access all areas

It’s very Garner. Sunken lane with holly trees. Witch’s pool, steep-sided and dry. A cliff made, on closer inspection, of something friable between mud and stone. It all drops away steeply into the valley. But before that a dozen footpaths and neat, well-serviced boardwalks open up, all signposted by competing outdoor quangos, agencies, trusts, conservation bodies, nature reserves and local councils. They flex their muscles between the trees, run precipitously into one another, stumble into brand new stiles, topple into overgrown quarries and out again the other side, indicate in a quiet panic in all directions. They are saying, This way! and, This way! They are offering access. They are offering so much access. It’s confusing. The OS records two rights of way, the more significant of which, though it remains on the map, vanishes from the ground just as you have become used to it. To make things worse, half a mile into the wood we meet a woman in a Boden summer dress and high heels, walking away from an isolated house in the upper rooms of which a dog can be heard barking. I check to see if she is wearing gloves, because the rest of the outfit looks suspiciously 1950s.

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Filed under ghosts, the postmodernised landscape

6 responses to “access all areas

  1. Then the signal dropped.

  2. nigel foster

    Sounds like Somerset. If so, never look the locals in the eye. They’ll take it as a challenge or worse as an invitation.

  3. 77

    Two brief questions not related to the current post; I hope you don’t mind.

    Firstly, I’ll be in London on 7 November and would very much like to come to your reading at the Horse Hospital. Will the general public be able to attend, or is it by invitation only?

    Secondly, I’m not sure if the list of books for sale has gone out yet. I’m by no means in a hurry to receive it, but if it has been released, I might have missed it.

  4. uzwi

    hi 77:

    (1) I’m not sure, but you can find out here:

    (2) The book list hasn’t gone out yet. I’m still reorganising after my housemove; but a list is in existence, at least; the sheep have been separated from the goats; & as soon as I’ve sorted things a bit further I’ll be in touch with everyone who’s left an email address for me.

  5. 77

    Many thanks.

  6. danobedlam

    Hi there! One of those Long-time-fans-first-time-posters here! I just heard the excellent Coode Street podcast Mike did a little while ago. Wonderful stuff, what an engrossing chat! Anyhow, it was mentioned about some Argentines putting together a compilation of your stuff. I live in Buenos Aires and would love to meet up with some fellow MJH (and i suspect) far-out fiction fans. If you’re out there, can you get in contact? Or even, can anyone put me in contact if it’s in their power. Many thanks!