As I've said before, I grew up in the middle of a flat expanse of fields in the north of Scotland.
There were vast fields of barley on two sides of our farmhouse, and serried plantations of pine trees on the other two. Occasionally, the Inverness to Aberdeen train would chug past in the distance, and more frequently, Nimrods and Tornadoes would take off over the house from the nearby air force base.
All this openness meant that when I first moved into a house in a town, as a student in Exeter in 1990, I was bowled over by the higgledy-piggledy clutter of streets of terraced houses. I had a room at the back of a terraced house in Culverland Road, on the top floor. I used to love sitting at the window just staring out at the backs of the houses in the next street, and all the different back gardens.
Since then I've always liked views of the backs of houses. While the fronts of houses in a terraced street are generally quite uniform, the backs are where all the idiosyncratic architectural and horticultural action is.
I do like a nice carnival of idiosyncratic architectural and horticultural action, which is why I really love the view from my kitchen:
I love all the jumble of stuff on different levels; it makes my bit of London feel like a medieval hill village or a Tolkienesque fantasy town. And there's odd stuff, too - earlier I was leaning out of my bathroom window, which I've never done before, and I noticed this plaque nailed to the wall between my house and the one next door:
It says 'Ancient Lights'. It's nailed on to the back of a terraced house, two floors up, where no one can see it unless they lean right out of a bathroom window. I can't even begin to imagine who put it there, or why. And that's what makes it completely brilliant.
Next Week: Picturesque Views Of My Navel.
UPDATE: Well done to Sylvia and Valerie for solving the 'Ancient Lights' mystery in the comments, and thanks also to chuffy! for finding this great post about it on the BLDG BLOG. I love that bit about a notional 'ghost architecture'. Fantastic. You lot are great.
Tags: ancient lights | W12