Slow painting

Thursday, 15 May 2008

My Parish Map

I love the idea of the Parish Map. As a child growing up in a small Highland village I had my own personal topography of place that had nothing to do with formal, published maps. While some of this was wholly personal, some of it was shared with the other children, as in the best trees to climb, the pools in the burn where the first tadpoles could be found each year, and the names handed down from older generations for streets and quirks of the local landscape. So it felt like coming home when in adulthood I discovered the Parish Map movement started by Common Ground.

It's been harder to have the same sense of place living in the city. For a start I haven't grown up here, so I'm having to construct my own history as I go (ironic in a city where you trip over history at every corner). But I realised the other day that the allotment is helping to foster that sense of belonging that I've missed. Our shortcut to the allotment site takes us along the side of a disused railway track. Even this small stretch of pathway, half mud, half Victorian brickwork underfoot, has its own identity which changes with the seasons. These photos were taken about 10 days ago, and the blossom will be fading now, but they capture one of the things I love about the allotment, which is the sense of going to a place apart.

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