Every now and then I receive letters from readers asking me to give some account of the geography of Hooting Yard and its hinterland. I have a standard reply to such requests, which is to say that through diligent study of the writings you could draw a map yourself. It would involve very close reading, being on the alert for clues and pointers, but all the information any half-competent cartographer needs is present in the texts.
Today, I am going to make things a little easier for aspiring mappers by saying a few words about the train journey from Hooting Yard to that ill-starred fishing village O’Houlihan’s Wharf. Last week it would have been fairly pointless to do so, but the exciting news is that the branch line, long fallen into desuetude, is running again. Using the proceeds from a winning raffle ticket (number 666, beige) a team of volunteers has reopened the line as a cross between a “countryside heritage family leisure facility” and a “cutting-edge arts praxis installation”. I have taken those two phrases from their brochure, a shabby piece of work duplicated on a Gestetner machine, designed perhaps to look like one of Dobson’s out of print pamphlets. Someone has gone to the trouble of hand-colouring all the covers, though, which shows the fanatical devotion of these enthusiasts.
This episode was recorded on the 26th March 2009. A complete transcript of this episode can be found on Frank Key’s Hooting Yard website. Accompanying Hooting Yard On The Air, the three publications Gravitas, Punctilio, Rectitude & Pippy Bags, Unspeakable Desolation Pouring Down From The Stars and Befuddled By Cormorants are available for purchase.