In July of 2011, two friends and I were involved in a car accident. Nobody else was involved, unless you count some rain, some diesel, a fence, angry sheep and a straight road. Yes it was me, I very slowly lost control and crashed through a farmers field. There was nobody else about. Just me, my car, my two friends and a field with some nasty rocks, sheep and what we would later discover to be quite a ridge.
So the car went through the fence and the radiator was punctured, suspension was gone too. There were no injuries to us, (or the sheep) but the car was dead. We were travelling perhaps 28 mph so this was not a quick accident. Nevertheless we never made it to our destination that day, and I never got to see what was on the other side of the road, past the point at which we left it.
A year later and after a break (to buy a new car), I found myself driving back on that same road again. I have this thing where I will not look back to what is behind me, but I will revisit it again. I drove the road without issue and got to see what was on the other side, just a few hundred meters from where we left the road. Was our destination, Longridge Fell. I drove the road one way, past the site, and back the other way too. I’d been where I needed too and it is a beautiful place for a drive, but my closure here was done.
There was never a question of being scared of that road, or needing to go back there for any reason other than I never made it to my destination.
At the weekend while driving home from the Derbyshire area of outstanding beauty, and it really is, I found myself searching for some places I had been before, other places that I feel I can now close off in my mind as closed. These are the JCB World Parts Centre near Alton, a village called Denstone and a non-de-script side road (with a view) in Cheadle. (Interestingly the google suggested word for Cheadle is ‘Headache’, make of that what you will).
The JCB World Parts Centre is a massive building in itself, but in front of it is a park with a big lake, and almost hidden across the road from it is a sculpture which caught my eye a few years ago, just out the corner I thought I saw this sculpture and it has haunted me ever since. It is in fact, a sculpture made from JCB digger parts. It’s in a field behind a housing estate on the B5030. It’s called ‘The Fosser’ and was created by ‘Walenty Pytel’ entirely of JCB Parts. If you get a chance to take a look, go see it, just not out the corner of your eye.
The second place is called Denstone, and this is a village with about 400 properties and it is situated a good 10km from the nearest towns. This is my version of a ‘village’. There was an opportunity which circumstances stopped me from taking, for me to take up residence within this village, in a cottage attached to a farm house off the main road in and out of the village. The property itself was lovely, perfect actually with nothing but rural views all around. No chance of anything being built in the way, and this was set back off a private drive that ran up the the main road. You should have seen it, it would have been perfect. I often find myself thinking about the path not taken, a trait that roots itself deep with its friends regret and doubt.
I’ve driven past this house a few times before but this time felt like it was time to close that avenue in my mind.
Finally on this trip of closure, is a road in Cheadle. I don’t recall its name and its nothing at all to write home about as a road itself. Except its quite wide for a side street and has been historically a stopping place (for me) in the 3 cars I’ve really spent some time driving. Out of the left window when stopped in this location is a view down into the valley and up to a Church on the other side. It’s funny as this road, (known as Ashbourne Road locally), seems to be the entry or exit to the countryside and the whole (for me) Derbyshire & Staffordshire areas.
Having visited here again, stopped and taken a photograph, I know this chapter can now be closed too. It had been 5 years since I’ve been on this road, stopped and taken a photograph, from almost the same angle.
What does this mean? Does anything change? No, probably not, except in my head I can compartmentalize some of these memories to long-term memory and clear up some room for current and new thoughts – Here’s to the future, whatever may come.