The train was almost empty on the way to Adisham. But despite, or perhaps because of this, the announcements never stopped. ‘This is a Southeastern service to London Victoria. We will be calling at Kearnsey, Shepherdswell…Snowdown, Aylesham, Adisham’….and on and on. ‘The next station will be Shepherdswell. We have now arrived at Shepherdswell’. ‘For your comfort and security, CCTV recording is operating on this train’. ‘Please keep your belongings with you at all times and if you see anything suspicious contact a member of staff or the British Transport Police’. I don’t think there were more than three or four minutes on that journey when there was not an announcement or three.
The world wide web contains dozens and dozens of weather forecasts for the small area I want to walk around today. But there really is a phenomena of ‘too-much-information’. Weather forecasting is still an inexact ‘science’ and with climate change (as global warming has now been re-branded), it is likely to become less exact. Sometimes the best thing to do is to stick one’s head out of the front door, check the sky, feel the air and decide from there. I reckon it’s going to be mild and warm with a bit of wind. Other factors have also come into play. I want to travel light so will take a chance if there is a light rain shower and I want to feel the wind and the coolness of the breeze on the downs.
Sometimes it doesn’t really matter where you start. And it doesn’t need to be a long hike. There can be as much to enjoy and savour by going slow, taking your time on a warm Sunday afternoon. The first snowdrops and daffodils can be seen and the sky has that sense of the spring coming. Continue reading
Arriving at Vienna Hauptbahnhof on a train which has traveled through the snow covered Alps from Innsbruck, is to arrive. One immediately acquires a sense of the city, the late nineteenth century buildings with their baroque ornamentation, the bits of new build, the glimpses of the Wohnung Gemiende – the community housing – of the 1920s and early 1930s. It is a city which has poured forth a stream of ideas and people; of Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, Arthur Schnitzler, Otto Bauer, Otto Wagner, Emmy ….,
I returned to Sandling, having read more about the Junction, the plans for the Channel Tunnel of years ago, the building and the closure of the railway. It is a good starting point for a walk. Leave the station with all its tedious traits of the twenty first century, ticket machines and endless announcements, corporate branding and expensive fares. There are deep undercurrents of class conflicts all across the railways, between the workers and the managers, between the passengers and the companies, between those who build the rolling stock and maintain the track and those who make decisions about rates of pay and working conditions. But none of this must surface, none of this murmuring can be allowed to be heard.
The gap between the buildings has never been seen before. It seemed so much of another age, and something grim and dark was suggested in this narrow space. It was not just the lack of light, but the claustrophobia of the space, just wide enough to enter, but it would be crushing to the body and the soul. It was only through later research that it was discovered that this was once the site of the George Inn, and it was there that so many of the enclosures in the area of the Brecklands were decided in the nineteenth century.
There are some fine medieval churches in the Brecklands and two were visited today, St George at Saham Toney and All Saints at Threxton. It’s a pleasant walk between the two and the bells of St George can be heard all the way. The traveling library does not include the relevant Pevsner so the detail of the churches will have to wait for further research.
That is a lovely south facing porch, but I do not like the finger wagging discipline of that clock. The earlier rhythms of life replaced by the industrialisation of life (see EP Thompson).