I tried to follow the outline I had drawn as closely as possible.
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As we've recently been discussing lines, I thought flaneurs within reach of London might be interested in this: One-dimensional maps: why an old form of mapmaking deserves a revival. Monday 3 June, 7:30pm, Swedenborg Hall, London, UK.
I've seen a previous talk by this speaker, and would thoroughly recommend it.
A couple of years ago, as a test of the walkability of London, I set out from Trafalgar Square — the official centre of the town — one Sunday morning to see how far I could get without crossing a road or going over the same place twice. It was almost 17 miles before I ended up going round in a circle.
The author also says:
I know of no other capital city where it is possible to do this. That sounds like a challenge to me! flaneurs, do you think this would work in your city?
Here is the second theme for your June challenge: lines.
To recap: I will post sets of instructions grouped into three themes. To complete the challenge, all you need to do is make an attempt during June to follow at least one set of instructions from each theme. A small prize (details still being arranged) will be offered to everyone who does at least one theme!
You may report back on your attempt at the "lines" theme either in a comment to this post, or in a top-level post of your own. Your report can be as brief or as lengthy as you like.( Theme II: Lines: Four sets of instructions under the cut. )
Please do let me know if anything in the above is confusing or needs more explanation.
In our Introductions post (which people are still welcome to comment on!), azuire and I had a small conversation about constraints. I'm aware of course that not everyone wants to (or is able to) put constraints on their expeditions, but for those who do, I was thinking of running some kind of constraint challenge here at flaneurs, probably during June.
The idea is that we could make a collection of possible constraints, and then see how these play out for different people in different cities. One very simple example of this is described by jodi: "After you leave your house, you turn right, and then take the first road on the left, then the first road on the right, and so on." I imagine that this works very differently in cities (or areas of cities) that are built on a grid plan, and those that aren't. Another example would be to always change direction as soon as possible after you see something red.
What interesting constraints can you come up with? Which ones have you tried, and found to work well? What constraints would you be interested in seeing someone else try out in a city you've never been to? If you use any mobility/assistive devices, what constraints have you found to (or do you think would) work well for you?
And, in general, would you be interested in participating in this challenge?
After a ridiculously long gap of over two years, I finally did the next walk in my A-Z project a couple of weeks ago in the company of ewan. The project had stalled in Harefield, partly because Harefield is a bit of a faff to get to, and partly because this walk was going to involve a lot of fields, and green stuff, and no street signs, so I kept putting it off.
We met for lunch (photo) at the Harefield pub, and discussed the route. Ewan wanted to drop by a pub that he needed to photograph, the Breakspear Arms on the edge of Ruislip, and this seemed quite plausible given where the footpaths appeared to go on our maps. (Incidentally, Ewan had already had a bit of a wander before we met up, getting photographs of other pubs in the area. He has a project going to photograph every pub and ex-pub in Greater London, which is well worth a look if you're interested in that sort of thing.)
Heading down Church Hill to the point where we would leave civilisation and enter the countryside OMG, I spotted some interesting-looking little houses on one side of the road (pictured above, click through for larger version and more links). These turned out to be the Countess of Derby's almshouses, built in the seventeenth century for poor women of the parish of Harefield. They're Grade II* listed, and still owned by the charity set up by the Countess, though they were converted to bedsits in the 1950s.
Shortly after this, we left the road and headed down a footpath past St Mary's church (photo) and the Anzac Cemetery, where over a hundred members of the First Australian Imperial Force are buried. During World War I, casualties from this force were treated at the newly-established Harefield Hospital, and links remain between Harefield and Australia to this day.
Then we walked over some fields (photo) and through Bayhurst Wood (photo), and it was all very non-urban. We even met some horses (photo), and discovered an impressively non-smelly compost maturation site (photo of sign and some commentary).
The abovementioned Breakspear Arms turned out to be a fairly uninteresting '70s-built Greene King pub, though the pub sign (Ewan's photo) is of some interest, as it depicts Nicholas Breakspear, who was born in the area around 1100 and was the only Englishman ever to become Pope.
This marked the western edge of Ruislip, which itself is one of the most westerly parts of Greater London. The area has a long history, appearing as a parish in the Domesday Book, and even today you can still see the remains of a Norman motte and bailey castle. We didn't go and see this, though we did walk past the Ruislip Manor Farm heritage centre (photo and some commentary) on our way to the J J Moons pub that marked the end of the walk, just opposite Ruislip Manor Station. I ate a very delicious salad (photo), and then headed home.
Next up: Ruislip Manor Station via Ruislip Lido to either Northwood Hills or Pinner. This will be on Monday 30 May (a Bank Holiday) — drop me an email if you'd like to come along. (I don't normally make these walks into a social occasion, so this may be your last chance for a while!)
[Image: To the left, a blank, circular white sign with a red border. To the right, a black-bordered white rectangle painted onto brickwork as a street sign, reading "Borough of Holborn / Leigh Place / E.C.1."]
Taking inspiration from azuire's comment on the same post, I decided to
pick two streets that are alphabetically consecutive. I needed to get to Leicester Street, just off Leicester Square, to meet some friends, so decided to look at the index of my London A-Z and start my journey at whichever street was alphabetically next, and on the same page as (or an adjacent page to) my destination. This turned out (photo of A-Z index) to be Leigh Place in Holborn.
The first interesting discovery of the walk was actually on the way to the starting point from Chancery Lane Station — the entrance to the south courtyard of the Parish Church of Saint Alban the Martyr (photo and some extra info on the church). Unfortunately Leigh Place, just along the street from here, wasn't hugely exciting in itself, though the street sign (pictured above) is a little curious, since it references the (Metropolitan) Borough of Holborn, which hasn't existed since 1965 (the area is now part of the London Borough of Camden).
Wandering vaguely westwards and southwards, I passed the Cittie of Yorke on High Holborn (photo of pub sign and view down High Holborn towards the Gherkin), some decorative chimney pots on Chancery Lane (photo), and the Twinings Tea Museum on the Strand (photo). I also got to compare a City of Westminster lamp post (photo) with a St Martin-in-the-fields one (photo).
Passing a stand of Boris bikes, I thought it was worth photographing them since even though they're familiar to Londoners, they probably aren't to the rest of you (photo and some commentary). Then excitement struck! I walked past the premises where there used to be a really nice tea shop (which closed last year), and discovered that a new tea shop (photo) had appeared to fill the gap. So I had a pot of silver needles before continuing on my journey, which got increasingly tourist-filled from this point on, so I will stop here.