West Finchley, North London. Houses beginning to edge into Middlesex. Bricks girdling fields. Victorian then Edwardian expansionism and constraint. The viaduct transforms space. Alchemical. Base metal into gold. Rural. Semi-rural. Sub-urban. Suburban. A picture of the turning point. The melting pot. The transformation part-completed. The season turning. Autumn to Winter. Between the barest tree and viaduct one incongruous pine straight-stemmed above glass houses and sheds. A hay rick (or is it an ivy-strangled ruined barn) obscures four cottages. Symbolising ‘harvest-home’ or rural decline? Broad beans on poles. Clipped hedges. Each a portent of sorts. And what of the rider, the starer, the posed? Why is he there, the lad with the chequered saddle blanket, beside the wagon-rutted ford across the Dollis Brook?



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