Skip to main content

Walk No.24

Route: Blackpool to some outer rural village...
Duration: 2 Days

When I was 13 my best friend and I were planning what to do for the forthcoming half term break at school. Should we go nocturnal or go camping?  We were unsupervised, wild and fairly unhinged but we had the self awareness to know being nocturnal would be a shit idea.
So we went camping.
We got a bus somewhere - I'm not sure we actually knew where - got off and walked until we found a dingly dell fitting the preconceived notion of what an ideal camping pitch should look like (neither of us had experienced much camping before this...).  We had with us a small Action-Man play tent, borrowed from my friend's neighbour - who we nicknamed Mark Twain for some reason - about eight jumpers each and some tinned Alphabet Spaghetti.  Maybe we had blankets, but I have a memory of being constantly cold, so I doubt it.
That night we were invaded by local boys who all smelled of ale and wouldn't leave us alone.  The weather took care of the 'tent' and we eventually relocated to squat the night in the belfry of the nearby village church.  The boys eventually got bored of our lack of femininity and exclusive private jokes (and no doubt, our unhingedness...) and left us to the night.
Early in the morning we explored the tiny village, settling down in front of the only shop to boredly await it's opening.  My friend decided to open the tins of spaghetti which were horrible and  - in what we thought was a stroke of genius - began to write out phrases on the steps with the alphabet shapes.
It wasn't long before a local policeman came to ask us to leave.  He went through the routine of asking our names.  To my horror my friend said my name and so in disgust I said hers.  He escorted us to the edge of the village, pointed us in the direction of the seedy metropolis that had spewed us forth and we began the long haul home.
To save carrying our baggage we wore all eight of the jumpers....
We arrived at her house that evening.  Sitting on her sofa with bowls in front of us (puking probably due to the untreated water we had drunk out of a brook) we watched a programme on TV where one of my all-time favourite entertainers, Tommy Cooper, died in front of us on the stage.
If I told you this was an unusual event in my childhood I would be lying.  We constantly wandered off on strange, unsafe and crazy excursions.
The reason I'm posting it here is because I want to use it as an example of remembering a journey, a walk. And look at what it is that reminds me, because despite not being able to remember exactly what the place was called that we landed upon I can tell you lots of details about the experience.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Walk No.3

Route: Bus stop to Riviera Centre, Torquay
Duration: 10 mins
Time of Day: morning


Tom - My eldest son.  A walking companion, a witness to the walk.  We talk as we observe things, nothing changes whether they are 3 or 18 but the pendulum of knowledge has swung so it is him who informs me now. We talk about documenting the walks.  He talks of distance and time as horizontal planes and then I begin to think of the movement as mass going through these planes or axis.  It's a way to represent motion.

Promenade - Torbay in all it's sunny glory this morning.  I remember my 'home' town, Blackpool.  How I was obsessed with the idea of Promenading and Piers for quiet some time.  Contrived leisure walking....

Scenic Route - We're not sure of the way and at one point there's a winding scenic route that may possibly be a dead end or the straight road (up close with the traffic) I'm happy to report that my kid is a fellow 'wayfarer': we took the scenic route....



Pitc…

Walk No.5

Route: Sharpham lane up and down
Duration: 20 mins
Time of day: v early morning

Thinking - behind thinking, behind thinking, behind thinking - thinking about all the layers of thinking.

Shorthand - a mark encapsulating thinking = shorthand.  And how to encapsulate my walks, how to create a shorthand.

Cartesian  - My mind flows faster than my hand, I begin to separate the hand from the mind, writing is not an easy extension of mind.  Is this an experience of  a cartesian mind/soul-body split...... How can I imagine the hand and mind being whole.  Does drawing in an instinctive way achieve this?

Poverty - A recurring thought, as I often walk past grandeur, materialism and plain old rich people's houses - nose up against the window -  of the privilege of leisure walking, the Idler, the Flaneur, and walking/wandering as a frivolous endeavour, an activity reserved for the wealthy.  What purpose is there to walking if not to get somewhere?  Walter Benjamin used walking to research.   I pond…

Walk No.1

Route: Bus Stop to PCA
Duration: 5 Mins
Time of Day: Morning

I didn't expect or intend to be documenting this particular part of my day.  Things/events revealed themselves to me and if they gave me food for thought or felt significant I then tried to remember them, tried to capture or bottle them.  It's not practical to write as I walk.  So I began to attach one word to each finger and kept repeating them, reminding me of the shopping list game.....  I went to the shops and I bought some butter.  I went to the shops and I bought some butter and a pint of milk.  I went to the shops and I bought some butter and a pint of milk and a bottle of gin.....

I chanted to myself:

Commuter Tide
8.40
Clothes
Subway
Channels

This is what I remember from those word prompts:

I took the bus instead of the train to Plymouth as an experiment.  The results weren't great as I emerged from the bus with motion nausea (trying to read on a rural bus is not a good idea).
People are everywhere, the …