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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Saturday, March 31, 2007
    Sympathy and complexity

    Charles Hurst's book contributed to the English reverie I enjoyed on the West Coast train north today, with the welcome joys of weekend engineering detours enabling my eyes to feast on parts of the Midlands never seen before and with my ears enfolded in the deeply rooted folk of Martyn Bates.

    Hurst's book describes his epic 1909 walk - his aim, to plant acorns all the way from Manchester to the East Midlands - which taught him a thing or two.

    Today Phil is starting out from Piccadilly to follow on Hurst's trail. He will be looking for Hurst’s oaks, planting some acorns himself, and revisiting the scenes of the various adventures and setbacks which Hurst described so vividly in his book. All of this is research for a one-person show Phil's developing with New Perspectives Theatre Company, about oak trees, about England, about time and change, about walking and cars, about property and landscape, about attitudes and relationships to the natural world and to each other, about a search for how things are today through the binocular lenses of the past and the future.

    I'm going to join Phil for a day after Easter, by which time he'll be somewhere outside Nottingham. And I'm sure it'll teach me a thing or two.