Missed Signs (Bench Marks, Flush Brackets, Cable Markers)

Getting ready for Lewis entails getting my ‘eye in’, I need to be more proficient in spotting Bench Marks. Last week I found out I had lived many years within a gnat’s crotchet of some of the best in the country – who knew? – I’ll come back to that.I am on ‘the Angel’, also known as the number 10 back from Birtley, thinking idle Bench Marks thoughts when, at the Shipcote bus-stop, I spy what surely is my first Flush Bracket, best described as a rare metal version of a Bench Mark. I go back, take a photo and send it to Ian from bench-marks.org.uk who quickly dispatches these hopes; it’s nothing more than a cable marker: rookie mistake.Relaying this story to a good friend of generous spirit and a shared love of street furniture, we hatch a plan to find two Flush Brackets, which – according to the data-base – are both extant and within the vicinity of her place. Picnic packed, we head out on our ‘adventure’, the first is at Rookery Farm but behind a gate warning: beware the dog, thinking the second will be simpler, we heed the sign and head instead for ‘the railway bridge’ where we assume access will be a deal easier. But no. Firstly, how many facets can a bridge actually have? Having crawled along, around and over it, pulling back ivy and undergrowth, we traipse back to car and phone/internet for the exact location details. It then emerges our destination will entail climbing two fences to enter a field holding a high-spirited nag, then another fence onto the railway embankment – no picnic. Although it’s Bench Marks rather than Flush Brackets I’m really looking for, I hope Lewis isn’t going to be like this.Which brings me to www.jochta.com and the saddest part of this post. In May this year I went back to Goring for the first time since we’d shifted mum to a care home. This trip was to scatter her ashes on Lardon Chase. We take a walk by the river, stay at the YHA as the house is no longer hers/ours, and eat at the pub we always ate at with mum. And I wonder after 50+ years whether this is the last time I will visit. All these years, all those years, and it turns out Goring, Wallingford, Pangbourne are rife with OS street furniture/markings. I have been regularly passing not only Bench Marks and Flush Brackets a-go-go, but actually quite rare ones at that. And all this time, I am ashamed to say, I never spotted one. Though in my defence, I was never looking for them. Then.

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About karenrann

Karen is a visual artist drawn to working from a sense of place
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