Tag: village green

Distal Bodies 51.9dBSPL (LAeq)

Woodcote Village Green

Location: Village Green, Woodcote, Oxfordshire, UK

Date: 12th June 2020

Time: 08:44 – 08:59

Weather: Sunny intervals and a moderate breeze

Temperature: 17oC

Average Sound Level: 51.9dBSPL (LAeq)

Woodcote Village Green

Distal Bodies 43.7dBSPL (LAeq)

Woodcote Village Green

Location: Village Green, Woodcote, Oxfordshire, UK

Date: 7th June 2020

Time: 8:59 – 09:14

Weather: Sunny, light cloud with a gentle breeze

Temperature: 13oC

Average Sound Level: 43.7dBSPL (LAeq)

Woodcote Village Green

The stillness of a Sunday morning finds me capturing myself breathing.

A handful of cyclists converge in the car park to begin their descent, silent, spare the clattering prelude of pedals and chains. A red kite bursts out of the background, drawing my attention, it’s wings clipping the leaves above my head. It banks and circles, rising quickly as we make eye contact. A car horn, the cooing of a pigeon straining to be acknowledged, the intermittent buzzing of a hedge strimmer, crows, blackbirds, tits and psithurism. For a while the silence of familiarity offers a space to hear my thoughts; powerlessness, fake news, black lives, ignorance, inaction, meaning. Lost in circles of possibility, probability and conjecture, I drop the words and return to listening, as only listening seems to make any sense.

Distal Bodies 59.9dBSPL (LAeq)

Woodcote Village Green

Location: Village Green, Woodcote, Oxfordshire, UK

Date: 5th June 2020

Time: 09:00 – 09:15

Weather: Sunny, light cloud with a strong breeze

Temperature: 12oC

Average Sound Level: 59.9dBSPL (LAeq)

Woodcote Village Green

Distal Bodies 43.3dBSPL (LAeq)

Woodcote Village Green

Location: Village Green, Woodcote, Oxfordshire, UK

Date: 30th May 2020

Time: 08:57 – 09:12

Weather: Sunny, clear skies with a very light breeze

Temperature: 17oC

Average Sound Level: 43.3dBSPL (LAeq)

Woodcote Village Green

Distal Bodies 42.5dBSPL (LAeq)

Woodcote Village Green

Location: Village Green, Woodcote, Oxfordshire, UK

Date: 27th May 2020

Time: 08:56 – 09:11

Weather: Sunny, light cloud with a gentle breeze

Temperature: 19oC

Average Sound Level: 42.5dBSPL (LAeq)

Woodcote Village Green

Distal Bodies 43.2dBSPL (LAeq)

Woodcote Village Green

Location: Village Green, Woodcote, Oxfordshire, UK

Date: 26th May 2020

Time: 08:58 – 09:13

Weather: Sunny, light cloud with a gentle breeze

Temperature: 18oC

Average Sound Level: 43.2dBSPL (LAeq)

With only a distant peacock call for sonic novelty, the familiar soundscape and sun on my back allows me to slouch in to the park bench with considerable ease. Prompted by recollection of an earlier email, my mind meanders across the village green, resting itself on people, so as to imagine their experience of being present here today. The gentleman sitting on the park bench adjacent to me, drinking from a can, then hunched over, gazing in to his lap. The lady wandering past me on a brisk circuit of the field, politely slowing to say hello. The dad with daughter and dog in tow. Looking for an allegory that can communicate these thoughts and imaginings, my mind conjures documentary footage of bulging amphibian eyes, then nostrils, tongues and ear drums emerging and sinking back into some primeval soup. Scattered points of reception emerging to wonder at the whole from different angles, as a person might check their hair in a mirror, only to disintegrate as food for future insights.

Woodcote Village Green

Distal Bodies 55.0dBSPL (LAeq)

Woodcote Village Green

Location: Village Green, Woodcote, Oxfordshire, UK

Date: 22nd May 2020

Time: 08:32 – 08:47

Weather: Cloudy with a moderate breeze

Temperature: 14oC

Average Sound Level: 55.0dBSPL (LAeq)

Woodcote Village Green

Distal Bodies 51.5dBSPL (LAeq)

Woodcote Village Green

Location: Village Green, Woodcote, Oxfordshire, UK

Date: 13th May 2020

Time: 08:58 – 09:13

Weather: Sunny patches, light cloud with a gentle breeze

Temperature: 8oC

Average Sound Level: 51.5dBSPL (LAeq)

