Everyone told me that Arbor Low, toppled stone circle and barrowful of bones, was a place of bad vibes. So of course I had to go. Sunday was sunny and bright, the kind of day that makes you ache to get out of the house. Chris drove us into the countryside along a series of narrowing and increasingly rutted trails, following the Satnav because we still foolishly haven’t gotten round to buying a map. Yes, that’s right. We’re those idiots, charging into the unknown, relying on Google Maps and Chris’ uncanny homing pigeon abilities to save us.
So we found Arbor Low, and the cheeky farmer trying to charge an access toll because you have to walk through their field to get there. The circle is on high ground, and the surrounding earthwork is imposing, giving a sense of shadowed claustrophobia to the central ring of stones. To induce claustrophobia on top of a moor, under a beautiful blue sky, is quite a feat. The rest of the landscape has such a feeling of expansiveness, entering the circle is like feeling a cloud cover the sun. Each stone lies flat in the grass, toppled perhaps by witch-fearing medieval folk or just the ravages of time. The wind whips around the circle, the head-high raised earthworks somehow offering no shelter at any angle. Sheep wander freely, and some hikers sat happily picnicking on one of the stones. That seemed like a bad idea. Too many ghosts for sure, and maybe they’re contagious. The least evil-feeling place was, surprisingly, the round barrow forming part of the earthworks, where archeologists have found human remains and grave goods. They also found human remains in the centre of the circle. Human sacrifices? Honoured burials? The neolithic equivalent of someone doing Black Mass in your favourite cathedral? It’s a mystery.
The feeling of sorrow is there. A similar melancholy to ruined churches, but with more than a touch of enmity. 4000 years is a heavy weight of history. So now there’s a place which could have been beautiful, now haunted by ghosts and hostile weeping, out there on the moors. It’s cold and lonely at Arbor Low.
For more fascinating historical info on this place, click here. They seem to know their stuff, and cite a fascinating array of historical sources.
As for myself, maybe I’ll do a cleansing ritual just in case. The mourning of the Earth is not to be trifled with.
I went to town yesterday, and saw this. I was actually shocked, and I am very rarely shocked. Nor am I one of those people who declares shock to try and stir up outrage. But this medicine is messed up. It is marketed completely and deliberately at people (women, specifically) with eating disorders.
I had eating disorders from age 15 to 19 or something like that (my memory of teenage years is mercifully fuzzy) so I know. I still have some part of me, which is ever alert to weight and food weirdness. This particular thing has so many things wrong, which put together, add up to a very definite conclusion.
There is a skinny body in the background. There is no reason for this, at all. No other reflux medicine has similar packaging. The body is androgynous, with pronounced neck and collar bones, in a faded grey. It’s all very ‘thinspo’.
That it says ‘low calorie’ rather than ‘sugar free’. Who worries about the calories in their Gaviscon? Anorexics, that’s who. Diabetics (and parents of hyperactive children) are concerned with sugar specifically, and so usually products are labelled ‘sugar free’. Not many people think ‘Oh dear, I’m carrying a few extra pounds, I should change my diet a bit… I better cut down on the antacids!’
Starving and throwing up both make you really need this product. Marketing team know this. Hell, I still need this product (although please, not caramel flavour), even many years later. (Although maybe the cider isn’t helping either.)
Caramel flavour? Because real sweets bring too much guilt, this is your compensation. Yes, EDs are fun aren’t they.
The text is pink. I know it’s fucked up, but pink is still considered the girliest colour, and eating disorders are stereotyped as a girl disease. Acid reflux in general is not thought of as a ‘feminine issue’. Why would they try to narrow down a wide market by being so weirdly specific? Because marketing is sexist, of course.
The eating disordered population is growing fast. According to charity Beat, 6.4% of the population shows signs of an eating disorder, and the number of inpatient hospital admissions is increasing by 7% year on year. Sub-clinical body image and eating problems are widely prevalent, with up to two thirds of adults suffering negative body image. So it does make financial sense to market to the eating disordered.
After all, what do you think the diet industry is?
I never thought that Wilkos were evil. I know they are just another capitalist conglomerate, but somehow they always gave off a nicer vibe than the other massive chain stores. Who knows why they have made this product? Like chocolate flavoured Ex-Lax, it is inexplicable in its weirdness.
I have a fear of things with disproportionately long, fragile-looking legs. Daddy longlegs, craneflies and harvestmen send me into shrieking fits. I’m not generally a screaming girl, and indeed, I don’t generally have phobias, but damn no. They creep me out, fill me with a visceral, crawling sense of appalled disgust and horror.
I remember when I discovered that Japanese Spider Crabs existed. I was not overjoyed.
Luckily, they are pretty unlikely to ever cross my path, and I sure as hell aren’t going to look for them. Knowing about them, and the freakish squidthing, and many other uglies that I am not linking here because I refuse to even google them, just increase the general sense that there are numerous horrors in the world, waiting. Waiting to crawl on me, with their creepy, ugly legs.