Visit 1 June 3rd 2015
Even upon entering the place I instantly feel a wave of recognition. Something deep. As I follow the long steps down to the level of the water I can feel my excitement build. I can still feel a little bit of the magic.
This route I would have only taken on my way home and the end of an adventure. My body remembers that complete tiredness that comes when you realise you played for to long and you have left nothing in the tank to get you home. All your energy is left behind in the adventure.
The place is wilder now but still easily identifiable in most all of the details. Some paths have gone. There is still a sense of fear. Its not all light and lovely. Its deep and dark too. The place is all about light and dark. Thats the key to its joy. It is a place of contrasts and illusion. It feels almost fully reclaimed by nature now, you get the sense that the creatures, the birds particularly feel that this is their territory.
My memory flickers with the invisible boundaries that limited the risk of encountering those things to be feared. Older kids, teenagers, kids from enemy schools. The ultimate fear I guess was a “weirdo” or a “perv”. In truth we never really saw them but there were stories. Some real, some part real and some complete glorious fiction.
I sit at the Newt Pool. Overgrown and overcrowded the water still surges. The reeds are dense and the roots have replaced the pools. The water features, the steps the tunnels all appear natural but you don’t have to look to hard to see they are man made and industrial. Concrete and brick.
Thats another thing about this place it is for the most part created by mans industry. An old clay pit slowly remodelled and reclaimed since pre 1900. There are a few genuine relic woodland patches. I think I can feel their presence. This place is a product of industry and I am a product of this place.
I am taking photographs today. It is impossible to see how I would make paintings from them but they help me to see and select. It is dense and visually complex here the work cannot be literal I am not that painter.
I am going to have to let this place re enchant me, let it entwine with my imagination again and maybe that will be how I begin to make the work.
I finally move on and can’t help complete the journey “home” that is to my parents house. My condition and my medication means that my body mimics that burning tiredness of old. To walk the opposite way to my house would be like defying gravity . It is surely no coincidence that my childhood home and my current one sit on the start and end of the territory that I used to think of as my playground.
I thought i was returning but perhaps I never left.