The roads that circumvent the village green seem a little busier today. A solitary light aircraft, its engine sound falling through the sky, fading into the distance, prompts me to recall the sounds that are absent. The commotion of young children clambering and shouting exuberantly in the playpark and school playground, tapping of hard-soled shoes, balls and skipping ropes begrudgingly halted by the bell, teenage chit-chat cutting diagonally through the outfield, the calls and whistles of dog walkers, toddlers crying in push-chairs, parent’s conversations interjected with sharp calls maintaining order. All these sounds playing in my mind are separated by the attention I give them. Yet, they are simultaneously underpinned and buttressed by the growls of combustion engines idling, parking, circling around the car park’s one way system, horns and frustrated bellowing from car windows congesting the air along the Reading Road. In the skies above the green, civil aircraft roar in waves, undetected amongst the distractions of daily life, Chinooks from RAF Benson cut the air into segments, occasional light aircraft from the aerodrome, dive, circle and silently eject parachutists from their fuselage.

The clarity of the blackbird’s song and the lulling psithurism above, returns me to movement and the vibrations of mechanical waves. Much is absent from the soundscape of a typical Wednesday morning and then the quiet asks: ‘what is it that I miss?’

Woodcote Village Green

Distal Bodies 40.8dBSPL (LAeq)

Woodcote Village Green

Location: Village Green, Woodcote, Oxfordshire, UK

Date: 12th May 2020

Time: 08:57 – 09:12

Weather: Sunny, light cloud with a moderate breeze

Temperature: 7oC

Average Sound Level: 40.8dBSPL (LAeq)

The deep, azure sky is lined from east to west with a ripple of cirrus-like cloud, arching in a long, vast canopy. Crows silently parade the cricket pitch while a robin’s abrupt alarm calls cut through the bed of pigeon coos and blackbird song. Hollers across the park: “coming in for a cuppa?”. I spot two ladies walking from the village hall, chatting, comfortable with their presence and each other. They call out to a friend “Hiya, you alright?” and disappear behind the school hedge. Two chirping toots from a car horn suggest friendly recognition, more than irritation. The flow of traffic seems evenly spaced, framing intermittent silences in which birdsong and the buzz of insects draw my attention back to the bench. Short measures of hammering, sound in the distance, rebounding off the school buildings behind me, making their origins difficult to locate. Yesterday’s piercing northerly wind has quietened to a gentle, cold breeze, but my hands and feet have not warmed. My mind does not mirror the expanse of the sky, it is not open to context and connection, but stays constricted like the blood vessels in my hands, closed and immanent.

Woodcote Village Green
Woodcote Village Green

Distal Bodies 40.1dBSPL (LAeq)

Woodcote Village Green

Location: Village Green, Woodcote, Oxfordshire, UK

Date: 8th May 2020

Time: 09:00 – 09:15

Weather: Sunny with light cloud and very light wind.

Temperature: 18oC

Average Sound Level: 40.1dBSPL (LAeq)

Walking to the green, past windows of brightly coloured-in VE Day bunting, the silence of the bank holiday lockdown is palpable. The passing whine of cars is separated by silences. Even the low hum of traffic from the A4074 seems all but absent. A home-delivery van is one of only five commercial vehicles passing the green throughout the fifteen minutes of logging sound levels. The cackle of a crow from the play park to my right, pierces the sound-bed of cooing pigeons, hidden from sight, but audibly present on all sides. Much maligned, today I find the pigeon’s soft call comfortingly familiar. Staying with the sound, I notice the lengthened, strained quality of the second note of their monotone call and its similarity with that of the cuckoo. To my left, a lady walking her border collie, coughs, a sound more distracting in these times. Ahead, three young boys pass a football between them, while discussing what player they will be when they reach the solitary goal in the adjacent field. Like the wavering screech of red kites, the modulating drone of aircraft on approach to Heathrow are ubiquitous here in Woodcote. This makes the tracing of a solitary aeroplane across the sky, seem both intrusive and proper. As the rumble of the aircraft fades, drifting out of focus, I attend to the trees, whispering faintly and revealing the shifting rustle of birds in the branches above.

With fifteen minutes passed, I collect the tripod and swap the meter for microphones. Sitting, recording, watching the slow movement of bodies at a distance, my thoughts turn to loss. The absence present in the soundscape prompts me to rifle through recent memories; VE Day bunting, newsworthy obituaries, furloughed workers and missing human connections. There is a vaguely-sensed impression that there is connection in these memories and some inarticulate resolution.

08052020
Woodcote Village Green