Geograph Blog ::

Close season

By David Howard

Having completed my last long trip to the compass points to Battle, finishing the compass a few weeks before the clocks went back, it was back to local duties until around April when it gets dark around 6pm again. TQ7515 : Mini roundabout on Upper Lake, Battle by David Howard

Luckily pre-Worboys signs continued to turn up, and with the advent of a new camera, not because I particularly wanted one but because the other was corrupting my cards at random times (possibly after I'd dropped it) and upgraded to a serious bridge camera which could cope with semi-darkness and (yet to test it) moving images in shot. As a result it meant not losing a few extra Geopoints at night, as sometimes it's a lot easier later in the day but either if it got dark half way there or all the way the new machine gained Geographs regardless, meaning as well as adding to my sign collection (which always look best using a flash anyway) kept the new red spots arriving (not the type I had in 2006 when catching chicken pox for the first time). SP9125 : Old Road at the junction of West Street, Linslade by David Howard SP9225 : Shops on North Street, Leighton Buzzard by David Howard TL0913 : Lybury Lane going under the M1 motorway by David Howard

Otherwise the next possible task was completing my 5th hectad, as TQ16 was fairly well covered I just managed it despite having to negotiate a gated estate in Oxshott. In the end the other ends of the same roads were free to use, so just caught a moment with enough light to gain a Geograph in the 100th square in Oxshott (as per heading illustration), which required about ten or more attempts (half now supplemental, rest binned) as it was just light enough to take the odd photo, with no street lighting to improve my chances. The reason certain squares were unvisited always became obvious when going there. A few had a sliver of road, often accessible via complex estates and banned turns etc, and one today was only bagged as I stopped every hundred yards or so along the road, and turned out the A-Z I was using wasn't the same as the OS map so very lucky I didn't take any chances by only stopping at a couple of points. Off-roaders ranged from Richmond Park (at least three from memory), only possible now as Streetview have covered the paths, so combined the many ponds which could be used with the car parks and other features to ensure I hit the targets clearly each time with no room for uncertainty. Others were the dreaded public footpaths, sometimes coinciding with rain or twilight (it doesn't matter what time you leave, after negotiating complicated routes and stopping to walk into off-road squares and back by the time you reach the end it often hits sunset but the new camera means many places can still be completed regardless now.

The period between now and spring is going to be Streetviewing for more signs, and amazingly still find one a month or so simply as the range is so great the law of averages seems to apply. Many are found by the large group of other collectors for me, some here, and others by patiently filling in the road map in felt pen as I walk each road online. In fact some are not clear enough to tell and still have to go anyway in case, and that meant two trips to Hertford and Ware in a week, the first for a pair of remade PROHIBITED MOTOR VEHICLES signs which clearly were impossible to distinguish from the real thing on a small screen. Plan B was always map squares, so planned to drive to Stanstead Abbots, but at the end of the sign's road a red sign said 'Road Closed Ahead', meaning the railway line between there and Stanstead was shut, losing about three squares taking the road parallel to it. I still got enough to show up, and the same route was taken in Hertford when the sign found on a public road turned out to be a hand painted privately made one which meant plan B, only missing a single red square there as the camera failed to take a usable picture as it got dark on entering it. But again managed to widen the block there so kept me out of mischief for another afternoon.

TL3511 : Vicarage Causeway, Hertford Heath by David Howard I was surprised how many squares in Herts only had a single photo, all from before I would have thought of going anyway, but clearly once visited were so off the beaten track there was no reason for anyone to go there specially but were on my route anyhow.

Other than that I found two KEEP LEFT signs (as that is how they look) on an island (road not water) in Sanderstead, some of the rarest in Britain but had an example already. The main difference being these were plain while the other had catseyes, so technically not the same, while the pair were actually on a public road which may only be the second known with them in Britain. The roads round there are like a web of capillaries rather than anything man made, and as I hadn't plotted the required squares on paper ended up going in circles and getting four new ones from a potential of around 12, but got what I really wanted there.

TQ3263 : Brighton Road from the corner of Junction Road by David Howard

The places taken in new squares, considering after driving 10-80 miles means if you want as many as possible can't either keep getting out and walking to scenery, or park anywhere legally at all, so get a lottery of what happens to be there. The hedge dilemma, which tends to occur when a driver stops at the lights and that's all you can see from the passenger window as there are reflections through the front, has been a last resort when nothing else represented the square, is what I feel the most embarrassing submission but if in focus will take it, and now try and stop somewhere with any special feature if lined with trees or hedges or it can take hours to locate it. My favourite lucky breaks are interesting road junctions with shops and buses which look like I meant to stop there, and best of all skyscrapers, as there aren't many in Britain (until Canary Wharf was built, and that's a tiny area in comparison) TQ3265 : Office blocks on Park Lane, Croydon by David Howard so despite the parking being fairly dire Croydon is the place for those, and have been quite a few times and get more each time. It also offered up two old one way street signs, which I had already but worth getting, and had possibly the last one with a red circle on it before a building was demolished in the next road along maybe 10 years ago long before I knew it had been there.

With it getting dark at 4pm now until February I will probably go into hibernation. With five complete hectads anywhere I can get to has been covered already besides the wilderness west of Twickenham, so will just look for old signs till then and make a trip to Whitton sooner or later when I have the chance. I don't post many pre-Worboys signs here simply as when I first started the coincidence of putting a 45-60 year old sign online with its removal was too much of a coincidence to risk deliberately. They were all put online elsewhere but little way to pin down the exact spots. Whether it's councils looking online to save them missing them or thieves doesn't make any difference this end, once they're gone they're gone but am slowly adding them here when they have as then it's not required to hide them. Two had recently been repainted by the council so can't imagine them spending hundreds and then the whole things being removed (poles and all) leaving nothing. Councils frequently don't replace old direction signs, as the law tells them they must remove them, not change them. So for our lowest level of bureacrats as long as they follow the rules it's more important than people being able to find their way around. I am still not sure if that could ever happen in another country.

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Marker only shows grid square

Mon, 19 Nov 2012 at 00:03
Grid Square
geotagged! TQ1560
Chosen Photo

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