Friday, 8 August 2014

Haunts of modern noise




    It’s a strange place, Binham. A church, still in use, still cared for.  But like Beeston Priory and St Benet’s Abbey, it has ruins of former glory, old, crumbling walls you can reach out and touch but…


     I may have had my phone facing the sign, but my face was glaring at the smug and entitled Second Homers with their bouncy springer spaniel that was scrabbling up and down walls, barking, racing around The Blondies, and generally being a pest. No, of course it wasn’t on a lead, and no, of course, they did nothing to restrain it.  Dark mutterings from me…


     The Blondies loved exploring though. Up ancient steps, through long destroyed doorways, looking out across unchanged Norfolk fields from what were once windows. And of course there were questions. For some reason, as I’d been the one to suggest visiting Binham, they persisted in the happy delusion that I had some, any, idea of what each individual room was once used for, who would have used it, how it would have been furnished, what would they have eaten, Mum, what was this for? And Mum…



     I wandered off, lost in thought for a while. It may seem selfish, but I had a need to be alone. I wanted to take in the atmosphere. The feeling that these old places fill me with. Knowing that I’m just one of many, following in the footsteps of those who went before. I took a deep breath, and a feeling of peace began to cree…


     ‘Mum! Mum! MUUUUUUUMMMMM!!!! Can we go over here, Mum? Mum, look! Mum! Mum? What does ‘dorter’ mean, Mum? And Mum? Why would they have had different sets of stairs, Mum? And Mum, I’m hungry. When are we going to have our picnic, Mum?’


     I rejoined the 20th Century with a sigh, and continued walking round with the Blondies, answering the questions I could, fudging answers to the ones I couldn’t.


 It was only when we went inside the church that the volume level subsided. The levels of interrogation remained pretty much constant, but:

     Me, in normal tones: The Blondies? Why are you whispering?

     Them, whispering: We don’t know… Mum? Is that medieval graffiti?



     Me: Hmm… could be... Keep looking…

     My evil plan worked, and kept them busy for the rest of the time we were in the church, whilst I went off on a little journey of my own. I could have happily spent the rest of the day there.


     But all three of them were hungry, we’d said we’d have a picnic on the beach, so we went on to Weybourne, ate, they giggled, were frozen into silence by wasps, clambered around looking at pillboxes. I was briefly amused by a mother, clearly at the end of her tether, barking instructions at her three children to ‘stand up straight, look at me, no, Ethan! Stop pushing Ella! Look at me! Jonah! Will you STOP doing that! Just stand still for a moment, will you! For god’s sake… Just look at me! Yes, that’s it. Now SMILE.’

     But mostly, I sat a little apart, enormous sunglasses in place, feeling overwhelmed, emotional, and more than a little bit haunted. But that’s another story.




3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Shitty day? A cotton wool hug coming your way. With love xxx Elderly one

Lucy Benedict said...

A very shitty day. And now I'll cry a little, that you cared, and I can't thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks are not necessary. Try MedievalG blog 3.3.14. Saturday and I send even bigger cotton wool hugs. Have a really good day, 'Lucy'. Xxx Elderly One