Geograph Blog ::

Plan ahead continued

By David Howard

I remember my previous hobby, from 1970 to around 1996, when the last privately issued small train tickets left the national rail system on the Isle of Wight ferry. Being much younger and fitter, as well as various reasonably powered cars and friends without families I'd go off into the distance to get tickets from wherever they were issued, knowing they were destined for removal from 1982 onwards, finally leaving the last national station in 1988 at South Merton as far as I know. A handful of private agencies kept them on for a couple of years, and the Isle of Wight ferry until 1996, so rather than be forced to pack in completely used my wide network of staff and collectors to learn what was available where. Needless to say the last thing I thought of was to take a camera, and just have a few videos when my friend with a camera came with me.

9 years later and I got a digital camera, no longer limited by film or waiting for prints, and mopped up every interesting view I knew locally, and when I finished then started travelling around taking pre-Worboys road signs I discovered in 2008 despite being surrounded by them all my life. Then with Streetview I was able to add all my back catalogue here as otherwise I only dared upload certainties, and even then often found strange differences between where they were and where I'd put them, even though in a car I can read a map far better than any satnav (I don't end up in rivers, one way streets backwards or not know which road is better than another regardless of directness). Once complete the new challenge was to populate my green map, as all my interesting destinations were randomly scattered on film while the digital were closely packed to the west of London. With a small and economical car I can't mop up motorways like the Proton or Mazda 626, so combined with the need to stop every mile or so to take photos was no longer able to do the sort of unlimited driving I did for the train tickets. I do get help sometimes as well so have done the dubious experiment of poking the camera out of the window along a motorway and seeing the results. Of course without a fancy camera you won't freeze movement as some clearly do for hundreds of miles, but managed many new squares for the few successes before calling it a day on that idea.

2012 began for me when the clocks went forward, the winter months mopping up local squares not previously covered before the sun went down at 3.30pm or so, and continued last year's clock face project, plus the new myriad count. I got the basic home boxes last year with a good deal of help, and decided to work on the clock face this time round, making sure I had a trip in all the main compass points regardless of traffic. This is where the plans fall apart, and whatever you aim to do something can get in the way. This can be from the recent unprecedented jam along the A12 at Brentwood to the cleaner wanting to come on a different day and having to wait to let her in. I have a list of routes, and am now down to the last few, which is pretty good going for only June, and the next was hoping to be the alternative to Colchester, actually closer and has two added myriads rather than one as on a node. That was scotched by said cleaner situation, but did have the other trip north which didn't involve driving round London for nearly 20 miles before the open road but open road almost outside my front door, and made Hitchin in about an hour before heading as far north as possible in the time allowed. I initially thought due north from Biggleswade, but saw the map needed a detour to the A1 (this was why) TL1843 : The A1 flies over Hitchin Street, Biggleswade by David Howard with few places to stop and a possible error finding it, but the B road to Potton went north as well so did the same amount but there instead.

TL2556 : The B1040 near Abbotsley by David Howard

Having either bored, confused, or both everyone on the discussion about how many miles can you fit in a myriad (88) and the relation between myriads and distance (there hardly is one) it meant I'd actually gone some way further from my red bit going towards Cambridge (10 miles west) than TR/TM. In fact I could have gone to Wolverhampton or so and added about 80 miles to my coverage and still stayed in the same SP box. But that little number at the bottom of the blurb is mesmerising, and although I know perfectly well you can have 4 myriads counted and a spread of 175 miles in two directions, and 8 with a dual coverage of 63 miles each way that little number seems to mean quite a lot. So technically I'd improved the area but you needed to work it out, while two more myriads had been counted for me. I'm not moaning as once I'd done the myriad trip the north one was next, so I just changed the order. Currently I've only had a day or two a week free to make the long trips, one only last week, and that was why I couldn't do it a different day, and down to one or two next week as Tuesday is the Jubilee Bank Holiday and unless it's raining (no fun for driving or photos either) half of London will also be going to Southend so probably safer to hold that back. TQ8685 : Public gardens on Western Esplanade by David Howard

I am very motivated when on a mission, and although one good trip is really as good as another if you try and specify too closely for anything you will always be wrecked and disappointed sooner or later, so really need to go with the flow and take what comes.

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Sun, 3 Jun 2012 at 00:23
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geotagged! TQ8685
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