- Vol. 02
- Chapter 03
Image by Marc Schlossman
NO OVERTAKINGIt was well after the seas rose and we moved up here that we made the road. Sean said the sea was once much smaller and the land much bigger and there were a lot more creatures. Well there are all sorts of fish, aren’t fish creatures? Well Yes he said - but there were more land ones, fierce hunters and gentle vegetarians. Well, that’s what his gran said. I’d only really grown up with horses, dogs, cats, pigs and chickens. Pigs are the cleverest if you ask me, but chickens are precious. Sean said we were the lucky ones but few remembered what it was like before, except some of the grandparents and their memory was hazy. The house we all lived in was round, with about 16 families in all. We took care to be fair about who would fish, who would cook, who would try to grow. We all gathered.
So, anyway, at the start of this summer Sean and Michel said we needed a decent track to get to our nearest neighbours in the two far houses. We needed those others. They were now growing carrots and potatoes, and we could give them fish and eggs. And it only took a couple of downpours to make our track (which was barely a track) virtually impassable.
First Sean and Michel tried gathering small stones and laying them down on the track. It was backbreaking. Some women started to help, many men were off fishing. Next, they all tried breaking the stones even smaller, and on it went until the end of August when it rained and the little stones got swallowed alive by mud
NO OVERTAKING. Then Sean, who is so wonderful, had an idea about sap. He’d used the sap from some local pines to help waterproof cracks and make linings. So he and Michel, and me, Katy, Leah and Jap who’d do anything to work with him, gathered masses of the sap. The boys started boiling it over the outdoor fire and mixed in loads of the tiny stones. It was pure guesswork. That mixture, which looked and smelt like rancid meat, well we all laid it out. When it rained again our short road held. It was Katy’s gran called it a ‘road’ – that was the old name. People believed in Sean after that and they helped with the gathering mixing, boiling and laying. It’s slow, but we’ll do it before winter sets.
Katy’s gran remembered the old roads which were black and ran for miles. They had lines painted on. Lines? I wondered. Yes, said Katy. Yellow for ‘no parking’, and parallel white ones for ‘no overtaking’. No overtaking? What? We won’t need any of those white lines. They’re best off under water.