The English countryside was once a refuge for writers and artists of slender means. The life was peaceful, the air was fresh, and the rents were cheap. But like exotic plants transplanted to alien soil, they brought their own peculiarities to their new habitat. And they could arouse suspicion and sometimes loathing in the natives.
Abandoned shopping trolleys are everywhere once you start looking out for them, littering the streets like grimy analogues of the sun-bleached skeletons of imaginary deserts. What do they signify, these forsaken machines of the retail hunter-gatherers?
Kent In the midst of life we are in death. (Book of Common Prayer)
The herring gulls came to the towns and cities because it was easier to find food there. The seas were emptying but the land was ever more bountiful.
I am a much-moved man. Last month I moved home for the twenty-first time. It has become, if not a habit, then a recurring behaviour.
Last summer I walked in a field near Avebury where two rough monoliths stand up, sixteen feet high, miraculously patterned with black and orange lichen, remnants of the avenue of stones which led to the great circle. A mile away, a green pyramid casts a gigantic shadow. In the hedge, at hand, the white trumpet of a convolvulus turns from its spiral stem, following the sun. In my art I would solve such an equation. (Paul Nash in Unit One – Herbert Read (ed.))