Sunday, 8 July 2007


This might not look like much, but it represents one of my earliest and most vivid memories.

I remember walking with my parents and my brother one evening. It was a gorgeous, sunny evening, like the ones we were fortunate enough to have this weekend. Although not in a particularly scenic part of Derbyshire, a couple of minutes on foot would lead us to a little network of paths and fields. Some were almost tunnel-like, covered overhead as they were by trees - then a change in direction would lead to an opening, to an expanse, relatively speaking.

I was knee-height to my mum and dad. I've a strong image in my mind of them being tall and me being dwarfed by them - my arm aloft to hold one of their hands, and a sense of walking alongside their legs. As we walked, it felt like an adventure - journeying to somewhere unknown and secret. Charting new territory. After reaching the end of one lane which was quite dark - sheltered from the sun by overhanging trees - we reached a gate which led onto a path, fenced at either side.

Out from the cover of the trees, the sun bathed everything in a warm evening glow. The structure of the fence was thrown into silhouette, the space between the wooden posts and bars acting as a picture frame through to the fields behind. This moment is precisely what's remained in my memory so vividly, has stayed with me ever since. The sense of nearness (the fence) simultaneously contrasting with, defining and acting as a barrier to a sense of distance (the fields), all illuminated by the gorgeous, gradually fading sunlight. All around was peaceful and gentle, this was a timeless moment, but that unattainable distance sparked off some kind of curiosity in me. At that age - three? - obviously I couldn't exactly think in a sophisticated way about what it meant or represented, but I was full of imaginings of what was over there.

Whenever I'm back in Derbyshire at this time of year, I always make sure I go out and revisit the spot where this moment happened. Not for nostalgia, at least not primarily. The main reason is that whatever it is that struck a chord with me, is still there. I go out there and think, and imagine. Of late, I've been bemoaning my lack of creativity. Out there I find ideas easier to come by. When I'm there, ideas don't present themselves: rather, they well up, like grief.

I took the pictures on Saturday evening. They're very pixellated at this size, but far better if you click for the full image.


lavenderblue said...

Oh,Happy memories to you,trousers.

anticant said...

One of my earliest memories, at about the same age, is being taken for walks beside the millpond of a derelict cotton mill near our south Manchester home [it was during the 1930s slump].

I can still conjure up the eerie atmosphere of silence and abandoned desolation at what had until recently been a thriving, busy workplace.

Pixie said...

Lovely words and lovely pictures.

Memories are so evocative and elusive, so great that you can still go there and find something that holds meaning in that spot.

trousers said...

Thanks lavender!

I appreciate you sharing that memory anticant - concise but very evocative.

Pixie, its not just great that I can still go there and find meaning - somehow, it feels essential.

Thanks for all your comments above, greatly appreciated.

lavenderblue said... have made me feel so very very lonely......and i will cry
so so very will be heartfelt memories and for that, I thank you xx

anticant said...

We are nothing without our memories, and as we get older they become more and more important as they are so often much more interesting than the present.

Ario said...

Cheers mate for a wondeful reflection. You got me all pensive this dire Monday morning.

One of my regrets is that I cannot return to the places of my first memories. These places, however, are precious and should be visited again from time to time.

zola a social thing said...

Got fucked once on top on Mam Tor.
The earth was moving.

ben trovato said...

Well, it IS known as the Shivering Mountain. As for the identity of your jockey, all will be revealed in the Beadle's forthcoming memoirs..... [Unlike Alastair Campbell, he isn't suppressing the juicy bits.]

Charlotte said...

What a beautiful post, with such a powerful sense of place. I love the notion of ideas "welling up like grief".

trousers said...

Didn't mean to make you cry lav - hope it was *good* crying though. Really made me thoughtful when I read your comment first thing this morning.

anticant, thanks for those words - I'd wondered if I was getting indulgent.

ario, no problem - glad you got something from the post. I wonder, do you find yourself attaching significance to places which remind you of your early memories? Just a thought.

zola, that made me cry.

ben, nice to see you drop by. I'm looking forward to the beadle's memoirs...

charlotte, thank you for that :)

Merkin said...

Full size image is excellento.

Anna MR said...

Hei trousers - as a great fan of memories I loved reading yours. It sounds like you had a moment of existential awareness there by that fence - funny how apparently insignificant moments like these can be forever imprinted on our minds as being full of a hidden meaning. Fascinating. I also really liked the fact that you, too, seem to hold memories of actually physically being small (I remember standing leaning against a table leg!). And what a thing to say - "ideas well up, like pain" - beautiful. Your photies were lovely too.

Trouble is, now I feel a bit teacherly, coming over all "I liked this, I liked that". Sorry. Hope you don't feel like I've gone over your post with the intention of marking it.

Anyway - greetings from the Northern Lands.


trousers said...

Not teacherly at all, anna mr (though I often feel conscious of the same when dissecting other people's musings).

Those are all good points you make, and I'm pleased that you've dropped by to say so.

I'm glad you liked the photos too - regarding the memories of being small, I had to crouch down when taking the pictures. They just wouldn't have looked right to me from a grown-up perspective.

Anna MR said...

Oh hell, it was grief, not pain. What a dork. My only excuse is I spent an awfully long time diddling with the comment (so as not to sound stupid and/or teacherly), then realised I was almost forgetting to say that thing about how nice the welling-up line was, and there you have it...

Serves me right, for trying to sound less dumb than I am. Sorry, trousers.


trousers said...

Anna, you didn't even need to qualify that! The word might have been different, but the point remained nonetheless.

Therefore, I accept your apology - but not your reasons for having to make it :)

But I definitely appreciate the fact that you came back to clarify what you meant - so, despite my protestations that you didn't need to, I thank you very much all the same!

Anna MR said...

Ah, trousers, you are a very sweet young man indeed.

By way of saying thank you, and as a mark of respect, I hereby present you with your Finnish-language name (an honour not given to many bloggers so far, and appreciated by even fewer, but hei, I mean well by it): I hereby name you housut, trousers.


trousers said...

I'm honoured! Thank you Anna.