I’m writing this with the windows open; a rare thing in England, even during the Summer, but it’s one of those nights where you can’t not do such a thing. It’s cold, don’t get me wrong, but in a way that’s perfect. I don’t want to be warm. I don’t really want to be inside, and in a second I won’t be. But for now, I have to tell you this : it’s my first night at Madingley Hall, as the A14 Writer in Residence –
Birds! A shadowy wheel of them, one of those huge dark swarms that black out the sky, swallowing the blue with their wings –
(Oh, I wish I could write quicker to catch this, I wish words could fall from me quick as breath, because the birds have already gone, they’re distant, and the world has stilled again.)
Madingley has air like glass, clean and clear and sharp. It breaks, sometimes, and refracts, letting something through before sealing up again.
I am going to write here. I am going to hear stories from people.
My favourite one today has been from a gentleman who drives 400m along the A14 every day before turning off. I rather love the idea of being so familiar with one, tiny, precise piece of landscape.
My own story has been fifteen minutes of mild panic when the junction my satnav wanted to take me down was a junction no more. A friend has told me about a murder mystery game she had which was set at Madingley Hall (trust me, I’m going to find out more about this). And as I sit here, staring out of the window. I know I’m going to go for a walk in the grounds tomorrow and figure out the connections between this place and the villages behind it and the shifting, sinuous line of the A14 that lurks beyond the line of the trees.
Tell me your A14 stories? Memories? (Murder Mystery Games?)