Saturday, 6 August 2011

a field student of progress

As Field Study’s Man in E17, I have lost myself this week in ‘Heritageshire’ in the hope of finding the true paradise. I have walked and cycled the corridors of internal (or could I say infernal?) combustion and in this progress I have sought relief from the heat of these rivers of road rage in the cool, slow, deep swims of the River Great Ouse. Here my progress is delivered under the similitude of a dream, wherein is discovered the manner of my letting out, my dangerous journey and safe arrival at the desired town of Bedford - a pilgrim to a pilgrim.

I joined 'Christian' for a walk to the feet of John Bunyan - a monument dating back to 1873.

This journey has for some been one of many trials and much tribulation, particularly for the pedestrian where paths have been closed - and dare you transgress!

I pondered the sensitivity of the modern day paths of progress; the relationships between site and safety or safe passage. Perhaps a specially commissioned bronze traffic light would be a more sympathetic and contemporary interactive element in this tribute to the author of one of the most significant works of religious literature. Here Bunyan, looking towards The Celestial City, waits to cross with the red man, known as Patience.

Wait patiently and another, more luminous green man, known as Mr Ready to Halt, will come to assist you in your progress; erring on the side of caution of course.

Fear reigns about such enchanted ground - do not idle on the highway - it is no place to dream. With the aid of Mr Ready to Halt's crutch I crossed and found myself on the threshold of a magical sphere for which there is a key or code to grant access. Sorcery?

Alas this humble pilgrim did not have a smart device with which to venture into the realms of the QR Code. Strange though, I believe I did hear via feint echoes from distant Memoryshire, the voice of Anton Rodgers, of Radio4ham, enact The Pilgrims Progress in feverish tones.

The sculptor was, Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm (1834 - 1890)

The monument was made in the foundry of N Young & Co, London.

An inscription beneath this detail reads:

It had eyes lifted up to heaven
The best of books in his hand
The law of truth was written upon his lips
It stood as if it pleaded with men.

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