Here, a seed was sown, a spark was lit. These buttresses the oldest structure for miles around, though no one really cares – their value is function. Unlike the once vaunted seat of civic pride; blackened, abandoned, ashamed – it cannot even tell the truth about the hour, but for the middle of the day and night. Brown, glazed brick crenulations stand opposite the ghost of the castle, taken down stone by stone when family fought family. Useful building materials. We are makers not conservers.
Above, two men manhandle carpet roll ends from lorry to trolley. Below, where the heron often stalks statuesque, unnoticed, twin ducklings, caramel spots and vees on their chocolatey backs, nibble at some coins – three pennies and a five pence piece – dropped with forlorn wishes onto submerged plywood. The foam-flecked, beery current is too strong: one strays and is swept downstream, fighting its way back, dipping under till its feet hit shingle, carrying on like nothing happened, a protective wing briefly flashing iridescent blue. Will they ever know such carefree hours again?
Striking out from a tiny island, a scarlet-beaked moorhen pecks inquisitively at discarded chicken bones; then, hidden until now, black fluffy blobs, all allosaur arms and legs, make their move for the cover of native willow and forget-me-not, rubbing along with balsam and knotweed. Above, hard faced great granddaughters of buffer girls, with pushchairs; small boy with tight black curls, brown and blue ice-cream; Somali man, almost dancing as he crosses, purple velour tracksuit; green, gold and black bag on his back. A Chinese man runs, holding his daughter; then she is set free, pigtails bobbing, laughing, pink checked dress flashing.