“I know it’s beautiful, but it doesn’t feel right.”
“Doesn’t look right, does it?”
“As if the land rejects it somehow.”
We were looking out over the Ladybower Reservoir, ice-creams in hand. Yes, again. We needed some shots of two ice creams and as my companion had forgotten and chosen something different, we will be obliged to have even more… such hardships we must suffer in the name of art….
We hadn’t rushed. A late night talking over wine had resulted in a leisurely morning, but the sun was tempting and we really did need to get those shots of the Silver Bullet for The Black Shade of Beeley. I knew just the place, with a spectacular backdrop. We would go to the Derwent Valley road that runs alongside the reservoirs where the Dambusters had practiced for their famous raid with Barnes Wallis’ bouncing bomb. Somehow, it seemed appropriate. Once the pictures were taken, it seemed only reasonable to wander over for the ice cream… just to get the pictures, mind you, and see if the vendor could stand in for our disappearing van. Sadly no… far too modern… we needed something a little closer to the old woman’s dilapidated vehicle. We could only wait and see what we might be given.
We retired to the Ladybower pub, conveniently situated just round the corner. I am aware that it looks as if we spend all our time eating ice cream and drinking beer in pubs with low ceilings and beams. This is patently untrue. I drink cider as a rule. We hadn’t been here for over a year, and I couldn’t recall them selling Stowford’s on our last visit…. But I wasn’t about to complain. On the walls of the pub were pictures of the drowned villages of Ashopton and Derwent that now lie beneath the ripples of the reservoirs. Necessity can be harsh, and the land adapts, but there is an uneasy falseness to the landscape, an imposition… It is not a natural lake and it shows, in spite of the created beauty.
It is as if some inner sense of the rightness of things is aware that the angles and gradients of the hills are wrong for this to be an outpouring of nature. The concrete bridge offends the senses somehow, graceful though it is with its undulating arches, stark against the green of the hills. It gets us every time.
“We could blow it up.” I had spoken aloud.
“You’ll get us arrested.” It was a reasonable conclusion. I’m surprised we haven’t been already. Writers discussing plots in public places are definitely at risk in this respect. Mind you, this time I wasn’t thinking of the book.
He raised his eyebrow. I raised my glass. It was time to go… and we had found something amazing on the way out here… something we were going to explore on the way back…