Wednesday, 23 September 2009

today’s bright shiny fashionable innovation is tomorrow’s forgotten rusting relic

old coach being reclaimed by nature in peak district scrapyard

interior of old car rotting in situOver the last thirty years or so a field at Coplow Dale in Derbyshire has become an automotive graveyard. Bought very cheaply by the farmer and his family and run for a while until they became immoveable or unroadworthy, or just acquired for scrap value alone, many of the vehicles were simply left to rust in peace where they died, quite a few with the keys still in the ignition. Ever since that final turn of the crankshaft, Nature has been slowly and silently reclaiming each one of them. Nettles, bushes, trees and lichen now grow where once sat proud and smartly attired new owners, some enjoying perhaps the admiring and even envious gaze of their passengers. All across the field such heights of fashionable desirability have collapsed into the ground and are being taken apart by the impartial processes of rust and weathering, which are singularly incapable of being impressed by former glories. Physics, chemistry and biology take no note of history. Story is a human prerogative.

And what stories could these vehicles tell? What human dramas of joy, sorrow, anger and love have unfolded within them? What moments of passion, pain, delight and despair have they carried or occasioned? On these questions the decaying vehicles are as silent now as they were impassive when new. Such memory is ultimately held by God alone.

Why then do so many of us invest so much of ourselves in such things? Their very transience might cause us to reflect on timescales, values and eternity. Would we rather be remembered for what we have owned or for how we have loved, cared for and encouraged others? Which of these has a more persisting and persuasive value?

A world based on the acquisitive ethics of capitalism is heading for the junk yard of rusting dreams and rotten values. A globally informed and locally enacted concern for People and the Planet surely counts for more than an inventory of possessions and a tick-list of fashionable brands?

How to live a good life is the human conundrum which the Bible seeks to unfold. At the heart of this question is God. Time honoured and impervious to age, weathering, fads or fashions, this divine wisdom both informs and shapes our quest for meaning, value and purpose in life. Consider this passage from Proverbs chapter 2:

ford escort rotting into the groundGood friend, take to heart what I'm telling you; collect my counsels and guard them with your life. Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom; set your heart on a life of Understanding. That's right—if you make Insight your priority, and won't take no for an answer, searching for it like a prospector panning for gold, like an adventurer on a treasure hunt, believe me, before you know it Fear-of-God will be yours;  you'll have come upon the Knowledge of God. And here's why: God gives out Wisdom free, is plainspoken in Knowledge and Understanding. He's a rich mine of Common Sense for those who live well, a personal bodyguard to the candid and sincere. He keeps his eye on all who live honestly, and pays special attention to his loyally committed ones. So now you can pick out what's true and fair, find all the good trails! Lady Wisdom will be your close interior of old car being reclaimed by naturefriend, and Brother Knowledge your pleasant companion. Good Sense will scout ahead for danger, Insight will keep an eye out for you.

This is not hypothetical or speculative. It comes from the very depths of human faith experience and is tried, tested and trusted. Countless human stories testify to the veracity and promise of this ancient wisdom. It is to be treasured. And that is exactly what Jesus does as he teaches his disciples that God’s Kingdom of Heaven is to be discovered and built up in the here and now of our present struggles and delights.

As ever Jesus gets straight to the point. In Matthew 6:19-21 he says: Do not storold wolseley rotting awaye up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

And where the heart is, love is – and where love is found, there is God. As we treasure one another we discover the treasure that is God’s gift and God’s presence. Right here and now.

And this is one fashionable gift which cannot rust into oblivion.



old austin rusting into the ground


  1. nice photos - and a thoughtful message.. Of course HDR photography is the shiny new innovation of the moment - it too will pass and be tomorrow's rusting polaroid film! :-)

  2. Touche! Thanks for a great comment and an informed photographic eye. Started my day with a smile. Do you blog yourself or post your images?

  3. funny you should ask that, no, I don't blog - I have always been deficient in the "keeping-up-with-it-after-the-first-few-days-of-initial-enthusiasm stakes :-)

    but... the reason I was at your blog is because the missus found it and emailed the link telling me that this is the kind of thing I should do..

    reason she said that is that I am fairly recently into photography - and I have waffled on in the past about some kind of reflective photography blog linked to my faith - never seriously thinking I would actually do it..

    I guess she thought your blog - which is excellent! - would inspire me to think about it some more - which (indeed) it has!

    any tips?

    Every Blessing,


  4. Go for it Phil and listen to the encouragement of your wife. If you have previously thought about setting up a reflective photo-blog I'd say follow your inspiration and have a bash. Windows Live Writer is free and is perfectly adequate (formatting text and pictures can be fiddly so do use the preview tab to make sure that what you think is OK will actually be OK) and Blogger is a good, free platform on which to publish. I set mine to a fixed width of 800 pixels so that it will display correctly on most monitors. (Otherwise the formatting and layout you so carefully construct and see on your own monitor will look very different and messy on one with a different resolution.)
    Just have a go and blog the things which inspire you most. Leave comments on other blogs you like so that your own work can become better known.
    Do let me know how you get on.
    Every blessing
    love and peace, Dave

  5. hey dave, some great pictures here. this is actually my grandads farm, unfortunatly we have reclaimed the land now and only a few of the 74 cars!!! that were there still remain, however the bus remains mainly thanks to the tree growing through the engine. guess nature dosnt stop for anything.

    1. Hi Soitra very intersting article is the upside down BOND minicar stil lying around per chance Id like to liberate the bumper Thanks Colin 07950 384 766

  6. The old coach a Bedford SB Duple registered HHE874 was new to Globe of Barnsley in March 1955 later went into the ownership of Great Longstone Fishing Club (it still has their name on it)who presumably used it for transport to fishing matches. The farmer got it from them. Recently there has been a posting on a facebook site stating that the farmer now wishes to sell the Bedford. Do you have a name and contact for the farmer?