Messengers – A walk from Harrow-on-the-Hill to Maida Vale, January 2014


IMG_3460“Cloudy in the west and it looks like rain”

Detective Inspector Wye of S Division took the witness stand:

“I was off duty and had been in Pineapple Nursery buying ranunculus bulbs with my wife when I heard a clamour and went out into the Edgeware Road to investigate. A two-wheeled chaise was being driven furiously towards London. I saw Constable Clouds lying a hundred yards from the turnpike, moaning. As I ran to help him the chaise ran in to the back of another vehicle which was dashed to atoms and the occupants thrown in to the road.… More

Friends Beyond

Friends Beyond.mp3

Maidstone to Bearsted,  Saturday 2 March 2013.

I suppose I had persuaded myself that this was work. A three-poet walk: Hardy, Thomas and Blunden (put like that they sound more like chartered accountants than poets).

Though more widely known as a novelist, Thomas Hardy turned to poetry in later life. His first volume, Wessex Poems (1898), was published when he was 58. Edward Thomas and Edmund Blunden are both poets associated with the First World War.… More

Lonely death of a renowned moor-walker

On the 5th September I continued my Colne Valley odyssey. On the train out a trendy asset manager/entrepreneur type with waxed handlebar mustachios was giving a presentation to some  pasty eating businessmen on a rail firm he’d bought from the liquidators. I was half listening, half reading The Last Tommy and half staring out of the window, wondering what Brunel would make of it all. I detrained with them at West Drayton where, five minutes’ walk from the railway,  I was surprised by something not at all unlike a long village green and a boarded up pub, The Swan, awaiting development in to houses.… More

Colne Valley Path

Last Wednesday (29th August) I had a wet walk along the Colne Valley Path from Staines – which had a nice looking market the afternoon I was there and food smells which made me hungry.

I found the river – Thames – and Lammas Park where I sheltered from a downpour and ate lunch standing up under the overhang of a shed covered in cobwebs. Then I walked across Staines Moor: an unexpectedly peaceful strip of land  sandwiched between the M25 and – give or take a reservoir or two – Heathrow Airport.… More

Another Girl in the Silk Stream

A beat-up walk yesterday (Wednesday 1st August) from Mill Hill Broadway to K-Town,  mostly on the foot-shredding Edgeware Road – Roman Watling Street.

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I followed the Barnet Millennium Walk signs through Lyndhurst Park alongside the old railway which is managed by the London Wildlife Trust. There were raspberries growing in the unkempt fringes and some ripe blackberries – I don’t remember ever eating them on the same walk but there we are.… More

Green Murder

I jumped on the Barking Bullet at the Oak – not at the platform but the bridge over the old town wall – where it slowed down to let a  goods train with 48 empty Maersk containers and keening breaks rumble off the line of love in to the permanently wifi-disabled Tottenham North Curve. I made sure to touch in and out at Stratford keeping all my belongings with me at all times on a platform sticky with fake tans and sliponned man-bags slinking off to watch the football.… More

Woolley’s Cottage

I went back to my old house at
Broad Strood today.
The footings remain
And the well
Whose water
Even I wouldn’t drink.

The drain to the septic tank has survived.
I used to love the smell especially in summer
Mixed with honeysuckle and azalea.

The gaffer coming out for a pipe
Silent under the stars
But the last couple of years
I was blind as a bat and
Deaf as a post.
Feckin’ useless the gaffer said
Only he is dead
Kind and dead
I lived for his smell
And his tread.… More

Route 22

Lea Valley in peace and war – Desire paths and a garlic harvest on the Mighty Dollis – Shed tears and steam clean up: winners and losers in the heritage industry – A good walk hosed: crazy golf in Theydon Bois.

Wednesday (4th April) to Cheshunt for a circular walk via Monkhams Hall. The best view in the Lea Valley – especially since the last semi-wilderness areas of the lower valley are now covered in circus tents, lego and gulag fencing.… More

London Clay

On Wednesday 8th March I did a kind of broken loop from Kensal Rise to Willesden Junction. As if I hadn’t had enough of mortality on Saturday (Highgate West Cemetery in spring sunshine), my first point of call was Kensal Green Cemetery in the rain. It seemed as though the whole world had just come to London to die – it is a very different vibe to Highgate. More of a working cemetery and still in private ownership.… More

A for horses

Wednesday (25th January) short stroll from Elstree over the south Hertfordshire escarpment which is the border of the former county of Middlesex. I joined the London Loop footpath out of Elstree station and climbed through suburbia to the ridgeway. Noted brick air shafts in field on Deacon’s Hill and also noted that I just can’t help myself noting bits of useless information. No sign at all of Grim’s Ditch – but I wasn’t looking very hard and after a while forgot I was looking for it.… More