Sunday, 22 January 2017

a visit to chalford

A's garden is buried in the hillside. His house butts up to the rock, a mysterious covered passageway separating house from hill. Outside a small terrace stares at the green wall of the other side of the valley, precipitous drops beyond the garden wall down down to the next roof, the next garden, the next terrace. The house came with a wood, but he's not sure what to do with it yet.

This is Chalford, home of Damian Hirst's magic factory, among other things not necessarily associated with villages. Chalford is a working village; and art is the industry.

As we bimble around in cars and on foot attending the necessities of a Significant Party, little hints of the curiosity of the place emerge. In a front garden, there's a model railway set-up, running along the front wall, so the local children can look in and see it. Through the trees, something huge is shrouded in the sculptor's yard. And the looks I would expect my appearance to provoke in the average village are markedly absent.

But otherwise it's very much a village; green pubs with nursery menus and big car-parks; ivy growing out of old stone walls; and endless instructions to "go this way" from the locals, whose habits of parking here and turning there are so standard they have bcome the only way to do a thing. They do have a point, of course, it's steep and narrow.


This isn't our video (I'd taken a film camera, so it'll be a while before we have anything to look at from me) but it's a surprisingly accurate rendition of our experience of driving to and from Chalford.

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