Downlands

Over the weekend, I drove to where my dad use to live. This is the house that the drawings and paintings are based on. The issue, if you can call it an issue, was that I didn’t know the specific address of the house, only the general area of the town he lived in. I drove to the area and then spent about 2 hours walking through the different streets of the area trying to find the house just on my memory of the outside. I knew the outside was mostly brown wood and brick, I knew it was off the road, I knew it was close to the woods, remembering the sound of owls as I tried to sleep, and I remembered the short cut-through the street to the local shop. I think this trip has actually been the most important for my research because it was something I had wanted to do for a long term and there was a real curve of a ‘journey’ just in this little trip. I began to get frustrated when I felt like I was somewhere similar or close but then it didn’t quite feel right. Even when I was sure I had found the house, there was a really strange feeling that it was so much smaller than I had it in my head, the last time I had even been to the street would have been 15 years ago. There were certain places I needed to stand and directions I had to look in to work out if I was in the right area. Standing in front of the house I was looking for how the bushes sat in front of the house but next to the driveway. I would look right and new the house by how close it was to this small cut-through and how the houses along the street looked in perspective. My brother and I would play on and inside his car, that hadn’t been moved for months as he could no longer drive. My mum would shout when we came home from the weekend because our clothes would be covered in mould from the car. As I arrived at his house this weekend I looked a the car parked in the same place and it sort of clicked. I don’t think I can say I felt sad; there was a strange sort of victory in this small adventure. I felt relieved and nothing other than a little over whelmed when I felt I was in the right place.

In a short burst of delusion/hysteria I knocked on the door of the house. Thankfully, they did not answer the door. I’m assuming they were either out or did not want to answer the door to the young woman roaming aimlessly back and forth around the front of their house for 20 minutes. I’m not entirely sure what I would have said if they had answered the door and I knew that the inside would have been totally different but I really wanted to see those rooms again. I suppose maybe the absence of those important objects would have changed the space for me, and I think I would have been overwhelmed by how small it was. In a way I think maybe I was searching for feelings that I haven’t given myself the time for since his death and so for me I think this trip is a huge part of the project for me. It suddenly becomes way less about a final piece and more of a search for these feelings, to revisit these places from my childhood and look at them as new.

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