Five Far-distanced Fields
When I set about writing this particular blog, I hadn’t realised there were five ‘fields’ in the novel to talk about. I was vaguely thinking about two or three, but it seems they’re more of a theme than that. Each of them were scenes of pivotal moments in Lydia's life. First, there are the school playing fields at Great Mounts College, where Lydia was saved from the bullies, Madie and Tates. The college and its fields were based on my own college at Hinckley, John Cleveland College, where, it so happens, I overheard the idea that inspired the awful events on the recreation ground later in the same chapter. Second, that recreation ground. It was based on the real rec behind Brookside (Tavistock Road) in Hinckley. At the time of writing the novel, the pavilion had long since been demolished and all that remained was its concrete foundation. In this later, aerial image, even that has been removed. Lydia misremembered the position of the pavilion, which is understandable given the circumstances. I have just discovered that the recreation ground has been halved and the western half, where the assault took place, is being sold for development. Still, it was an extremely unpleasant event, so perhaps that’s just as well.
Third, which are most closely echoed in the recreation ground scene, were the fields she used to walk with her father before he died. I remember when I was very young, while being driven through the country roads outside of Hinckley, we sometimes passed through a little village where there was an old house with a small yard with two old pumps for diesel and petrol. I can’t remember the name of the village, so I can't provide images of the likely fields. That house with the fuel pumps is where Lydia grew up. Her walks with Daddy in the nearby fields are also echoed in the Country Park scene. Fourth, that Country Park in Cleethorpes, where she walked with the last of the three men to have accompanied her across grass. Here she lies down on the grass with Joshua as she did in the recreation ground with Alex, thirty-two years previously. The distraction of her dead-bird trauma prevents any comparison with the prior occasion coming to her mind, and she is thus able to share a tender moment with Joshua.
Fifth, the glade at Weelsby Woods. I took some artistic license with the layout of it in the book and moved the glade with a spinney south (north in the inverted image here) to where there is a glade but it doesn't have a spinney. I don't know why it had to have a spinney in the middle. I just like the word 'spinney'. It reminds me of exploring out-of-bounds countryside with a couple of mates when I was about eleven years old.
The glade is crossed twice by Lydia, once in daylight to bury the gun, and again at night to retrieve it to somehow avenge her tragic loss, a loss she begins to properly grieve for there. Whereas Alex had apparently ‘saved’ Lydia on the college playing fields, and Joshua had begun to genuinely ‘save’ her in the Country Park, in that Weelsby Woods glade that night, as devastated as she was, she finally had the resolve, and reclaimed the means, to take possession of her own freedom. Importantly, I believe, without the aid of any man.