The title is ‘Wall’. I have a quiet obsession with walls. When I meet someone new I have to own up to to this compulsion fairly quickly to explain my conversation discursively tailing off when I spot a lovely piece of brick work or, even better, a good effort at a dry stone wall. I want to learn how to do it. When I was a little girl our brickie was a displaced Glaswegian called, predictably, Jock. He used to come and speak unintelligibly and make walls in our garden or for a new garage or such-like. The house had been built for Mr Lyle known for his savvyness with sugar, to-wit Tate and Lyle. Edwin Lutyens had an influence in its design and construction and Jock was loyal to getting it right – not just any old bricks, not just any old cement. The right stuff for the right place. He was a tiny man with a large family living in a little house on a not so pleasant council estate some distance from us. He taught me by osmosis that one should never ever judge a book by its cover. He was a good man with a skill and not a deep pocket and looked after his own as best he could. A man of extreme moods, the world was either bright and sunny or dark and repellent. I liked Jock and was happy to carry him a mug of stewed tea laced with 7 sugars and whatever mother had made for elevenses or tea (we were ‘posh’ so that was cake or scones, his ‘tea’ would come later and would be what we called ‘supper’). Simultaneously, being a horse-mad youngster, I spent much of this formative period on a pony out in the wildest parts of Britain – moorlands, highlands and sparce wastelands and I developed this love of walling.
So when I saw this challenge, I was all over it. And I sifted through and through the hundreds and hundreds of pictures of walls that I have and gave myself a headache trying to choose because I stubbornly refuse to use more than one that evokes the prompt each week. Nose-face-spite. But then, just as I was throwing my toys out of my pram, spitting my dummy and generally being childishly unpleasant, something so right cropped up out of the blue driving home from Grenoble at the start of the week. A wall on a wall – a man-made stone castle, now decayed, toothlike atop the rocks, imperious and impervious to the elements and ever driving off the scurmisher as they remain standing firm. Nature – 1, human beings – 0.
PS: The title is from Paul Simon and picked because he says in that song ‘I built a wall around me’ which has always echoed favourably with me. Give me a wall any day …. keep em out for I embrace my hermitude.
And I got a wall around me
That you can’t even see
It took a little time
To get next to me
And one last thing …. in answer to the request to find out more, I have discovered that this is actually Chateau de Crussol in Ardeche …. I believe the border with Drome is the Rhone which skirts Valence over which the ruin still watches