My old Volvo is in shot, because this is the street I usually park in when coming back from the workshop. It is a cul-de-sac and consequently virtually free of the drunken vandalism that occurs almost every night on every other street that I am legally allowed to park. Behind that blossom at the lower end is the river, but the elderly gentleman who drove down here last year did not know that, and carried straight on through the railings and into the water - a drop of about 20 feet. He was rescued unharmed by the man who lives at the very bottom of the street, who dived in and released him before the car completely sunk.
The first time I parked on the main street above, it was in a different, recently purchased Volvo, and when I returned to it in the morning, I found that some drunken fool had danced over it from one end to the other, irreparably damaging the sun-roof on his way. I called the police to report the crime (I like to keep their statistics up to date) and was put through to a call centre in Bristol. I explained the incident to the man on the other end, and he eventually asked for my name and address. When I told him, he actually said, "Are you Tom Stephenson the stone-carver? I've heard of you. Is there any chance you could give me a job? I'd love to learn about stone and I am fed up with working for the police."
I spent the next half an hour giving him career advice, and the damage to my car became lost in the vast pile of statistics that rots in the dark cellars of Avon and Somerset Constabulary.
So when I turn off down this little side street and pull up to park, I am often treated to a vista like this one, where the evening sun picks out the trees and fields surrounding Sham Castle, and turns the windows of the canal houses into gleaming gold.
The scene is forever changing - like the sea - and many times I have seen the little, rust-red dots of deer feeding on the fringes of the field you can see in the left of the shot, about one mile out of the town centre.
It's the way that the country visually overlaps with the town that is the main reason why I have stayed here for so long - that and the 'Bell' pub at the top of this street, which is currently going through an all-time high with regards to the quality of the bar staff.