Monday 2nd: Ash are currently touring to promote releasing 26 singles in a year. (How quaint that bands still release singles.) The tour is 26 (see what they’ve done) UK dates – the A-Z series. So they started with A by playing Aldershot and are ending at Zennor in Cornwall. K was The Peel in Kingston. (In case you’re wondering X is in Exmouth). Well that’s only a couple of miles away from me (The Peel not Exmouth) and I don’t often get the chance to walk to and from a gig and I quite like Ash so I thought why not. (I did pub crawl to and stagger home from last year’s REM stadium gig at Twickenham – which is pretty much the only way I’d ever travel to a gig in Twickenham.) Also rather unusually these days for me I bought my 2 tickets from the excellent Banquet Records in cash from a real person.
The walk is a fairly standard suburban walk (well what do you expect in suburbia – mean streets and gang-bangers?) but has a couple of interesting quirks. (Well interesting if you’re interested in rights of way and public space I guess.) The first is a short cut through (or I suppose more accurately under) Norbiton station. There’s a pedestrian subway to allow access from one platform to another. It’s not on any maps (probably ‘cos it’s not a right of way) but I’ve never known it closed. Then there’s a route through the Cambridge Gardens estate to Cambridge Road. Again not on any maps but completely unbarred and unobstructed (streetmap). I’ve always found this sort of thing fun to investigate and explore and find it adds to the pleasure of urban walking. Ash were pretty good by the way, the venue is definitely intimate and I saw a coupla foxes on the way home.
Tuesday 3rd: A wet drizzly afternoon finds me down by the Thames in Wandsworth. I’m at one end (usually the finish) of the Wandle Trail. This 20 km (14 miles) route follows the path of the River Wandle from Croydon to the aforementioned Wandsworth.
I’m checking the route for possible inclusion in a box of walks for Andrew Duncan Publishing. I spend about 90 damp minutes checking road names, junctions and signs to work out what level of detail is necessary to make the walk enjoyable and easy to follow. As well as a London A to Z I’ve got a notebook, camera, an apple and my sansa clip (and today I’m mostly listening to the new Echo & the Bunnymen offering – The Fountain) – pretty much all a boy could need when out walking. I’m liking The Fountain ’cos it sounds like the old Echo stuff – that’s progress for ya.
Wednesday 4th: As I’m still looking for gainful employment I continue to live that Lidl lifestyle and every other Wednesday is sign-on day for me. My standing appointment at the local JobCentre Plus is 2ish (so giving me plenty of time to do some shopping first) and I nearly always take a relaxed stroll of about 2 km (just over a mile) through Canbury Gardens down the Thames Path to get there. It’s good to see not everyone is on the good ole rock ‘n’ roll as there’s still quite a lot of building going on near me.
The Metropolitan Walkers is a Ramblers group based in London and they organise at least one evening stroll a week. This week’s was a quick tour round some of London’s many war memorials. Clare was leading and I was back-marking (which sounds official but is a pretty easy gig all in all). The walk like all the others in that it starts and ends accessible to public transport. We always end up in a pub for a coupla drinks so it’s as much social as exercise. The walks are about 4 – 6 km (3 – 4 miles) in length, all free and open to the public and you don’t need any special gear. The walks are very popular (hence the back marker thing) and this week 30+ people turned up.
The rest of this week’s walking will shortly be available in ‘A walking week – part 2′ - so I hope y’all come back soon.
Radiohead – Harry Patch