from Crab & Winkle - April

At the rear of West Street an old estate wall. The buildings impinge upon each other, a stairwell into the neighbour room, a cellar under a different space. What’s now the garage used to be a bakery (the house was a fishmongery).


From the Ham Marshes you can navigate by the church spire: Faversham’s open frame, visible from Hollowshore, the Shipwright pub.


In the stationers I view maps on the first floor, viewed myself by the security camera. The shop’s proprietor comes upstairs and pretends to do odd tasks but is really just making extra sure I don’t steal anything.

Sometimes it seems this whole small world belongs to the National Trust and you will be able to buy preserves and tea-towels at the kiosk afterwards.


                           back lanes to the Chart Gunpowder Mill
                           following the creek through Davington
                           then uphill to the cricket ground
                           overlooking the Almshouses.
                           Davington Pond, the allotments,
                           the back of a supermarket

                           clear nettles and dead leaves from the path
                           (these leftovers from last year)
                           detach of their own accord when opened)


                           at Knole, the weight of history,
                           the rotting canopy of a four-poster

                           those fearsome kings and clerics
                           – enough to bury [Vita Sackville-West](/20c/20c-sackville-west-biography)
                           were she given the chance
                                                                           (how could Knole
                           be regretted?

                           for lunch, Shoreham,
                           a fold in the North Downs,
                           the Darent
                                                – no trace
                           of Samuel Palmer, the most excellent
                           Mr B.
                                             a footpath, signed
                           under ten feet of water

                           further up the road, 
                           its mosaics and hot baths out of place
                           in this landscape

                                                            then, nowhere,
                           the approach to Dartford,
                           chapels lost with infill

                           it’s Easter
                           day of the exploding coffee-pot


At Winchelsea, the site of a windmill destroyed in the storms of 1987, as the fallen trees of Knole, only a grindstone and some foundation slabs next to a trig point up above the marshes.

                           [Ford Madox Ford’s](/20c/20c-fordmadoxford-biography) house, 
                           in a back street (the town
                           strangely without shops; a pub
                           that pretends to have lunch reservations)

                           Rye, choked with traffic, 
                           a haze across the marsh

                           Bank Holiday: a motorcyclists’ convention

                           from Rye Harbour, Camber Sands
                           dotted with bathers, the nuclear plant
                           at Dungeness


                                          cuttings, dead leaves
                                          from two seasons back
                                          now open, yellow,
                                          streaked with red

                                          a fragment of glass
                                          under the end ridge tile

                                          take the sun, before
                                          it disappears behind
                                          a neighbour chimney

                                          signs of life: clematis

                                          the chimney shade angles
                                          across the terrace, light
                                          full on the wall
                                          with the hanging rose

                                          heavy scent of malt
                                          from Shepherd Neame

                                          a fine evening
                                          and a very quiet night ahead                                        


A duck on the garage roof, and one below in the yard (yesterday morning a group of mallards asleep in the middle of Thomas Rd).

The last light
in the upstairs bedroom

smeared windows



                        in the Anchor, end of Abbey St
                        reading maps of Brighton/Hove
                        and Gravesend/Rochester
                        positioning roads and villages
                        observed from the train,
                        the way their relationship alters
                        between view and diagram

black ink appears grey
on yellow paper
the darkness is absorbed
leaving a penumbra on the page

                        a long gallery between bars
                        appears as a mirror image
                        but the space is actual (the chairs
                        are different, a lampshade
                        not reflected elsewhere.
                        one clear window amid the frosted
                        views the street towards the town centre, 
                        past the house of Arden
                        [(Arden of Faversham)](/16c/16c-arden-faversham)


Walk through the dull backblocks of Faversham parallel to the Whitstable Road. Cross the railway and through fields, rape, hops and corn, to the church at Goodnestone. The path loses itself on a modern farm. Ford a small stream, then up a hill alongside cherry trees and across the motorway to Fostal and Hernhill, its village square. Through the Mount Ephraim Gardens to Boughton and a bad pub (The Queens’s Head).

No matter how accurate the map there’s always a point where you get lost.


Upstairs at 8.15 am, the Kent earthquake. 4.5 on the Richter scale, epicentre: Folkestone. Then a walk from Selling station up through orchards to Perry Wood. Along a ridge, views out to Lees Court (W) and (S) over Shottenden, the rape fields.

birch, holly, rowan

Down a steep slope then up another to view an earthwork, then down into Selling itself, through Gushmere, and across the railway to Boughton Church. Then through a golf course to the village.


                    how diffuse the light, a bright blue day
                    with cold northerly gusts

                    move to the south side of the house
                    from which to watch, but not feel the briskness

                    the sway of a fruit tree two doors up

                    a small dog, nails
                    slipping on floorboards

                    the light hangs around
                    as I check maps, locations for tomorrow’s walk

                    the minimum of drear infill


Our house was once one half of next door which is now half of the door after, if that makes sense. The original wide doors no longer open, due to subsidence. This is the origin of ‘flying freehold’ (their cupboard opens onto the wall of our stairs; the internal entry to the cellar is theirs, the external ours – a new internal built subsequently). The old beams mostly salvaged from ships, hence the curved shapes and the slots for cross timbers. The ships predating the building a century or more (deforestation already a problem?).