Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Tripping On The Edge



 
 
Last week I promised you the other end of the Romney Marsh, that extraordinary wedge of shingle that continuously shifts with every tide of the English Channel, the last of the Kent coast before Sussex begins near the port of Rye. A truly English enigma, every time I drive out from the comfort of the green marsh and onto Dungeness I feel that nothing's changed. And then I realise that everything has. More will have been done to one black-tarred wooden shack, less to another. The weather-beaten sign on the pub may have been altered but already be peeling, and between it all one patch of sea holly will have been replaced by another two yards away. Perhaps the only details that appear not to metamorphose in this eerie landscape are the wires and the brilliant light of a late summer afternoon.

I've written about all this on and off for years, but for the record the roof in my top picture is attached to an old Southern railway carriage, the whole appearing to be covered in bubbling black tar;  the Britannia Inn is still thankfully run by Shepherd Neame (but I can't vouch for Doctor Feelgood still being on the jukebox), Mascot cottage is looking more homely but the boat at its side is still motionless but picturesque; and the Dungeness Lifeboat station looks even more like a still from a Wes Anderson film. I did think of setting the camera onto the self-timer in order to run in front of it in a grossly exaggerated manner about half way down the concrete roadway. Knowing my luck I would have tripped on the edge. Still wish I'd done it though.  

9 comments:

Philip Wilkinson said...

A great post. The photographs manage to capture the essence of this place. I think you are on to something with your comments about change. It's changing all the time - and often in a good way because that's the way people do things there.

Peter Ashley said...

Thank you Phil. I recently managed to obtain the film The Loves of Joanna Godden (1947), with much of it shot on the Marsh. At one point Joanna and her lover tip up at Dungeness and in a low wide shot there's only the old lighthouse and the base of its predecessor in view.

Simon Tait said...

Superb post Mr Ashley. You have caught both the warmth and the starkness perfectly, and that's no mean feat. Reminiscence of the west cost of Denmark?

Peter Ashley said...

Thank you Simon, I must go to Denmark. For all sorts of reasons.

Steve said...

Parts of the Inspector Lynley episode 'Natural Causes' shot in Dungeness. The pub was used for some scenes. Also shows the lighthouses and mini train.

Peter Ashley said...

Didn't know that Steve, thank you. Always had a thing about Lynley's superb car, the burgundy Bristol.

Jon Dudley said...

Inspired by your post we drove over the Marsh on Thursday...all still there and looking wonderful. So close to us and yet so other-worldly; a converted railway carriage there would be my idea of heaven.

Peter Ashley said...

Brilliant Jon, that's what I like to hear. I can see another trip coming up very soon as I finish reading Joanna Godden.

Alistair Fitchett said...

Fab post and lovely photos. Looks like we were there at almost the same time (maybe even the same day?!). I have some photos here if you are interested: http://bit.ly/1r2WgrS