Monthly Archives: March 2020

In troubled times

It’s hard to know how we are going to get through this pandemic – our household of three is now in self-isolation – without my going stir crazy. But various solutions are already starting to appear. One of the best appears to be to walk in memory, using ongoing conversations with friends as an aid.

Recently, Lindsey Colbourne sent me this message. “I found myself wandering in a circle looking for Corlan today – quite by accident, so I only had my phone to take photos, but thought I’d quickly stick them on a page on my website so you can see them, in case useful! They are here“.

Below is a composite image of my own made in response to my visiting what she would refer to as fy Milltir Sgwar (‘my square mile’), a phrase I first learned from reading Mike Pearson and Michael Shanks’ book Theatre Archaeology and their thoughts on deep mapping.

A good while back Lindsey and I started an email conversation around deep mapping and, a short time ago, I went up to north Wales briefly to visit her and her partner. While I was there we found ourselves talking about, and looking at, what I would call fanks (a Borders term) or sheep folds, what she calls ‘Corlan’. Many of those in her part of north Wales are rectangular, while I’m used to taskscapes in which they are almost always round or oval.

A rectangular corlan
Circular northern fanks, the largest image is of a man repairing a semi-derelict fank on the Carter burn, just north of the English/Scottish border.

This exchange is provided food for mutual speculation and research, both practical and through reading, and is modelled one way in which I hope to maintain my spirits in the long isolation to come.