Inside Outside by Karen Alderson

Journey 3 Top of Windy Bank Lane to Halifax Road

I park on Brewery Lane & walk along Halifax Road and left onto Roper Lane. The first thing I notice is that there are no bus stops, people living out here will be reliant on a car. After the accident I did not drive for 9 months using public transport instead, being on buses brought me a stronger sense of being “in the world” than just observing it.

I take my time, noticing nettles, RoseBay Willow Herb and Clover and become interested in the path I’m taking at the edge of the road.


I encounter a few parked cars, one with two women eating sandwiches and looking out towards Bradshaw, another woman in a black Audi texting with a stylus, a man with a beard in a small work van reading a book, two men wearing high viz jackets in a large white council van waiting and watching me simultaneously. I notice a sign “Public Footpath to Old Guy Lane”, “Ladysmith Lane” and this:


I write my notes up at the end of each walk relying on memory , the good thing is that I walk a route then come back along it giving myself a second experience.  I consider if my memory isn’t as good now that I have recording devices to do it for me or whether taking images stops me being immersed in the experience as I separate myself to become an observer. Life becomes mediated through cameras, we choose to text than speak.

The first thing I did after having the accident was to take a photograph of my upturned car, to gather a piece of evidence, as if it was necessary to make it real, a fear that if I didn’t then it wouldn’t be somehow. It also gave me an opportunity to step out of the situation and see it as an observer than as someone to whom it had just happened.

Someone lost their dog over a year ago, even so I’m primed to be on the look out for Megan sensing the owners  worry and concern. I wonder if they ever found her? I hold back the urge to ring and find out.


Then I see this


which looks very similar to a Greek roadside memorial. I like the colour and shapes of the rust. I consider making a personal shrine with bright colours.

I’m filming whilst Im walking and notice motorists scowling as they approach seeing my camera pointed at the road. I imagine one of them stopping and questioning what I’m doing, it’s all that projected guilt of being recorded and evidence collected, out here, on this rural road, CCTV absent, a freedom from surveillance. Then the motorists see me curtailing their freedom to speed without restriction. I’m on The Road, which belongs to them, there is no pavement and so, as as pedestrian signified by walking boots, coat and rucksack I am “matter out of place”, abject, like a hair on your plate, something to be removed and not someone upholding their right to safety. I can almost feel their anger, “I pay my road tax!” I consider making a sign with “So do I” painted on it. Us & Them comes to mind, insiders and outsiders.

I reach my car after two hours walking, thankful to be still and safe again, able to put my motorist hat on, become part of the mass, the legitimate, part of the group, an insider. The wind is blowing hard outside, I eat an apple and write my notes, a window cleaner walks by and smiles.







2 thoughts on “Inside Outside by Karen Alderson

  1. Hi Karen,

    It’s a real pleasure to read your blog, the closely observed details of your surroundings, your eye for the unusual within the normal objects that fill our landscapes. There’s a strong sense of sharing the walk with you, animated by the conversation-like exchanges between your in-the-moment responses to what you are observing and experiencing, and your reflections on past incidents triggered by them.

    That interface between openly recording everyday activities in public and issues of privacy is quite an issue, especially when it concerns traffic. I have a relative who’s involved in a village ‘speed watch’ action. Speeding is a big issue but they often receive open hostili from motoris who see them with their camera a no speed gun.

    What great place names and what great photos. Your writing style makes for a really absorbing diary. Looking forward to reading about the next walk.

    I did signup for the blog but will do it again. Thanks


    Liked by 1 person

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