Sarah Coles


May 2022.

A lift to Cheesefoot Head. The distant blue chimneys are Fawley Oil Refinery on Southampton Water (?). Wheat, here not tall yet. Path strewn with massive flints. Apron of open downland spreads out for miles. Sporadic sun lights the ground with fleeting, angels.

Path becomes hedged. Jack-by-the-Hedge, also known as Garlic Mustard for its smell when rubbed (must try). Blue ground ivy. Blue self heal. Mostly coarser than the flowers of spring. Sapphires of speedwell.

White butterflies, and cow parsley which I imagine wafts a gentle scent and then I see through a gap beyond huge fields of flowering broad beans, tall white and pink, lovely enough to grow in any garden.

I head south west, downwards, to the road dip then over and up, through a green cornfield. Walking through tall corn I always feel like an Israelite escaping through the Red Sea to the Promised Land. Owlsebury is pretty and plastered with placards for the Tory candidate in today’s council elections. Also with blue and yellow ribbons and flags supporting Ukraine. Owlsebury church is flint, and in Hampshire there are no beautiful knapping patterns as in East Anglia, here the flints are slightly knapped and then bunged together, giving the usual porridge effect. Limestone turns for the corners. Inside, typical garish Victorian east window, but two intriguing gentler ones of women – unmentioned by Pevsner.

To the The Ship (did they impress sailors here? There are so many Ship Inns far from the sea) – it’s plain and very Hampshire, with dark Windsor type chairs and an old tiled floor. A young landlord gives me a pint of Adnams cider and an open crab sandwich. Model ships, carefully crafted, an eyeglass, a brass coal scuttle impressed with a ship.

Then, this is exciting (I mean a first for me), down the lane, through a gate labelled with warning notices, and across a garden encroaching the bridle path, to open fields of wheat and rape sloping down to what looks like endless forest but is the confines of Marwell zoo. Beyond, those chimneys and storage tanks clearer now, and the outline of the spine of the Isle of Wight. A feel of space, pure space, enters the lungs! Into the confines of woods, directed by my app through paths which would otherwise send me miles off track, to Fishers Pond, a long thin lake which looks stocked and barb-wired, with plastic islands and demarcations for coarse fishing. On, behind dark expensive modern houses overlooking the water until I reach Fishers Pond pub, tall, boarded and rebuilt after a fire. Bus stop, and bus to Winchester, then the 64 home.

Comments are closed.

Copyright Sarah Coles 2018
Privacy Policy
Website Design & Creation Forum Media and Design - Alresford