Monday, April 03, 2006

April showers

click photo to enlarge
April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain
T.S. Eliot, from "The Waste Land"

Even though I've sometimes been known to say that I'm only happy when I'm miserable, T.S. Eliot's view of April isn't mine. Perhaps it's because it's the month of my birthday. Such childhood things can colour our perceptions for a lifetime, and I've always looked forward to April, seeing it as a time of bounty, brightness and growth. As a month it seems to deliver what March falsely promises. Robert Browning's pining - "Oh to be in England, Now that April's there" - was perhaps coloured by his absence in Italy. However, it does sum up some of the charms of rural England in that spring month, particularly the way that life seems to thrust out of the earth having lain dormant for so long.

None of these thoughts came to me yesterday when I went out to take some photographs in Fleetwood, Lancashire! The grinning weather forecasters predicted "April showers". But what I experienced were showers without the intervening gaps - in other words, constant rain! It was the sort of rain that wets you through, depresses you, takes the colour out of everything, and sends you home frustrated. Here is the only shot I took: a view, through the car windscreen, of Decimus Burton's Lower Lighthouse of 1840. The nearby tourist information signs, the distant sea and sky merging into one, all obscured by the water streaming down the glass, make an interesting location look very unappealing. I included the tourist signs for the sake of irony - "Don't come to Fleetwood", the picture seems to say!
photograph & text (c) T. Boughen