Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Industrial Archaeology 2

Following on from yesterday's notes, I spent some time thinking about the actual places in the landscape that had interested me. Often they would be overgrown quarries, tumbled down watermills beside streams, tree covered disused railway lines and other places that would be hidden in the countryside. Here, the relics of our industrial past would lie in ruins with nature taking over and reclaiming such places with new habitats. In farmland it is often places like old quarries that remain uncultivated as a small clump of trees in the middle of a cornfield. Industrial buildings that have fallen into disuse and uneconomical to demolish or renovate become hidden gems deep in woods or beside rivers. It is almost as if there is a message in the fact that natural places that were once at the mercy of industrial activity have been returned to their natural way of being. The force of nature's recolonisation is so strong and seems to be the ultimate intention behind the evolution of the earth.

Although we tend to think of conserving the wildest parts of the countryside as the richest natural habitats, I wonder how many of our truly vibrant ecological sites were once places where human activity radically disturbed the landscape? I would imagine it would be quite a significant proportion. It is almost as if nature thrives more in places where is takes over from mankind's efforts to dominate it.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Industrial Archaeology

Throughout my life I have always been aware of the changes that have been imposed upon the landscape in this country since the industrial revolution. I have always had a a curious side to me that has sought to hunt out disused railway lines and roads, old quarries and mines, lime kilns, derelict watermills, old farms, barns and much more. I have also always been interested in vintage machinery which always looked fascinating without all the safety guards that now cover up all the cogs, wheels and drive belts. Perhaps I should have been an industrial archaeologist - I'd never though about that before now.

It may just be a sense of nostalgia but recently I have been acutely aware of just how much of our countryside changed as industry has developed and altered the course of our urban and rural history. Over the past half a year or so there have been significant changes to our mining and manufacturing industries with the closure of the last deep coal mine and several steel works closing or facing closure. There has been a huge shift over years away from the hard manufacturing that changed much of our countryside with the advent of railways, canals, coal mining and agricultural improvements. For the environment and the quality of our air it may well be good news, but I feel a loss of many things that built up close communities and the sense of what made this country and countryside what it is today.

Modern industry seems so uncreative when compared to that of Victorian times. On my drive to work I pass huge box like warehouses and acres of land awaiting a perfectly flat floor of concrete. We just do things so differently now and I wonder how industrial archaeologists will view us in a hundred years time? What can be deduced from a flat bed of concrete? It just isn't as interesting.

Of course we have to move on as a developed country. What I feel I am missing is the fact that so many jobs nowadays seem far removed from being outdoors and, like mine, are just office based and require hours stuck in front of a computer screen. I know I could change things but somehow my journey as yet has't taken me that way. 

Thursday, 21 April 2016


One of our few remaining onions from last year's harvest. New sets were planted last weekend.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Where to go?

I was chatting to my wife the other evening about the thought of perhaps giving up this blog. I enjoy posting things to it every now and then but in many ways I feel as though I might just be talking to a brick wall. She replied with the comment "Are you doing it for yourself or for other people?". Initially I did it just for myself and now, as the years have passed and social media has grown to dominate much of the way society works, I feel it hasn't really moved into that way of interaction with others. This is probably my fault for not promoting it amongst those to whom it may be of significant interest. I don't feel that I have people around me for whom it has a deeper connection, but then I am not really into building relationships with people over the internet.

My decision is to continue with it because I am doing it for myself. It is about my journey though art and spirituality. These two things don't quite merge neatly and thus the blog does have two rather distinct stands of though that switch between each other from time to time. I will aim to be more proactive in posting on both these things. That is what interests me and I need to have a place to explore a few of the things I think about.

I wonder what will happen?

Thursday, 14 April 2016


Came across this interesting quote today: 'The way to find your message is to paint the things you're afraid others won't like or understand'. (