Geograph Blog ::

2011 roundup

By David Howard

I am now into my 43rd year of photography, having switched to digital in 2005 when the results finally weren't pixillated and switched from the exclusive to the inclusive. I began with all the nice scenery near me which I added to my Flickr site, and soon joined here as an existing browser, added three photos, without any Streetview or similar to help, made heavy weather of it and returned to browsing for a couple of years. After adding current material since then decided to add everything relevant from my archives last winter when the weather turned nasty, and four months later had virtually completed the job, around 40 photos a day, although more still surface when I search memory cards and the like.

Once that was done I saw the map coverage and made plans to extend it however I could. Nine months have passed and it's now getting too dark for photos by around 6, and will soon be a lot earlier till the spring, so have had a year well spent. I had no specific aims but worked my way round the myriads to get the total to six, hampered by a serious bottleneck on the North Circular Road, partly due to a gap in the dual carriageway which causes a day long jam permanently, and partly due to road works a mile or so beyond which have the added effect of shunting the traffic on the other few routes instead. The reason for this is unlike the Thames, the river Lea only has crossings every couple of miles or so, and as the main one is now avoided long term the others are either jam packed or so out of the way going east has become worse than driving through the centre of London and out, although since the congestion charge in 2003 that has been restricted to weekends, meaning the other freely available area towards Kent is also relatively verboten, and even resorted to taking the M25 instead a few times. I am hoping they may at least complete the lane restrictions on the North Circular to get people back on it, as the simple trip to the Blackhorse Road junction from here took an hour, when it's usually half that most of the time. Ferry Lane is the alternative from me, and Southbury Road to the north was so backed up the whole of Southbury was gridlocked on all routes when I was unlucky enough to be there. So my wings have been clipped somewhat for now and can only hope one day I can return to Angel Road as once you pass the A10 eastbound it's usually a breeze heading to Essex.

But those were the small failures, instead I made the best of the rest, and living west of London then driving any heading with a W in it is pretty simple, and due north and south are as well. My preferred cars are large saloons that can (and may soon legally) cruise at 80 (you don't have to do it but know they can), and eat up motorways in comfort, but financially since petrol became so expensive had to swap my last saloon for a small hatchback when it fell apart as I needed a lot more MPG. It's great on normal journeys but starts to flag at 60mph without a slope, and as a result tend to use the A roads more of the time which slow the progress but doesn't leave me worn out at the end of the day. I do get driven sometimes as well so not all my effort, but can't just decide to go somewhere at the last minute and have someone else to take me there.

I have seen many old familiar places which had hardly changed, and many new as Seaford for instance meant a couple of mile extension over the river Ouse to bag TV square. And it was a lovely modern resort, absolutely no facilities for kids which I used to prefer, nothing but shingle on the beach, but wonderful views and sorry I didn't remember my swimming things as it was warm and sunny, the beach was deserted (there was only one other person on the road while we were there) and may not have been as warm in the sea than out. I also went to Selsey for SZ, I'd been to Chichester ages ago, but don't think we went south, there's not much there really but it's home to someone. It's always good to go to Oxford, although the latest road closures now mean the whole north side is at a standstill which continues round to Abingdon Road, and it's the only place I've lived outside London for a short time in 1988-9 before I was offered a job back home that meant I could afford to return. There was very little traffic then, although as it's barely got any hills I used my bike everywhere in town, and did the 17 mile trip to work past Didcot in 15 minutes every day as I lived by the A34. I've been there regularly all my life for one reason or another so know it pretty well, with the last trip I remember wondering why Headington was so quiet when I'd gone for football, only to discover near 3pm they'd moved the ground to Cowley, we missed about half the first half and got a parking ticket as everyone parked on the new service road so I did as well, and returned to find they aren't allowed to. You live and learn.

So I am now winding back my activities like a bear in the winter, there is an old road sign hanging about in Kent I may get to sooner or later which I missed last time as the motorway exit was on the right (it happens) and was impossible to cross three lanes in time, and others on routes which would try the patience of a saint, although they would also add some red patches are definitely optional. If I make another trip it's planned to a little village called Nasty and maybe beyond, as it's the next route left on the clock which hasn't been added, and have a few more eventual aims if and when I can get round to them, including the far east (Essex and Kent that is) which really should get some more attention. I decided not to mix apples and oranges by adding all my scanned photos as it would add isolated dots across the map with no relation to anything added digitally, so literally started from scratch again when I changed cameras, although the SLR will never be retired as you can't take distant shots on a tripod with a compact digital, so as long as someone will print them I will also take them. Meanwhile here are a few highlights from the year.

SP5108 : Linton Road at junction of Banbury Road by David Howard Summertown TQ5097 : Roundabout on the B175, Passingford Bridge by David Howard My first photo stop 50 east
SU5832 : West Street, New Alresford by David Howard New Alresford SU8268 : Modern bungalows on Binfield Road by David Howard The house I spent the weekend in in 1970 in Wokingham
TQ4408 : Mount Caburn from the A26, Beddingham by David Howard Mount Caburn, Lewes TQ4235 : View of Forest Row by David Howard Forest Row

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Wed, 5 Oct 2011 at 23:56
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geotagged! SZ8599
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