As you enter the field from the south end, you pass the dump. On Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s it’s closed and this is often, conveniently one of the days I find I have a bit more time to explore. As you go through the entrance to the field you can either follow a path that branches one side to the left (up the hill) and one side to the right (running alongside the railway line). Before you get to this branch, immediately to the right is well worn path snaking through the undergrowth alongside the dump boundary.

It looks so well established. In the winter when everything was bare you hardly noticed it, but now it is the perfect invitation. Before you get to the the dump there is a curious area fenced off. It is a large rectangular ditch and since all the rain, it has filled up with brown sludgy, stagnant water. It’s something to do with Anglian Water at some point, so the sign says. In the water is an array of discarded objects and bits of rubbish. A perfect fly tipping spot obviously, for those who almost made it there.

Further up the path, I feel a bit of uneasiness rising in my stomach. It’s not my usual time, it’s approaching dusk and as I follow the path, I notice how still and secluded it has become. The undergrowth grows taller and forms a roof above my head as I duck through. The path leads along the palisade fencing and I can peer through at the huge metal containers inside the tip.

I can see two camping gas canisters strewn on the path up ahead and wonder. What on earth am I doing? One day I’m going to get myself in a situation I wish I hadn’t. Is it irrational to feel scared or plan stupid to keep poking about in these places? A lone woman pushing herself into dark, lonely places. Am I a thrill seeker after all?  Either way my curiosity about the site means I can’t leave it. Also, I comfort myself with my track record. I have been hanging out quite regularly in these places for sometime and not really been confronted by another dweller, in person, despite the endless clues and traces that tell me they exist.

Anyway, I push myself in and the path closes down to impassable. Only to the left there is a kind of small opening. A tiny clearing that looks inhabitable. I push in, crouching down and squat by the base of a tree. I am completely surrounded. I pause to notice my feelings about being here. It is so calm, quiet and secluded. Like sitting in a little cocoon, sheltered  and protected by the thorny, tangled armour of under growth.

I snap away at some finds, some half buried, some hanging from trees. Their randomness like some kind of poetry. It is this excitement that keeps me poking about in these places. It’s the finds that lure me in. The promise of another object who’s identity can never be predicted. This is the main part of the thrill. Finding. An encounter with another place and another life.



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I’ve come to the laptop not really knowing what I want to write today. Having just arrived back from my daily walk at the field I can trace back a series of different thoughts that accompanied my ambling, but not one clear thread that stood out. This morning my brain was quite content to quietly squint out over the cattle grazing and absorb.

I have held the field at a distance these last few weeks, partly just circumstance I think, half term, kids parties, jobs to get done but also something else. There is sometimes an effort to go, like approaching it, going there, requires a certain energy and this energy is a particular type. I sometimes find myself looking for excuses why I can’t make that day and I am curious about this avoidance impulse, because when I go, the time I spend there is never not positive. It never doesn’t enliven my feelings of curiosity and I always come away dreaming of a time when I can extend the length of these visits, venture further and explore different times, new paths. But there is another side that wants to shut this all down and I have to be vigilant of it. Perhaps, why I have come in the first place.

I have another project that I have been working on with a friend over the last year too. Part of coming to the lowest point in my artistic non-career meant looking at what I really wanted to achieve in the first place, before I even contemplated starting again. About 2 years ago I started searching possibilities and considering where I would most like to push forward and use my creative abilities.

It led me to dementia. It was something I knew little about, only that my nan had it and we as a family didn’t have any idea what we were dealing with and no-one really wants to talk about it, ever. My first thought when it came up on my google search was… it is the worst thing that can happen to you and my second was it can’t end at that thought. Then I came across the most amazing charity called Arts4dementia, who hold training days for artists. I booked on with no idea what I could have to offer or where it would lead, but since the workshop in September 2017 with Arts4dementia, I have thought about little else.

For almost two years now I have volunteered with a local dementia group and got to know the most wonderful people in the most difficult of circumstances. Within this group of people, those living with dementia and their loved ones, we all come together and the most amazing moments happen. Being there each week, is being part of something special.

The project that myself and my good friend and artist Anji Archer have  had in the planning stage for what feels like forever, yesterday had confirmation of Arts Council funding. This feels momentous! We can now make our drawing workshops happen for people living with a dementia and their carers, at Stevenage Museum this September.

I will start another blog alongside this one to keep a record of the progress of this project.