Recent blog entries for MikeGTN

London's Other Orbitals: Walking the A110

I realised as I sat on the near-empty Northern Line train, shuddering noisily into the light somewhere in Finchley, that my previous visit to this part of the London had been a very long time ago. In fact my last traversal of this part of the Underground network was before I kept records of such things. In the mid-1990s I'd embarked on a project to cover as much of the Tube as I could - despite a crippling phobia regarding escalators - but this involved nothing more fastidious than marking the lines on a map. Now I was clanking into...

Syndicated 2017-05-06 22:05:00 from Lost::MikeGTN

London's Other Orbitals

I set out to write a fairly ordinary report on a long, satisfying walk I recently completed - and as the introduction grew, I knew I was in fact writing something else. A justification, a manifesto, or just a project plan perhaps - in any case an explanation of what led me to decide to walk along an uncelebrated North London A-road from somewhere to somewhere else. I didn't feel the need to justify this to anyone except perhaps myself - but I felt the uneasy stirrings of a project forming - and that's always dangerous. So, the ramblings below...

Syndicated 2017-05-06 21:05:00 from Lost::MikeGTN

Will Ashon - Strange Labyrinth

Most male mid-life crises follow similar and depressingly predictable patterns - they involve embarrassing encounters with much younger women, much faster cars and far more taxing physical pursuits than are ever strictly advisable. Then, somehow, they quietly slip into being either part of the subject's new, more insufferably identity - or perhaps simply disappearing, not to be mentioned by those who witness the manifold indignities. My own mid-life crises have been a little different - and in terms of lasting impact, somewhat more prosaic. If you discount my dash across the ocean to marry someone a continent away - who...

Syndicated 2017-04-21 18:04:00 from Lost::MikeGTN

Walking the Beam: An urban country ramble

It felt like a quite a while since I'd walked beside water... My journey to London had been sleepy and distracted. Relaxing didn't come easy this morning after a long and trying week, but as I made progress towards the start of my walk, I began to feel a little more alert. The routine was familiar from my attempts to walk the fringes of London: over to Liverpool Street, out to the suburbs, then a bus to the start of my walk - which had seemed to grow increasingly further from civilisation over the months of walking rivers. As I...

Syndicated 2017-04-01 22:04:00 from Lost::MikeGTN

There is an Arc: Walking the A503

I've written before about my early interest in roads - one that has never really gone away, and has often reawakened at times I've felt challenged or frustrated. That I now have a willing partner in crime who is happy to take sometimes quite lengthy excursions has meant that I've finally had the experience of driving on some of the roads I've mythologised over the decades. However, some roads are meant to be walked - roads which have existed in some form for hundreds if not thousands of years, which despite the layers of surface dressing, hide the oldest of...

Syndicated 2017-03-11 21:03:00 from Lost::MikeGTN

Going to the Dogs: An Island Apart

I've always been a little nervous about guided walks. From the awkward, rather typically British issue of trying to identify your fellow walkers at the outset - ideally without actually asking anyone - to the tricky etiquette of dispersing at the walk's end, they're a minefield. I once thought I'd like to lead walks - the idea of ambling around places I love with a respectful and engaged bunch of people both asking questions and adding their knowledge was attractive, if unlikely. Of course the reality is often different: bored tourists "doing" the sights, loudmouthed know-alls trying to upstage the...

Syndicated 2017-03-04 23:03:00 from Lost::MikeGTN

Driving the Pilgrim's Way

It felt good to be on the move again. Despite my committed trainspotter status, I've begun to relax into our road trips and to appreciate the opportunity to see familiar places from a new angle. This time was a little special, and I was childishly excited to be setting off having spent a night in the curious hotel I'd walked by just last month. Our night on the fringe of Essex was surprisingly quiet and relaxing - waking to a misty view over Epping Forest and taking an early train journey into the yawning and stretching city, the fog slowly...

Syndicated 2017-02-21 23:02:00 from Lost::MikeGTN

3 Feb 2017 (updated 3 Feb 2017 at 20:07 UTC) »

King Creosote - Colston Hall, Bristol

It had been a while since we'd managed to get out to see a band. It had certainly been a while since I'd seen King Creosote too - an entire year by my reckoning. It had been a quiet year by Kenny Anderson's standards too - with just two eponymous releases under his belt. However, his return was a triumphant one. While he played the intimate atmosphere of Lantern on his last visit to the Colston Hall, Simply Red were busily creating blandness in the main hall. This time, King Creosote - with his proper tour bus outside - we're...

Syndicated 2017-01-23 17:01:00 (Updated 2017-02-03 20:07:28) from Lost::MikeGTN

An empty stream, a great silence, an impenetrable forest...

Recommencing my explorations in a new year always feels uncertain and unplanned. Heading north to Scotland immediately after the festive season certainly helped me to relax a little, but after a week of catching-up with work and trying to recapture a sense of the normal following a long break, it felt exceptionally good to be putting boots on the ground once again. For a while, the weather had seemed likely to intervene so I hadn't made firm plans, content to watch the forecasts and warnings with a critical eye and with some undercover alternatives in mind. However, the snow shower...

Syndicated 2017-01-14 23:01:00 from Lost::MikeGTN

Let Glasgow Flourish

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote my goodbye letter to Glasgow here. It had been a difficult day where my hitherto reliably steadfast dependence on the places I knew best had let me down. I'd found the city which had usually given me a rare sense of home, wanting. Over the past year I've thought a lot about that day - not least because it worked as a microcosm of the bigger changes my life has passed through these past few years: realising that things were changing outside my control, at a pace I couldn't dictate. I've had to...

Syndicated 2017-01-03 18:01:00 from Lost::MikeGTN

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