A really relaxing early morning in my lovely quiet space in the barn getting my blog up to date followed by a tour of the woodland at Keveral by Oak. It looks as though it has always been there but Oak tells me he planted it 16 years ago, reclaiming the west facing valley side from brambles. Below there is a patch of old woodland which has the magical mystical feel these places always have. In the woodland the graves of two community members who died here and were allowed to be buried on the land they loved. Through the woods new tracks that look as though they have always been there, put in by Oak this summer so that the woodland can be managed better.
As I leave the beautiful Keveral a view of the sea, and of the other side of the valley. It is an impressive place this, with its polytunnels full of micro salads grown for a gourmet market, its yurts and bell tents where tourists can share the idyll, and its sea view plateau that will soon sport a picnic area, not to mention the numerous vegetable patches.
I walk in to Seaton and then after a brief pause to look out to sea, a little grey and foreboding today, a steep walk up the other side of the valley and pleasant country lanes all to myself for miles…till I reach Landrake, which shows evidence of having been a lovely old village once over with its 16th century old smithy and attractive St Michael church tower but the pub is closed and the sign advertises burgers and chips for £1.50, and the Post office and general store sells cheap brands of food in tins and frozen chips and it becomes obvious the people here must have fallen on hard times since the A38 was built to by pass them. There is nothing edible to me for lunch and I come away with a packet of salt and pepper crisps and take them to the church to eat whilst I refold my map to show the next piece of route.
In the church I discover that the crisps make the edges of my mouth sore and the roof of my mouth sting and I look at the ingredients thinking I have bought vinegar flavour by mistake but no, it is simply a bag of chemicals I have bought which are heavily disguising the real potatoes, and there are hardly any other real ingredients at all. The list, produced by Union Biscuits under the guise of Phineas Fogg crisps,reads :
Potatoes, sunflower oil, sea salt & Indonesian black peppercorn flavour: potato maltodrexin, potato starch, sugar, yeast extract, sea salt, Indonesian black pepper, natural flavouring (whatever that might mean), citric acid, Indonesian black pepper oil, & salt (again!)
And I think about the children of Landrake and the stuff masquarading as food that is being sold in their village as if normal; these crisps were the most natural food I could find!
Things go from bad to worse.
Not only has the A38 ruined this village, but the tiny
I hear later that the footbridge I crossed over at Landrake was erected after a young girl was killed crossing the road. Notter is not so “lucky”, they have been sliced into three bits and have no way of crossing the road without risking being killed.
I wait for 30 minutes to be able to find a gap in the traffic that enables me to cross the A38, all the while cursing the inventors of motor vehicles, of those that think speed is necessary to a civilised way of life and having to hold onto my hat as huge lorries fly by leaving behind them trails of unnatural wind. The noise can only be likened to being inside a noisy factory, and I think, who does all this machinery and speed serve, for it certainly is not us. Once on a road like A38 you lose any sense of autonomy, pedestrians are flicked aside as pesky annoyances, a fly on the windscreen, and drivers are caught up as if in a conveyor belt, unable to slow down for fear of causing an accident. Next time you drive along a fast road just take a moment to think about how much freedom you are experiencing when you are having to keep up with the other cars on the conveyor belt and how much choice you would have to stop or slow down to avoid a young child who tried to cross the road.
There is only one way to stop these tarmac monsters from ruling our lives, and it is to stop using them in this way, to take to bicycles, to remember why it is we each have two legs, and to stop believing the story that getting somewhere quickly will improve our quality of life.
As I wait to cross the road, rendered impotent with a choice of death or wait, I feel rage welling up inside me, and imagine melted roads, and buckled cars and bent fenders, and I imagine the people getting out of their cars and walking home with their bags on their backs, walking together and talking to one another and I feel better. I cannot wait for roads like the A38 to become obsolete.
After I have finally crossed I am able to head for Tremarton, which is gorgeous, and then find my way to Louise and 5 year old Rian’s house where I will stay whilst I am in Saltash. We eat home grown potatoes from Rian’s father, Andy’s small holding, salad, and his delicious homemade bread, followed by strawberries and Cornish ice cream.
I answer my e mails and see that my chapter proposal for the “Tales to Sustain” publication for environmental educators working with story has been accepted. The day’s challenges melt away in hot bath with lavender and I relax in to my new surroundings.