2017

Happy new year.

I am now back at work (and ‘at work’ in a psychological sense) and catching up with the world after taking the last half of December off. Feels like 2017 got a head start on me but I think that’s okay. It’s only the 4th

I opened up Feedly just now for the first time since 16 December, and although I knew the number of unread posts would be high, I didn’t expect that number to be abbreviated with a ‘k’.

Rather than mark them all as read, I used the opportunity (such as it was) to further prune my feeds into a couple of categories: high volume, mainly news-based feeds; and personal, low volume feeds I don’t want to miss. The latter are mostly by people I know. Or at least by people. Rather than organisations or newsrooms.

This process also reminded me that I, too, have a blog – and that it was probably about time I updated it. My personal writing has taken a bit of a back seat over the last few months. Inspired by the ‘what I did in MONTH’ posts from a livejournal of someone I’ve never met, I have attempted twice now to summarise a previous month of my own events or movements or experiences. It is startling how helpful Google’s Timeline feature is for this (part of Maps on Android, if the relevant permissions are granted).

I’m not sure how useful this process is for anyone but the writer, but for that one person it can be, I believe, very valuable indeed. I’d like to keep up this practise – particularly if my day-to-day diary writing has faded away a little. I’ve always been a bit more of a who, what, where, when kind of writer (photographer, too).

Related: I keep thinking that I’d like this to be an email newsletter, as the format appeals to me. But then I look at my inbox, see the backlog I occasionally save up to wade through, and find myself wishing that those posts were somehow presented instead in a browser with a hyperlinked interface, or available as some sort of feed I can work through in a reader and… Oh.

Looking over 2016 is too much for me to really consider attempting fully, but I’m mindful of the fact that I researched, wrote and released a little book, and I gave my first walking tour.

Both small milestones, but milestones nonetheless. And knowing what effort they took – even down to the minutiae of booking a trip to Gloucester to do some research – it reminds me that if I want to achieve something similar this year then I’d better start putting things in motion. Not everything just falls in your lap.

I’ve also had a bit of a backlog of photographs to deal with. I’ve been lucky to go on some fabulous trips to stoke that particular enthusiasm – the Isle of Wight, Toulouse; Switzerland; mine and M’s continued progress around the Capital Ring circular walk – but I’ve been a bit sluggish about editing them and doing something with them. Increasingly it feels like it’s not worth sticking them on Flickr or similar, I’ve never enjoyed the photo experience on Facebook, and Instagram is for one-offs, so my thoughts turn to why I take them in the first place and what I should do with them. Perhaps a return to scrapbooking? No doubt these thoughts will linger throughout 2017.

Along those lines, I’ll close with a shot of a spooky ringing payphone we spotted last weekend between Stoke Newington and Walthamstow Marshes on Section 13 of the Capital Ring*. I’m sad that I didn’t take an audio clip of its plaintive, unusual ring (no doubt an error tone), but if you look closely the phone’s display even says RINGING as if silently crying out for help, unheard.

img_20170102_130051* Section 13 of the Capital Ring, incidentally, was too short, and not fabulously entertaining. It could perhaps be lumped onto the end of Section 12, from Highgate to Stoke Newington. It would make a total section of 9 miles or so – fairly long as the ‘Ring goes, but perfectly manageable given that the first part is a disused railway line and the second along a canal.

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