‘The Rows’

Row 99. ‘Kitty Witches’ they call you.

For the rowdy gang of women? Old Statues? Witchcraft or devil cats? A reminder of women, their power. By mantel or street, in smokehouse or upon harbour. Whilst men rule in the waves, these women rule the land.

Touch one wall to another, homes and families woven by brick and sea. Murmurs catch in the coastal breeze, rushing through the lanes. A cleanse upon the slums.

These rows, built to hold life, to defend against attack from unworthy humans and an unforgiving sea. Where there is life there is colour; dark alleys to send shivers up a spine and warm fireplaces to soothe a laboured day.

Slum clearance and war, like a knife cut through the net of this community. Flattened all that was held and released all that was the Silver Darling’s family, like smoke from the smokehouse, far into the distance – a fine mist of a memory.

To happen upon this mist today is to happen upon the smell of smoked herring, permeating the brick and hanging in the air. A musty relic of maritime history.



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