Posted in Highbridge on Monday 12th November 2007 at 10:21pm
As I write, the annual Guy Fawkes Carnvial in Burnham (which of course pays lip service to Highbridge but never comes here) has just finished, and the giant unwieldy floats are snaking their way back to points south and west of here, shaking my house and filling the room with flashing warning lights as they pass. There have been lots of issues around access for the procession this year, from overhanging scaffolding on the procession route to the challenge of navigating the new ASDA roundabout. But the people want the carnival, and somehow it's been achieved again, despite all the handwringing and buck passing.
We've had our new supermarket for a week now, and despite the strange bout of anti-ASDA feeling in relation to the carnival, it seems that the locals have embraced their new neighbour. New pathways have opened - a strange alley which leads from the once quiet cul-de-sac of Grange Avenue into the wide and windswept carpark of the store, and a curious and almost unofficial exit into a back lane serving the rear of Church Street. The great hangar full of goodies seems bigger inside than out - more choice and cheaper stuff than we've had for years in Highbridge. The staff are all familiar local faces. It's hard not to enjoy the novelty of unmoderated consumption in a town where shops close more often than open.
On the first evening I visited to find some local types practically brawling - they were unhappy that 'Burnham people' were coming to look around but not buying. One older Highbridge resident standing in the doorway like an unofficial Town Crier berating the visitors from the north. Another resident complained that the store was not organised the same way as our other rival supermarket. But the layout is strangely familiar to anyone who has ever visited an ASDA or a Walmart store. The same items in the same order. Oddly comforting and surprisingly not dull.
And so Highbridge changes - more planning permission for more apartments will follow to complete the site. But sometimes despite the modern warehouse style supermarkets and monotonous three-storey flat blocks, new views open across the Somerset Levels - and raising my eyes above the line of the trolley park this evening I caught a glimpse of Brent Knoll, ancient and timeless in a crack of golden light between the clouds.
I've had a home on the web for more years than I care to remember, and a few kind souls persuade me it's worth persisting with keeping it updated. This current incarnation of the site is centred around the blog posts which began back in 1999 as 'the daylog' and continued through my travels and tribulations during the following years.
I don't get out and about nearly as much these days, but I do try to record significant events and trips for posterity. You may also have arrived here by following the trail to my former music blog Songs Heard On Fast Trains. That content is preserved here too.