Thursday, May 28, 2009

Clinton, Connecticut

What follows is taken from the account of my travels in New England earlier in the year. My travelling companion Sam L Page is also writing about our visit and we'll put out a zine telling all later in the year. A few people have asked what this travel zine will be like, so here's a taster;

If Clinton was moved atom by atom to the sound coast of England American tourists would visit it and comment on how quaint it is, tour guides would describe it as a ‘chocolate box’ scene and all the residents would wonder how their atoms were moved without them noticing.

We drove through the narrow streets willing the town to make an impression on us, but having driven through many New England towns like Clinton everything was becoming decidedly normal, wholly expected to our tired eyes. Following the urge to find the coast that coarses through the blood of all Englishmen (courtesy of our Viking heritage) I jabbed at the Sat Nav and ordered it to take us to the sea.

After picking and squeezing our way through some residential streets we bravely took the car over a narrow wooden bridge that looked ancient, and caused us to have grave doubts about whether it was really designed with little German cars like ours in mind. After a few hundred yards the road became more of frozen mud track we arrived in a large car park, and had the company of just one other vehicle. The car park overlooked a distant harbour and a wide shallow bay. The bay was frozen solid in parts – forming low discoloured mini icebergs.

Although this was early afternoon the light had a curiously subdued dusky quality to it, as if the firmament was tired, and resting. The low light gave the shallow water on the shale beach an air of dreaminess as it lapped and caressed the shore. The air was perfectly still, and although the town was less than a mile away we were wrapped in a silence so dead and absolute it conspired with the low vague clouds to give me quite a feeling of claustrophobia. Peaceful, but peaceful like a coma.

The large refreshments shack at the rear of the car park hinted at the popularity of this place at times when the air temperature is less likely to cause frostbite. A few yards behind the boarded up snack shack there was a wide channel of water weaving back inland briefly before heading back out to sea. Looking at Clinton on a map there are many of these inlets – some reaching quite far inland as if they are grabbing at the clusters of houses that flank them – it gives Clinton the appearance of having frayed edges, as if it is slowly dissolving into the ocean. After a quick snout around a large roofed barbeque area and a wee behind a wall we got back in our little car and rattled back over the wooden bridge in search of our next destination, Madison.

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