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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

A Bridge to Myself and to Me

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas JANUARY. 18, 2021

[170-365] 18th. January 2021- As Joan Armatrading sang, "Me Myself I", I'm assuming she was a bit depressed because "You know I don't want someone, To come pay a visit", is the sort of thing depressed people sing just before the sad chorus about how nobody ever comes to pay a visit.

So this is about having a whole bridge to myself, because it is closed, it is not about having a bridge that leads to me, even though it does.

Charlene sang "I've never been to me", as she was "a discontented mother, And a regimented wife". It was one of those everything is about me, songs, about someone who always did exactly what they wanted, but who hadn't even bothered to go to herself, even though she had apparently been to paradise. She even "sipped champagne on a yacht", and she expects sympathy from me?

Anyway if you are coming to see me (and don't unless you are nice), you will need to cross this bridge to get to me, so in that sense it is a bridge to myself and also a bridge to me.

This is the creek view including the bridge wall. I like the wall. You can tell I like the wall because everything else is out of focus, it is a photographic device that is intended to say this is all about that wall. It is a nice simple stone design and very old. It has character and moss. The main coast road is just to the right, the other side of the "Road Closed" sign, and carries a lot of traffic, but I only found out recently that the part of the main road going through that end of the village is relatively new and that we have the United States military to thank for it.

Until that very short length of road, only about 100 metres long, was built by US forces during World War 2, to aid access to large transport vehicles to the D-Day practice beaches about three miles away, this little stone bridge was the main coast road. And yes, being built in the 1940's is what still counts as new around here. There are still packhorse and donkey droppings on this bridge. The packhorse and donkey droppings are a lexical device that is intended to say, this is quite old.

Despite that new improvement this is still a busy bridge carrying one of two main routes on to the Prawle peninsula, which is still wild and unspoilt and peppered with villages and hamlets.

Peppered- I think peppered is a lovely old fashioned poetic synonym. A peninsula peppered with hamlets. It derives as you might expect from the method of sprinkling pepper lightly over food. "to put a small amount of (something) on many different parts of (a surface)".

Today the bridge is closed for road repairs which means all of those people peppered over the peninsula have only one way to get out and back and this isn't it. This is fast turning into another "Peter piper picked a peck of etc. etc."

This bridge is the Prawle pepper shaker and the holes are blocked, it's what happens when you shake pepper on to your food, and steam rising from your food condenses on the little holes in the pepper shaker and the pepper exiting the holes gets wet and sticks in the holes. It's ironic really because these roadworks involve making lots of holes in the road and the bridge/pepper shaker will only be peppering the peninsula with people again when they fill in those holes.

Are you still there? It's gone quiet. Oh? I hear breathing.

It also means you can take a leisurely stroll over the bridge and take pictures of the creek that are out of focus, without worrying about never seeing your loved ones again.

Further on from the bridge, the other side of the roadworks is the route to the Prawle peninsula and this route would normally be peppered with Amazon delivery packhorses and donkeys. Not quite so poetic, but poetry takes a back seat in lockdown when you need Prawn Marie Rose Potato chips or as we Brits call them crisps.

Why call something a complicated name when you can just use the descriptor and kill two birds with one stone. Never heard of a crisp? Well then think about it and work it out, they are things that are crisp, enough said. The Prawn Marie Rose flavour is probably not essential so I hope the police don't discover I am not just getting the plain crisps delivered during lockdown. These crisps weren't from Amazon by the way I have since moved on to other types of delivery companies by now like the Tesco Supermarket Corporation mule train.

This lane by anyone else's standards is the main highway to Prawle, not to be confused with the main highway to prawn, Marie Rose or otherwise. That said, there is a seafood company out there on Prawle on a beach that does great prawns. They missed a trick really , not calling themselves "Prawle Prawns". Marie Rose herself is a mystery, as nobody has a clue where Marie Rose Sauce and subsequently the crisps got their name.

So here is the well manicured main highway to Prawle or prawn heaven.

If you have not seen Devon lanes before you will notice that the trees form arches or even tunnels over the road. This is not because the local Highways Department is peppered with a population of Zen master topiarists, who like sculpted and manicured shrubbery to drive through, it is more to do with the abrasive effects of thousands of vehicles a week squeezing through the landscape. There is a well known ailment recognised locally as "Devon Mirror Syndrome". DMS is visible on most vehicles and more visible the wider the vehicle, or the narrower the lane.

It takes the form of striations and tiny grooves in the paintwork of wing mirrors, and that is the obverse abrasive effect of all the twigs and thorns in that very same shrubbery. You could say that lane abrasion is a two way street, just as the sharp edges of the secateurs of a zen topiarist, dull over time, so do the sharp design lines of the latest model of automobile, first sculpted in clay, swooshed through a wind tunnel, and then rendered in shiny painted metal or plastic, also dull over time as they shave the greenery of the county, back to a sort of arboreous designer stubble.

Devon lanes are surely the Marines of the road network, all flat top and short back and sides. Semper Fidelis, "TO EACH OTHER, TO OUR COUNTRY, AND TO THE BATTLES AHEAD." The Marines motto, almost the perfect motto for the Devon Highways Department, as the lanes link us each to the other, to the rest of the country and after the US military intervened, even to the battles of D-Day that started only three miles away.

So instead of "The End" or "Fin" I draw this mostly incoherent tale to a "Road Closed".

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