The history of development are laid out before me as I walk darkened streets, passing through the historical town centers with their surviving georgian and victorian buildings, through the industrial areas and the surrounding housing estates and out into the countryside where I feel most comfortable.
Here the traditional buildings possess quirks and features that tie them to the surroundings. The best of them show craftsmanship that is borne of the natural materials and skills of the area. The grain of the wood with its imperfections and pegs, the lime render and the roof tiles and stones from local quarries. To walk back into the built up areas it becomes obvious where commercialism and the power of oil takes hold. Mass produced bricks, tiles and windows with timbers brought from afar. Pressed and shaped into standard sizes and units, all so easy to assess and work.
Little wonder that those who dwell in such an area have lost a connection to locality and its resources. Mass production and transport seems to call from every corner. Even through the ornaments and pictures that decorate the walls and expensive cars in the driveways. Once we are beyond the influence of oil it makes me wonder if future generations will look upon these places with the same regard we have for aging properties and areas now. It seems that the connection to some areas is gained through the sports teams and apparent affluence rather than the ecology, the landscape and the longer history. Those that do retain an integrity have done so because of aspects of the picturesque and have evolved into places where the wealthy are best placed to buy acquire a property.
I will return to my modest hovel and try to use what I can to give comfort and enrichment to life. Perhaps with time and practice I will carve something that may inspire others to look beyond apparent wealth.