Arran Drive – Jarrow to Tilbury

February 17, 2009

India and Pakistan – evil weapons sentries against each other – temperatures are like at boiling point, like. Ordering a curry the Bede Trading estate. Coriander not registering as a word. Dal neither. Had they been attracted to South Shields the way Norwegians and Scots to Canada and the Spanish to Mexico? A potato, which had achieved synchronous orbit deflects the warhead from Hyderabad on to a rice field. I wonder now if the Patak pickle factory in Lancashire is safe from missile attack. Up in Newcastle it is February 29th the North blanketed in snow turning my clothes line in to a fluffy white tube, but this estate will never look picturesque until the Great Northern Forest grows and no ‘human sets foot in it. On a slanted slip road in Recendyke, Tyne Dock a lorry driver is admiring some magazine in a lay-bye. The plot is simple – fragmented development innit? Durham is coated in a white dust like asbestos. Today snow unifies the region, optically, like. At Durham railway station heading for Darlington, Sunderland fans get in to Coach D heading for Charlton, unaware that a big sign saying “No chimps in Coach D please”. An auld Blake rustles disarmingly his de rigueur Morison’s bag. These are library conditions – you can’t stop people talking. A single moment where a twilight storm animates the curtain and snow drifts in Arran Drive. Selfish urges will rebuild Liverpool with special culture wardens to calm traffic. In Poundbury hippies stroke their cars and use incense to calm traffic. Liverpool built in the ten years from 1830 needed rebuilding now. Like Newcastle Gateshead competing for the European City of Culture. Two brothers from the pit, get up and sing and we hoi them money. Magnesium from 20,000 feet under Saltburn. Snobby Foster’s Sage building on Gateshead Quaysides a “Weeyad shipe”, like. “Kanna hava piisoff kike?” “Godiva little latté tavja?”. Larty Fenwick would have talked something like that in Costa Coffee. Out on Steel Rigg I remember valley is thallium. Vandalia, Pangea and Gondwanaland. How did they know what these places were called? The English seaside town – I kept gong there because this is my life – now! I knew as I visited Skegness my life was an act of passing. Transitory and Ephemeral. You can just see priest warriors, maybe single, heading up The Umbra river from Tyne or Rouen. “That’s Scunthorpe – lets go further up stream”. Eventually in worsted cassocks they founded Fountains Abbey. The once beautiful Umbra is now Payne’s Grey. In creeks water creeps. On the train through to Cleethorpes through Scunthorpe I got a brief glimpse of the vast Humber Bridge, which was momentarily the size of two matchsticks. Passing over the Trent and shrinking peat fields whose area covered soggy flanks to the Ouse. The government had rescued them in the Guardian. Sand drifting over the new sea defence cycle paths of the Lincolnshire coast. A Lincoln man at the Battersea architect had told me of new paths, old concrete wrapped around The Wash, which he described as falsely as it turned out, Areas of Outstanding Natural Ugliness. In 1953, from Mapplethorpe then unguarded by the present high sea wall, a young policeman in a increasingly wild and raging twilight, phones to the south warning of an unusual high tide heading south. In a Trumpton sort of way this was how the message was passed on, odd since the water was to circumnavigate Norfolk and Suffolk, an Anglia of Marconi and radar. Real tragedy hit Canvey Island that night when newly settled immigrants from Holland carried their baby up and up in to the cold rafters only for water to fill the pram and take the child further on up to heaven. Mapplethorpe, easily England’s most unexplainable town. Ian Huntley crossed Lincolnshire to rendezvous with Maxine Carr. How geographic to meet half way in Uttoxeter. Then they crossed the vast county of vegetables to Soham just in Cambridgeshire. On the way a loud speaker shouted at me as I listened to aircraft 15 miles offshore bombing an orange target ship. At Skegness large outsized banana slides and big wheels loom a giant two inches just as they had at the Humber Estuary. The plastic prison of Butlins with a fairground silver Wuppertal hanging train. Vast underrated Lincolnshire. Then Essex. Maplin – An airport was planned here but Concorde did not have the fuel range for NY JFK. The final station on a long journey from Liverpool Street, Clacton-on-Sea where houses are crosses between lean-to’s and rabbit hutches line the modest sea wall to the south and this is clearly Gypsy country. The dykes worn out, old. Beyond Battlebridge at the head of the creek a vertical black grain store with a hoist and stranded boats petrified in the mud as if they didn’t make it. This inlet is 20 miles to Burnham-on-Crouch with the Essex boatyard beyond and the atomic power station beyond further long unwinding but going nowhere defences. Unless you have a boat that is – a boat to the resurrection. There are disused ferry landings, north and south. The rail floats across the marsh to Basildon, a new town dumping ground for the under-under class, back to Barking mad. There is no shortage of Saxon churches on hummocks but on exit it is very easy to go in to the marsh maze and never re-merge. At Coalhouse Fort is a feeling of murder. The land drains drain like eastings and northings. The East Tilbury marshes are empty. At Rainham Marshes concrete scuppered ships lie motionless for sixty years. Was winning a war worth if we were reduced to making concrete ships?


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