Wednesday 16 July 2014

In England's Green and Pleasant?

 Compared to rural Brittany where we last lived, what a  very crowded island this is! House prices are prohibitively high and building land is at a premium.

For a couple of years now I've looked out of the kitchen window to see, across the road, a large stretch of grass edged in the distance by mature trees. Some days, a duck would take the sun here with her ducklings, and at night cats would prowl. "How lovely", thought I naively, "of them to leave such a pretty patch of green between the houses!"

Ignorance is often bliss, and in March the first bulldozers arrive to tear up the grass and uproot bushes into an undignified heap.

 Permission for 'one bedroom flats and two bungalows' has been given and over the following weeks I witness the noisy machinery of the ground- clearing stages of construction replaced by cement deliveries.

Then come the more hands-on outside tasks of brick-laying and roofing. Now I can hear the builders calling to each other (and to young lady passers-by) and sometimes singing.

I've learnt a bit, if I'm ever called upon to build a house, fat chance! but my view's gradually disappearing. It's as though the trees are slowly drowning in a relentless tide of bricks. Today I see them from the upper windows, but not the kitchen.

However, I'm always ready to turn the negative to my advantage. It's not often that such a sketching opportunity presents itself, without even having to leave the house and I set about recording the sad process. I'm taking hundreds of photos for a stop-frame animation (I'll have to call on my technician!) and of course I'm drawing the scene as it unfolds before me.

I can't wait to draw the new neighbours... perhaps!