By the Photographer’s Assistant
May is a wonderful month on the Moor. It is not a frenzied month. It is not a demanding month. It is a pause between seasons. On the second Saturday of the month, we restart our trips to Hittisleigh market. This is a small community which punches way above its weight. It is a meeting of good friends, who are easy with one another’s company. The kitchen dispenses cups of tea and bacon butties with the consummate ease of long experience. It is a restful and happy place. From the market you can travel out and have a picnic in the complete silence of the countryside. Our friends always pack a tea flask, so that they can just sit away from the hustle and bustle for as long as it takes to feel at complete peace. The area is deserted. It was hit hard by the foot and mouth outbreak and some fields are still completely empty and the roads are rough and unmaintained. It has become an area of no interest to the hustle and bustle of modern life. We enjoy the beautiful wilds, the flowers, the bright purple grasses. It is what is happening to rural England with increasing neglect and is not all bad. It is rather lovely, but eventually, you will need good boots or a 4X4 to get here!
It is now 7.30pm and the Photographer is keenly walking down the lane to a neighbours house, where he is looking after their ducks. For him, this is one of the best parts of the day, the quiet collecting and putting away of these lovely animals, who add to the pleasure with a gentle conversation and by giving beautiful eggs for breakfast.
The country lane leading to the little town is full of wonderful flowers. They are all sorts of delicate and beautiful colours and the early morning silence makes for a magic atmosphere. The Daughter discovers sheep on the bridge and makes some hasty phone calls on her way to work. How many town dwellers long for such a hold up. The lambs are becoming larger, but, just for now, they can still be enjoyed.
The Assistant cannot resist the call to the wild. She has been to the store and found the tent that has been dormant for two seasons. She feels the call of another home far away, which can be visited now, before the major tourist season. She wants to stand on the shore and watch the wide sea, the birds and no surfers! The Photographer joins in. He erects the tent and finds it is still water proof. It is a preparation for the silence of the sea. They will go Celtic camping with the other celts while nature is still in charge.
The little town is in a state of anticipation. Notices are being displayed. Something very big is about to happen. The Photographer will record the event, but first, he wants to record this sense this feeling.The two, who are on foot, make their way along the town roads, over the river bridge and past the most glorious of buttercup fields, which is being enjoyed by every inhabitant that has the excuse to get out there. He can’t resist that photograph, cliche or not. Further on they have reached their destination. The door is locked. Silence reigns, but not for much longer. The Swimming pool is beautiful. It is at the smartest it has ever been, but, just for now, it is unused and perfectly quiet. It is difficult to say how much this place means to this community. Every effort every sinew has been turned to the pools improvement during the winter. Long, long evenings have been spent on the project. This is one of England’s rare fresh water pools. The community has worked to gain funding, so that the pool can now enjoy a little environmentally generated heat, where it had none before. Solar panels have been used to heat the water in the modernised shower block. Friends have come to put in a day’s work. Silent efforts have been put in. The Boyfriend has spent weeks here getting it all right.
The Daughter has put all her marketing skills into getting it the publicity it needs. Andrew has painted the decking. A member of the committee spent days with bureaucracy getting the place a post code, so it could receive its funding. People have baked cakes, and spent hours of their lives until they are absolutely exhausted on this project. And next week it all comes to fruition.
THE REAL CHAGFORD COMMUNITY FRESH WATER POOL WILL HAVE AN OPENING ON SATURDAY 28thMAY AT 2.00 PM. Swimming is free on that day. It is free to children under 9 for the first week. Normal admittance will be £4 for adults and £2 for children. That is the Little Town’s summer sorted. If you can’t swim it doesn’t matter a bit. You can meet other mums with the children. You can read a book and enjoy. Refreshments are available and have a good reputation. Get in there. It’s brilliant. Non-swimmers pay £1.50. If you are on holiday, you are very welcome. Perhaps our friends from the remoter areas will come and enjoy.
So, at the moment, we have quiet contemplation. From the start of June, we’ll all have visitors, which is as it should be. When they are impatient and don’t understand lane driving, slow lives and our general way of life, we should try to remember the way life is for them with all its fast and complicated ways. We are lucky and maybe, we should give a little, just a bit to the guys who bring their families up the M5 seeking what we already have. Silence is golden!
Any similarity between characters in this blog and real people, products or events is entirely co-incidental
Any similarity between “The Little Town” and Chagford is entirely deliberate, Click on this link to find out more. Visit Chagford