The first sign they came to was halfway up the wall, buried beneath years of paint.
It was Victorian, as old as the house into which it was embedded; a memory of a time when it meant something to take time, effort and pride to make signage. Signage that was there for one reason and one alone. Nobody would normally look for it; most wouldn’t even see it.
But there it sat, bold as cast iron, giving information to the world and no-one.
Further on, another sign pointed the way.
It was a different direction than the one they wanted to go in, but its instructions were clear, very clear.
There seemed no reason for the diversion, though. The road was empty in both directions, no hint of closure. But they were conscientious and set off in the direction the sign was pointing, unsure whether, in fact, that would get them to the destination they were hoping for.
A gate barred their way, a third sign informing them what lay beyond.
But was it an Abbey or was it a Farm? They had previously seen a sign for Street Road, which was muddling in itself, and this just added to their confusion.
Beyond the gate was a path, but they were on the outskirts of a town, and there was no farm in sight, let alone any building of religious significance.
Still they made their way on, hoping against hope that where they were heading, what they were doing, was right.
Another sign, and one whose message always seemed to cause chaos.
Social distancing was a new concept. Years had gone by and people had slowly but surely gotten used to being more tactile. Then things had changed, and distance became the new close.
New road layouts were always a hazard, particularly as the signs tended to stay in place long after new became old.
So they carried on, taking extra care and being overly vigilant, hoping that the end was in sight, metaphorically as well as geographically.