Thursday, 13 March 2008

Brockley, SE4

We have an SE4 postcode. This means, for postal purposes at least, we live in Brockley (although the wrong side of Hilly Fields for the conservation area). I quite like it here. The parks are nice. Thanks to ante-natal classes and my rugby club we know a few people now. Our neighbours are pleasant. I may have been shot once, but it was with an air rifle by an eight year old, so I don't think I can really claim to have been the victim of a drive by. If we have to live in London, then I think we've chosen a nice enough spot.

Brockley is also the name of a village a couple of miles south of where I was raised. I have, in very idle moments, mused on whether this represents anything meaningful. Sadly for the reader seeking portentious pretension, it doesn't.

I will, however, quote in full Lines composed while climbing the left ascent of Brockley Coomb, May 1795 by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Brockley Combe is to the south of the Somerset Brockley, and STC captures well what spring is like in that rather pretty part of the world (given global warming, I suppose our March stands in for his May).

If you try very hard, you might agree that the sentiments of the romantic poet apply equally to ascending the wooded slopes of this West Country valley as they do to climbing the paths of Hilly Fields on a fresh morning. Just.

With many a pause and oft reverted eye
I climb the Coomb's ascent: sweet songsters near
Warble in shade their wild-wood melody:
Far off the unvarying Cuckoo soothes my ear.
Up scour the startling stragglers of the flock
That on green plots o'er precipices browse:
From the deep fissures of the naked rock
The Yew-tree bursts! Beneath its dark green boughs
('Mid which the May-thorn blends its blossoms white)
Where broad smooth stones jut out in mossy seats,
I rest: -and now have gained the topmost site.
Ah! what a luxury of landscape meets
My gaze! Proud towers, and Cots more dear to me,
Elm-shadowed Fields, and prospect-bounding Sea.
Deep sighs my lonely heart: I drop the tear:
Enchanting spot! O were my Sara here.

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