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Friday, October 09, 2009

The dark secrets of the side of the road

The discovery of what Melanie Hall's father distressingly described as "a bag of bones" beside the M5 made me turn back to something I'd just been reading in Joe Moran's book "On Roads".
"If you're ever on the run from the law, I would strongly recommend that you hide in the motorway verges of our oldest motorways, like the M1 or M6. There is just enough room for a tent in the half-century of undergrowth and you could surely live like Stig of the Dump, undisturbed for months or years, in this uninhabited wilderness just a cone's throw from the road."
Stuck in a traffic jam on the M1 last week I was looking at what he calls "this liminal land" and wondering what kind of strange world might have taken root there over the years. The only sign of life visible from the road is the occasional hovering bird of prey. I never see them dive. It's as if they're trying to pretend they're doing something useful.