online: 26 july 2012
modified: 24 july 1 august 2012

23 july 2012 circling a forest and other marvels

Sandy Heath

...about to encircle a forest that some decades ago consisted of sand diggings but has since become a forest of spontaneously-growing oaks birches sycamores holly and i suppose several other species... and in the sandy ground there is not much undergrowth... in places it reminds me of a movie The Petrified Forest starring Bette Davis, Leslie Howard... and Humphrey Bogart in his first film... in World War 2 people came here to fill sandbags in order to make bomb shelters... i sat waiting for something to happen four men in t-shirts appeared... and warned me in a friendly way to keep still as they were playing frisbee golf (an American game barely known in Britain)... they play against each other while throwing frisbees very fast and accurately between the trees towards hidden 'holes' (or baskets) set i suppose in known positions...

...they told me they'd been playing frisbee golf here for decades... and immediately i thought that this is a way of making golf less ecologically destructive *

*i was remembering John Wood's description of golf courses as 'vast areas of manicured turf'... and that some courses are exempt from laws against watering during droughts (John Wood, Design for Micro-Utopias, Gower Publishing, Aldershot 2007, page 30.)

in "Mr Pitt's garden"
...there is a brick arch with stub walls called Pitt House Gateway 1776-1767 commemorating the brief residence here of William Pitt (a notable prime minister who favoured independence of the American colonies and after whom is named Pittsburgh and a dozen or so towns or cities in the USA and elsewhere)

...there is plaque dated 1988 and an expanding beech trunk that is pushing one of the stub walls over (and there are steel struts preventing it from tilting any further)....

...whatever next?

....paths close to the forest edge lead me to a bus stop seat which is a metre inside the forest... across the road is Inverforth House a mansion built by William Lever 'soap-maker and philanthropist' (to whose funeral came 30,000 people)... and outside the gates three young women are walking slowly by without speaking... while inside the gates is a van labelled dog squad...

...walking quickly now to get to a toilet i could not stop to describe the many paths close to the forest edge (where i'd never walked before)... i felt as if in a forest unknown... and (in my hurry) more athletic than usual... i completed circling the forest i felt welcomed by the sight of a new moon over London... in a pale blue sky... between trees...

fine art in a toilet:
when i at last reached a toilet (in a supermarket) i was pleased to see inside it a print by the pop artist Peter Blake of a boy and a girl reading comics... while in the waiting area outside the toilet is a print by J M W Turner titled Snow Storm: Steamship off a Harbour's Mouth 1842

...these human things divine... type the fingers...


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