In this exercise, we were asked to read 2 chapters from M.S. Roberts and P Farley’s Edgelands- Journeys into England’s True Wilderness (“Wire” & “Power”) and note our responses to them.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading both chapters, so much so that I have ordered the book to read. I also found them both to be easy to read and relate too.
With Wire, it made me think about why we have a curiosity surrounding fences or similar barriers. Only the other day, the husband and I noticed a new fence while driving along the motorway. We have driven along the same stretch of motorway many times before and we have never thought anything of that section. However, now there is a fence, we began to wonder why it is there and what was behind it. Were they trying to hide something? I also liked the links made between the types of fencing used and the types of land that was being protected i.e. steel fencing with barbed wire for old military bases.
In Power, within the first 2 paragraphs, I immediately thought of the power station in Rugeley which is only a few miles from me and was amazed to see it mentioned on the next page. I found it amusing to think of using edgelands as the next big thing within the self-help industry as I am surprised no one has come up with it before and by using it for self-development, it creates a positive use from something negative. Before reading this, I will admit, I saw power stations as eyesores. I would have happily described them as vast, grey giants which were insurmountable by man. In relation to their relationship with water, I fully understand their comments about cooling towers being “vast man-made water temples”, sadly in this day and age, people do worship them or at least the power they supply as it is integral to our everyday lives. Another point that really stood out to me was when they discuss what power stations are in relation to edgelands. Although many see them as eyesores, they are essential for our way of life and by placing them in the edgelands, it gives them a place that doesn’t encroach on our suburban or rural landscapes.
With both chapters, I found it interesting to think of how varying edgelands can be, as put within the text “a complex mix of fiercely guarded private ground and common land by default or neglect”. Added to the intrigue of edgelands, is the mystery surrounding them, which often led to them becoming “playgrounds” for children. I can remember some of the derelict and abandoned buildings around the village I grew up in. There were often stories made up about them being haunted or that strange people lived in them. The X-Files was also a contributing factor to such stories.