Tuesday, 14 April 2009

More Disappearing Sounds

I went to Wells-next-the-Sea for a few days and enjoyed the change in the soundscape, especially the relative absence of cars and the fuller, louder dawn chorus. I stayed in an old cottage with a mix of features. The modern outside bathroom, which must have superseded the privy which still sits at the bottom of the garden, is now a utility room having been replaced, in its turn, by facilities in the house. It still boasts a fabulous high-level cistern, however, and it occurred to me how seldom I come across these once-familiar objects. Like members of endangered plant and animal species certain sounds become increasingly rare until they finally disappear. Is the high level flush heading for extinction?

I love this sound that once I took for granted. The metallic creaking of the chain and clank of the mechanism. The silent moment of energy, unleashed but without realisation. And finally the joyous rush of water down the pipe and into the bowl. When the spectacle is over there is the steady re-filling of the tank before the return to silence as the cistern waits patiently, like a spider on a web, for the next event.


  1. I couldn't agree more! Wonderful, a sound that I remember from my childhood. I hope you captured it with one of those roving mikes you have...

  2. I didn't but when I go back to collect the things I left behind (duh!) I shall bring the sound home with me.

  3. Ok, I'll come clean (geddit?) the cistern was made in 1939 in Manchester and was bought from a salvage yard in 1998 sandblasted and repainted. We call it the throne room.