I start my Walk to Work walking the dirt track that leads the back way out of our site with wet, marsh land either side. It’s very much like walking across a bridge. We basically live in a lake. The land has been reclaimed but, like the sea will take back Holland, the dessert Las Vegas and civilisation Essex, the lake will eventually take back our house.
The road gets better but the surroundings stay the same until the land rises a couple of feet to meet the main road which marks where the lake lands finish.
This is where I’d stop for the first cigarette if I smoked, or raise a hip flask if I wasn’t going into work. Instead I just stop and look back. The land is flat and marshy with the square blocks of housing sites laid out like fields. Its stretches out in front of me to the actual lake, the river delta and the sea. We live in a lake.
Global warning is going to fuck us, big time.
This land was poor farmland thirty years ago. It was passed off to unfavoured sons and daughters as hard work and virtually useless. Then somebody came up with the idea of building holiday homes here, right next to the sea. The land became worth a few bob. And much less hard work for the unfavoured sons and daughters.
The road is more road like now and the fields either side are full of strawberries and of migrant workers picking strawberries. It leads through the village. The village is a couple of general shops, a barbers and a café where old men sit and drink coffee all day. They move with the shade, sitting on one side of the road in the morning and the other side in the afternoon, like human sundials.
The strawberry fields give way to lemon trees and the village road meets up with the main coastal road – the D400.
The D400 is busy with trucks going from East to West and back again. It runs through the middle of the narrow strip of flat land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Taurus Mountains. Walking it you can’t see the mountains over the low lying hills and you can’t see the sea because it is a mile or so away, but you can feel the presence of both hemming you in. To get to school I head east, towards the point where the mountains and sea part company and Rough Cilicia becomes Smooth Cilicia. Behind me the Mountains and the Sea eventually meet and the D400 becomes one of those coastal roads with a sheer drop on one side and a wall of rock on the other so beloved of car show presenters.
The walk to work passes four (count’em 4!) cemeteries. That tells me something but it tells it to me so quietly I can’t hear it. This particular stretch also has a lot of woodwork workshops, a phrase which, like Edward Woodward, depends for survival on its vowels. With all the cemeteries you’d expect stone masons rather than carpenters. Come to think of it there is a stretch of the D400 not too far away where there is a concentration of marble masons. Perhaps they are just being discrete.
Just before the school is one last strawberry field. Pride of place in the field is a very neat hand-painted sign proclaiming the strawberries to be poisoned. Maybe that’s what the cemeteries were trying to tell me.