes you have to leave places alone.


This blog entry is protected by copyright © Indigo Roth, 2009-2014

Monday, March 03, 2014

The Road Slacks Ever Onwards

Having survived the intricacies of our shortest month, I now have a list of story ideas up on my wall. 

I haven't written anything, but one cannot rush such things. 

So, to cover my proverbial, here's some pictures.

Spring shoots lead to a distant church in the Village of Old Warden, Bedfordshire. Aren't those typically moody Sunday skies?

The church itself, at the top of the hill. Saint Leonards! Edmund would be glad to see it!

I don't know what to make of this, other than it caught my eye as I went past. Stand to attention when an officer is addressing you!

A distant stately home, next to what was - just a few days ago - a wide and unplanned river.

Some kind of tall grass by a river in spate. Looks like The Wizard Of Oz's Kansas, somehow.

The British countryside is littered with Public Footpaths. They have to signpost them, so ramblers don't wander off track and get shot for trespassing. True story. 

A leaf? No. A fossil? No. An old, crazed earthenware pot. I'm told the correct name for this pattern is "craquelure"; that was a new one on me. Groovy.

An arrangement of dried flowers made by my mother.

I believe this is what old-timers call "a field". Alistair will agree, I'm sure.

A family of teazles wait for the rain to arrive from the horizon.

A good-old-fashioned rural postbox. It looks quite chipper under those clouds.

A church in Letchworth, Hertfordshire. Very pointy. Those clouds followed me all day.

Thanks for making time to check these out. 


This blog entry is protected by copyright © Indigo Roth, 2009-2014
All photos are © Indigo Roth, 2014