A certain Twerton

Wednesday 11th July 2012

SLOW: white letters painted on tarmac, just as you’d see on a major road… only this sign is where you’d least expect it: on a path by the river, with a narrowboat moored just beyond. Perhaps it serves to remind us that life is too short to hurry.

I’ve been in Twerton, a suburb of Bath; had lunch and a meeting at Rose Cottage; met friendly folk and read poems in Time Bank Plus; am going back soon, to explore more. There’s something about the place that draws you in.

The village was moved when Brunel came steaming into the history books and everywhere between Bristol and Swindon became, er… Isambard’s Kingdom (sorry about that).

You turn left off the Old Bristol Road, by what was Twerton-on-Avon station, and pass under the bridge, entering what First Great Western now calls carriage A: the Quiet Zone.

It’s as if the railway line serves as a buffer between centuries, with that grey-stone archway the mouth of a cave, beckoning those seeking secrets or hidden nuggets. I feel like a privileged guest, a traveller greeted on the platform by a kindly porter, eager to carry your valise or give directions to a local hostelry.

Motorists here observe the etiquette of zebra crossings. When children bounce on the trampoline in the Rose Cottage garden, they do so unhurriedly and with grace. The bacon baps are delicious. We have our meeting in the lounge, where sessions are also held for those wishing to quit smoking. Even I might be tempted.

The Time Bank premises are not large, but appear spacious. June can’t find the rest of the display boards. Kate wonders if they’re in the loo.

And they are.

We are only there for an hour, alas, having a busy schedule. You exit from the High Street through a different arch: the sally-port of a keep. I keep thinking how river, rail and road draw lines – not quite parallel, but congruent – across the maps of time.

Miss the 16.13 from Bath Spa and I’ll be an hour and half later getting home. I make it, only to hear it’s been cancelled.

Slow what.







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