Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Footfall


I was looking at that rather flatteringly lit photo of me last night and, tearing my eyes away from my younger self, I looked over my shoulder at the little patch of street behind me, and remembered so many events that took place just in that tiny patch of frame alone over the years.

I suppose you cannot live in a little town like this for about 40 years without each area having significant events associated with it, but that section seen through the Creperie window seems to have more than usual.

The bar we are sitting in was our favourite haunt, run by a good friend who has since left Bath and retired to the Cotswolds. The building has been converted into a house, so I was drinking and chatting in what is now someone's living-room. This room is built - bridge like - over a long and steep set of stone steps (see picture) which are so picturesque that you have probably seen them too. They have been used for many Dickensian and other period film and fashion shoots.

The piece of road this side of the small set of steps behind me is quite a busy through-route between the east and west of the city, and one day, I almost killed a young child right on that spot.

I was waiting to cross the road, and a girl of about 9 was standing next to me, also wanting to cross. I should not have ignored her, but I did. I dodged between moving cars and she followed me, but about 1 second behind, and 1 second too late. She got hit by a car, and lay in the road in tears. An ambulance was called and they took her to hospital with a broken ankle, but not much else - thank God.

About a week later, I saw the girl approaching me on crutches, and she said something to her parents who came up to me. I waited for the tirade of justified abuse, but they simply thanked me for looking after their little girl...

That is a dangerous spot. One time I was sitting right where I am in the picture, when I looked up to see a car flying through the air upside down, and land on it's roof outside the door, with four passengers still inside. Another time, I heard the impact of a vehicle hitting a person, and a young man was lying on the other side of the road, unconscious. When the ambulance took him away, they left his take-away hamburger lying forlornly in the gutter - the dinner he never had.

Up that little set of steps behind me, there is a Georgian pedestrian alley which leads to a steep hill where I lived for many years. Most mornings I would walk into town through the alley, and each morning I would see a young woman standing at a window, doing the washing-up. Over the months, we started to wave to each other in a friendly way, but I never spoke to her. Later, I learnt that she was Angela Carter, but by that time she was dead.

So many events (just a handful here) in so short a period, just in that tiny piece of background behind me in the photo, and they were just the couple of the ones involving me. That has been a road since before the Romans. It leads to a terrace called 'The Vineyards', because - as the name suggests - the south-facing terrace was a Roman vineyard about 2000 years ago. Footfall.

15 comments:

  1. I admire how you manage to portray both the fullness of moments and the smallness of individuals in the sweep of time. A fine post, and you certainly have your years' worth of memories.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's amazing how much is contained within the frame! Lovely post, thoroughly enjoyed...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True - especially when you think that I have dozens more stories about it, and that's only me.

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. Life goes on - which is why I look so shot now.

      Delete
  4. And they said that the English white wine was the best in Europe, and shipped most of it back to Rome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never heard vthat Cro. I know Germania producded some good plonk.

      Delete
    2. I'll start again: I never heard that, Cro. I know Germania produced some good plonk.

      Delete
  5. That was fascinating Tom. Amazing what a tiny little bit of the world has witnessed over the years.

    What on earth were you doing at that window to cause so many accidents?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, that never occurred to me...

      Delete
    2. Next time, I'll keep my trousers up.

      Delete