Monthly Archives: July 2008


Observatory 1 (Bob the bailiff’s hut)
Gravesend / TQ655 745 / Moonrise 07.19 / 97%

Enclosed in Bob’s Hut watching the infrared camera screen, my eyes going square shaped waiting for these grainy grey pictures to come alive. I’m reminded of those of similar quality, beamed live from the moon in the early hours of July 21st 1969 when Neil Armstrong landed the lunar module on the Sea of Tranquillity. On landing he declared “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” Tonight, coincidentally, it’s exactly 39 years on but no eagles have been seen to land in Gravesend.

Nor is this exactly Tranquility Base. I am becoming a hub of park life here in after hours Gravesham, a friendly doorstep for a quick fag and a chance to warm up freezing limbs chilled by a sharp night air. ‘Have you got a Fox yet?’ I’m asked. ‘Have you caught a fish?’ I reply.

Why are we here

Observatory 1 (Bob the bailiff’s hut)
Gravesend / TQ655 745 / Moonrise 06.02 99.5%

Why are you here? This is Bobs hut’ exclaims a young lad and his friend. Yesterdays explanations have not quite spread like a wild fire. ‘He was my dads next door neighbour and made a wishing well in our garden for my nan who died, so we had something to remember her by. So now we have something to remember him by too’. As darkness fell and the moon came up through the trees, these cycles in the lives of people took their place in a longer game. We all know we will die, but I wonder if the other animals do?

What might they have to say on the subject if I find any of them tonight? ‘The foxes will find you‘, I am assured by my final (human) visitor of the evening.

It’s a wild life

Observatory 1 (Bob the bailiff’s hut)
Gravesend / TQ 655 745 / 18.7.08 / Moonrise 04.47 at 98% full moon

Dogs chase children on bikes, cycling about the hut and attracting attention. ‘Are you the new bailiff?’ asks Jim, one of a few men fishing the nearby lake. ‘We need someone down here. Since Bob died three years ago it’s got bad. Dave and me pulled a bike out and a shopping trolley. How can you fish in all that?’

The hut is a time capsule. A teapot, a tray of washed up mugs, keys, nets, a litter picker and pictures of fish caught in the lake adorn the wall. ‘Can I look at the photos? Nice carp that’ says Tony, scanning them by the light of a head camera. ‘We had a kitty and used to have our coffee here.’

‘An old fox comes by, you’ll see him’. ‘One fox? There’s loads of them’ adds a new voice, ‘We leave out chicken bones for them.’

Sounds of jolly shrieking and laughter carry on the wind from a distant high street, one of the dogs barks at a moon nearly lost behind an overcast sky and my camera loses its video signal. Kneeling down to look at the cables beside the fence, I put my hand in fresh fox poo.