footpaths 02-10-2009

a wonderful run this morning. 90 minutes or so. small roads, public footpaths, permissive footpaths, a park, a bridleway, a towpath, finishing with a swim in the river during which a dog ran off with one of my socks. it reminded me how deeply i missed public access land while living in boston, mass. (and how much i had taken it for granted while living here). i've just flicked through a couple of random uk ordnance survey maps and in the countryside it's almost impossible to find a square mile you can't cross using some kind of road or track or path. in new england great tracts of land were either inaccessible and could be viewed only from car windows if at all, large stretches of seashore were out of reach and despite the fact that massachusetts is a colander of lakes the public were allowed to swim freely only in walden pond, possibly to prevent thoreau's ghost rising up like jacob marley in the small hours of the morning and strangling state officials with its chains.

coincidentally, the other things I missed most were radio 4, proper muesli  and the (I now realise) quinitessentially british habit of bonding with one’s friends by insulting them.