online: 4 june 2006
modified: 3, 4 june 2006 2006

3 june 2006 a walk of walks

19:45 i've decided to walk an approximately straight line from one chance-selected part of the city forest to another... from random number 8: Golders Hill Park (which i usually avoid) to random number 1: Parliament Hill (where i go most often)...

...what an appropriate choice!

...i'm writing near to the beginning of this walk after a morning of sleep and radio and an afternoon re-reading about a third of John Hillaby's walk* along footpaths from one end of Britain to another... i read it last in the 1970s and again enjoyed his accounts of the unpredictable detail of life when walking in nature, or close to it (seemingly small or inconsequential things re-seen as parts of the whole)...

20:23 ...but now it's time to continue the walk...

21:03 Parliament Hill... on the way here, keeping as close as i could to the straight line from Golders Hill Park to this spot, i found myself twisting and bending through parts of forest and undergrowth that i've not traversed before... and when i emerged into familiar open spaces i passed a picnic of about a dozen people... one of them recognised me and i recognised him... we'd met at poetry meetings and he'd heard the readings of this diary on the radio...'s now cool, no clouds, and some of the radiation of this first warm day (about 25C in London) is returning to space, this part of the earth is cooling quickly... the light is going, the sunset is nearly over, and the city is in smog, (as it often is when the wind is from the east)... there are still many groups of people sitting on the dry ground, there is a neat conical heap of plastic bags of picnic litter overflowing and burying the waste bin, and there is a single traction kite in the pale blue sky and in the slowly moving air...

...thinking now of this evening's walk, of my hundreds of short walks here, and of John Hillaby's long one, i feel happy to be still walking, still finding surprises, not hurrying at all, and enjoying the writing out of doors and the way this relieves me of choice and brings experiences i could not predict but which now seem significant...

*John Hillaby, Journey through Britain, Granada Publishing/Paladin, London 1970.

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