Prisoners of Progress
The Remoteness of the Modern World" - watercolour - 24 x 36 cm
I think this is my favourite of the many ruined cottages scattered throughout the Flow Country. It has a wonderful position on top of a hill, with views that stretch for many miles. It also had a colourful red tin roof, but a lot of it has been stripped away by the wind now. Once the roof has gone, and the weather can get in, these ruins soon start to fall down.
The title of the painting comes from my thoughts as I looked at the ruin: I thought about how no-one would ever live there again. There is no electricity or running water and the nearest tarmac road is several miles away, so it would be considered very remote now. However, not so long ago there was a real community in this area, and I don't think they would have felt so isolated. This was their world and the place where they lived out their lives. They would have been largely self-sufficient, but I expect they got some of their supplies from passing pedlars. It would probably have taken all day to get to the nearest shop and get back home again. One of their descendants told me that the school teacher would come and stay for a few days and then move on to the next household. The local church minister would travel around in a similar way, although apparently they would often hide when they saw him coming!
We see these places as remote today, but perhaps we build our own prisons.