Exploring this excavated landscape has for me been an exploration of the re-colonisation of this once industrial and now strangely lawless place. The exposed geology, and scattered remnants of man’s presence, in what is now a theatre for new activities and a sheltered refuge for emergent creatures and plants. The bones at the bottom of the cliff faces evidence of the sharp invasion of the wooded land, the sudden-ness of the missing earth. The tracks in the mud, the rusting artefacts, the plants reclaiming the beds of gravel and the echoing calls of the nesting crows and kestrels in this sunken lost world. I wander as a traveller looking for evidence of these stories, taking the emotional and biological temperature of this enclosed otherworld. Using the conventions of exploration and collection I mount miniature expeditions, over night camps and order and frame my finds with aesthetic taxonomy in an attempt to capture something of this place of echoes, both literal and metaphorical.
Wednesday, 9 September 2015
A terrific day at Ashcott Village Harvest Fair manning the 'What's in an owl pellet - free stall' the children, and a surprising number of parents, really enjoy it once they learn it's owl pellets not owl poo. Many of the children enjoy the rubber gloves, hand jell and tweezers as much as the pellets, CSI Ashcott, but they all get amazingly good at identifying the bones. 'Is that a vole tibia, no no thats a mouse pelvis'. Great to see the young naturalists coming back to collect there beautifully arranged boards of glued bones later in the afternoon.
As I stood in the sunshine looking at the skies it is now also clear that we have lost the swallows for another year. The swifts left a month ago and now only the house martins remain, cutting their playful paths through the autumn insects and the less crowded and quieter airspace.