Liminal: Occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.
A winding green lane lined with oak, hazel, holly and hawthorn. Kites keening above and jays screeching in the bushes. First flush of blackberries, willow herb in full bloom, the last of the mullein. A breath of wind and the stench of jet fuel and the whine of engines. The lane gives abruptly on to a vast field of beans beyond which is the southern perimeter fence of Luton airport. Hangars and the control tower beyond.
This land is liminal. Pulse and grain crops abut scrubland with residual patches of woodland and heath interspersed.
There are pretty cottages. A handsome old farmhouse is fronted by tubs of exuberant late summer flowers. Do the residents accept, embrace or ignore the noise and smell of the denuded plateau beyond the fence? Other houses look defeated – run down provisional residences on dusty tracks where handsome oaks jostle with fly-tipped waste. There are fewer placards protesting at airport expansion plans here than in the villages further away. Apathy or resignation?
Old byways are cut short by the airport’s expanse. Footpaths are overgrown, replaced by unofficial routes.
Plane spotters, dog walkers, workers on a break park up at spots near the fence.
Some plants, butterflies and birds manage to exploit the no-mans lands between fence and fields.
Someries Castle – the ruins of a 15th century manor house – remains, just 200 yards from the perimeter fence, now a border bastion under siege.
And there are lunatic reminders of the siege we’ve all been under.