From Barum to Wallaloo

Simon Groves

Joined May 2010

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From South Street to Wallaloo

Barnstaple Police chief, Inspector Patrick Furrows, grew up in Barnstaple… his own beloved ‘Barum’.

For five years of his teenage life he regularly walked this area of Barnstaple on his way to Park School in the mornings and late afternoons. He would often run along here with string, horse chestnuts, sandwiches and excericise books tumbling out of his pockets… and these were ususally all tangled up with the NME (New Musical Express), a popular music industry newspaper of the time….which would often, also, ‘flollop’ to the floor as he ran in wreckless, ungainly earnest having heard the distant bell ring for start of the day.

During those years, he often gazed down South Street, dreaming of the day when he would have his own car… something smart, and something fast…and would again stop to gaze here…stop for a while, looking behind him at the years and the chimney stacks of his dear home town..and then he would be gone…through the plumes of smoke created by his spinning wheels. Like the memory of the ghost of an illusion.

True to his heart, Furrows did leave his beloved Barnstaple, but in equal truth did return….nearly two decaded later. This is a testimony to the truth, that good ‘Beys’ of Barum; cannot roam for too long away from the heart of home….

There is an invisible ring of iron in one’s home town square…and one does not realize how strongly the heart is tethered there….Barums heart is as soft and warm and strong as ever and it’s pull is, if anything, somewhat stronger.

Patrick had told his young son often that if you look down South Street for long, you will notice the Kangaroos hopping out of the town. His boy would ask hm why Kangaroos were here. And he would say…."Barnstaple has the softest and deepest heart of any home town there is to know mate… and yet going far down South Street is the way to leave it behind you. And if you do, you may as well live in Australia….Because as your Great Grandmother would have told you, anywhere else is just the otherside of the world!! At least, in my experience.

As they sat at the side of the road, in South Street, one summers day, talking like this, the young son, was falling into his fathers imagination, growing sleepy in the middday heat… and as he opened his eyes, he saw this sight…like a wonderful mirage…

Instinctively he brought up his iphone and snapped a shot of what he thought he saw….and remarkably this was the result.

Local photography experts have examined this shot and are baffled. Suspicion has fallen upon the boy’s father Patrick Furrows, and they believe that real kangaroos from the kangaroo farm at Loxhore, near Barnstaple may have been used.

Detail:

Artwork Comments

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