Geograph Blog ::

Spring is coming

By David Howard

Although the calendar (read 'government') means the clocks don't go forward till the final day in March this year it's now not getting too dark for photos till 6pm, so ignoring their method of trying to cheat time and beginning my 2013 plans, even if I haven't yet carried any out yet. I was pleased to get the first medium trip a few weeks ago to the edge of Reading, as it made a little splash in a previously green void, and luckily since when I've been available more pre-Worboys road signs have turned up not too far away, and used them to cover as many green areas around them not yet covered. So following Reading SU7476 : Houses on Playhatch by David Howard each week the pre-Worboys fairy has provided them in Jordans SU9791 : The green at Jordans by David Howard (one I had but a variation and one on a public road), Addlestone TQ0563 : Westerham Close, New Haw by David Howard(a repeat but far better condition, plus a few old council signs), and today a matching pair in Windsor, which were sitting on the ground when I got there as the brackets had become loose, they looked the same but not quite right flat on the floor.

Without tempting fate with location details, the usual record breaking is all in the book now to follow. Maximum distance north and east, maximum distance between the most distant points (currently 122.8 miles), another myriad, which will bring the west maximum automatically if I do. Of course each year the distances become greater, with little under 60 miles now to make the slightest dent in my stats, the maximum single trip has been just over 70 miles with the digital setup as the crow flies, given the limit south is just about 50 miles before hitting the coast, so have to make it up by going further the opposite direction. The London congestion charge stymied my old A2/A20 trips TQ6257 : Junction of Grange Road and Maidstone Road, Platt by David Howard as I can't use the bridges over the river except one, which is clearly not worth joining the rest of the mugs while everyone using them for work (not many others would bother for pleasure I suspect) carries on as before. I've found one workround which is hoping to manage TR again TM0100 : Bridgewick Road before Brook farm by David Howard, as I'd like a little more coverage around the edges, as my entire range of TR, TM, SZ and TV are coastal by two squares in, although TV is barely bigger by design. TM is estuarial this end, and very happy the Essex marshes stick out just far enough to get there, as when I planned to go right past them on the A12 I have already recorded the cause of a diversion elsewhere or nowhere.

Meanwhile, being self employed as well as a ferocious collector, work has been picking up recently, meaning I don't feel guilty holding back the newly possible trips after a five month nature imposed close season, as earning money trumps any other activity to wipe out any trace of guilt I'm only wandering round the local park instead of taking to the A127. When I had more energy and a far bigger car I'd drive up to 500 miles in a day (Burry Port in Wales and back on the M4 for their last Edmondson train tickets before they stopped them) for old train tickets, but every decade of life has removed some physical energy which is replaced by mental power, and although many friends and family whizz around in their 80s I am not one of them despite being three decades younger. But these gifts are all handed out differently, and if I get tired more easily now compared to others it's beyond my scope, although I can lift 80 kg up to my waist (greater than my own weight, which is the main criterion in weightlifting) in the gym as stamina and muscular strength are two different qualities.

Looking back to the 90s and first half of the 2000s I still whizzed around, and didn't even take the camera half the time as I still remembered and regretted the loss of the old train tickets I used to look for treasure wherever I went since 1970. And unless I went abroad, when I did I took a few railway stations (the next best thing) and any nice houses I saw as I always had. The biggest range for ages was a few days spent near Moreton-in-Marsh SP2032 : High Street, Moreton in Marsh by David Howard , when I went to Stratford on Avon on day one, Bath on day two, Oxford on day three and Wooton Wawen on day four. Of course had I been on Geograph I'd have covered most of my entire mapping ambitions in a few days, and at least took photos in all corners partly as there were stations and a steam railway there, although it got dark very quickly in Bath and the camera let light in the few I managed beforehand. The other trick, started by my father in the early 80s as I was so far out on Gunnislake station platform, was taking me by the station name. It is a line only kept as it's so hard to cross the Tamar from Devon to Cornwall by road they keep the tiny branch line to allow people to do it by rail. So there's a second set of photos not eligible for my page regardless of me standing by random stations from there to Hythe in Essex, as well as Brussels.

Talking of Brussels my earlier collection was foreign coverage, and having only missed Portugal on a cruise in 1974 as they had Cholera, so stopped just north of the border instead of Lisbon or Porto (as if the germs knew the difference) and had to make do with sailing less than a mile down the entire Portuguese coast on the way to Morocco. But that followed the opposite situation when my penfriend in Denmark came down with the flu and sent me home early, but my grandpa said he'd come over and we had another week in Copenhagen including two trips to Sweden earlier that summer. But the problems when travelling abroad can be 1000 times worse than in Britain, and after a few later on left it as the exception rather than the rule, and discovered the day trip in 1982 when we spent a lovely afternoon on the beach in Calais, which was as good as any in the world and far better than most opposite on the south coast here, and followed with a couple more in the 90s (one more in the 80s found the weather too bad for them to run so we took the little railway to Dungeness where I did take a good few pictures).

But just like the hundreds of pre-Worboys signs I passed almost daily in London and didn't think to take photos, we can't turn the clock back and do what we should have at the time, and back then travel meant train tickets, and tended to use the camera properly only when going abroad, even though a few trips appear to have been without the camera which I still can't understand. So looking back at my entire live's travel history I am now looking forward, at my current collection of red squares for Geograph. Eventually I'll find a method on Paint to crop the map and then try and enlarge it when I've done enough to warrant it, and print out a nice record on paper, which I don't even know is possible using our little map program on others. I would definitely add my entire life's archive if I could use a different map for it, as it would just be small spots across the entire country, plus the ones I have added now as I have digital photos in those squares already now. I know we can't have extra profiles and currently no way to have two maps for different things, but I suppose the ones I do have are so rough most wouldn't be much of an addition besides recording my early life, but do have some good steam railways if little else.

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Tue, 19 Mar 2013 at 02:13
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geotagged! SU9876
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