There seems no reason for it. No animals to pen in, nothing to keep out. Closure for the sake of it. A modern-art metaphor for Brexit maybe. Except it’s been here as long as I have. And it has no purpose. Or not one I can fathom. Indeed, we are kindred spirits.
Not least in that it always does its best to stay open. It doesn’t swing back automatically. It stubbornly stays open. People have to go out of their way to close the gate, as they’ve all been rightly trained to do around here, where the Countryside Code is a genetic folk memory. As it is for me. It’s a gate and gates should be closed.
But, for ten years now, I’ve been leaving this gate open. Twice a day, most days for ten years. (And, in all that time, it has always been closed by someone in the hour or so between my walk out and my walk home).
A few weeks ago, the gatepost that holds it shut was broken, vandalised maybe. By a freedom fighter, maybe. Who knows. Today, as I wandered past, them good old volunteers of the Shifnal Pathfinders were replacing the gatepost.
As with every Tuesday, we swapped hellos as they patted Bobby.
“I’ve never been sure what the point of this gate is.” I said.
“Nope, nor us” they said.
And then they shrugged and carried on anyway, like a cast of characters out of a Magnus Mills novel.
This, of course, is of no real import to the nation, but this morning, to me, in that moment, it felt like it might be….