Caught on the Map

By chance I came across this recent and detailed map of the River Brent on the brentcatchmentrivers website and, for the first time, felt more able to visualise the river in all its sinuous complexity.

The narrative potential is huge. Looking at the tributaries and reading their names made me determined to pack a bag with maps and camera and notebook, and get out there.

I’ve a feeling there are a load of stories to be uncovered along the backwaters of this half-hidden and oft-neglected river.


Dollis-Mutton-Stamp no border

Harp Island – a photo story

More about this series of posts on the River Brent, London can be read HERE.

Hot on the heels of succeeding/failing to find the ghost hole… I felt another quest was in order. This time for something that self evidently was still there. In fact the very existence of the reservoir, quite literally, depended upon it.

It seemed a simple goal after the hole, to find the dam wall.

Continue reading “Harp Island – a photo story”


More about this series of posts on the River Brent, London HERE.



“It comes to this: the use of a man, by himself and thus by others, lies in how he conceives his relation to nature, that force to which he owes his somewhat small existence. If he sprawl, he shall find little to sing but himself, and shall sing, nature has such paradoxical ways, by way of artificial forms outside himself. But if he stays inside himself, if he is contained within his nature as he is participant in the larger force, he will be able to listen, and his hearing through himself will give him secrets [that] objects share.”

From the essay Projective Verse by Charles Olson


The Harp is a slippery place of shifting signifiers. Not even it’s name is stable. The Kingbury, the Brent or the Welsh Harp? It attracts birders to the migrating birds, dog walkers to the open spaces and lone drifters to heaven-knows-what nirvana. It’s a green&blue pleasant land. An open space. A lighter, brighter, breathing space, an antidote to urban sprawl. Or seemingly so.

It has a darker side, and in the quieter sections, away from well-trod, dog-shitty paths, the unheimlich Harp surfaces.

A submerged underside of tension, ambiguity, even threat.

I went looking for the undersong of The Harp.

Continue reading “Undersong”