57 minus 55: Wandering and wondering

Posted: 23 June 2021 in 57 minus, life, lockdown, London, wandering, wondering

“Bios”

No, not BIOS, that’s firmware used to perform hardware initialization during the a computer’s booting up.

Bios, as in social media platforms, the few words you have to describe yourself.

They’re a weird summary of everything you want people to know about you… in a couple of hundred characters. And while, yes, you can use one link, maybe two, to give more information, each link takes up a chunk of those very same available characters and spaces.

Oh, and if you want to explain what each link is, oops, there go another couple of dozen characters.

So, you’re (or at least I am) stuck with several one or two word descriptions, separated by, erm, separators.


I mean, here’s the one I’m currently using for Twitter. It’s my main online presence, since I’m not on Facebook, and tend to use Instagram merely for weather shots.

Wanderer and Wonderer. Seems a fairly good, and nicely succinct, summary of who I am, or at least who I want to be. Or, perhaps more accurately, who I want people to think of me as.

I’ve never enjoyed physical exercise, and the fucked up foot¹ makes running a non-starter even if my admittedly jaundiced view of it were otherwise. But I have enjoyed walking, especially in cities.

You might well ask “wanderer and wonderer? Well, budgie, where do you wander about what do you wonder?

You might well ask that indeed.

Well? Go on, then. ASK ME THAT.

It’s your own time you’re wasting, you know.

Oh, you asked!

You know, I’m rarely asked those questions.

So let’s answer them.

Wandering

As I mentioned the other day, I’ve lived in Abbey Road now for a little over four years, about ¼ mile from Abbey Road recording studios. I’m sorry, that should be ‘…from the world famous Abbey Road recording studios.’ (I think I’m legally obliged to refer to them as such.)

And I like living here.

For the four years before I moved in, I was in Ham, between Richmond and Kingston, and if you wanted to have somewhere to wander from, with nice places in which to wander in every direction…

…you have to go some way to find anywhere better than Ham. Within about 20-30 minutes’ walk, you have Richmond in one direction, Kingston in the opposite direction. You have Richmond Park, truly one of the glories of the area, no matter what season, though I have a fondness for Richmond Park in the springtime. A short (really short) ferry ride away, even if you ignore Ham House and grounds, you have Twickenham and St Mary’s.

You have a lot of… green… surrounding you. Reminded me in some ways of growing up in Luton, and bicycling to ‘the country’. Luton in those days – in the 1970s – was less… urban than it’s become, and it’d take a mere half hour bike ride to find yourself surrounded by farmland and green and… well, more green to be honest.

Abbey Road is a bit different to all of that, to be honest, to be fair.

I’m not quite sure whether it would qualify as urban or suburban. (I never quite know which box to tick when I’m asked on surveys, in much the same way as a Jewish fella, I’ve been bemused when offered ‘white British’ or ‘white otther’ or just ‘other’ when offered the options.)

Either way, Abbey Road very definitely isn’t ‘green’. Oh, there’s Regents Park about 25 minutes’ walk away, and plenty of little gardens and mini-parks you can wander about in. There’s Lisson Grove, with the canals, much as there’s Little Venice a bit further away. There is green… but you do have to look for it.

I live in London, almost in the heart of London. Half an hour’s walk and I’m on Euston Road, by Baker Street. A short walk further, and I’m on Oxford Street. You can’t really describe living a short distance from Oxford Street as anything less than ‘the heart of the city’ to be honest.

And yet, despite my enjoyment of Richmond Park and its… greenness, it’s where I am now that really speaks to me.

I’ve mentioned before on previous blog runs how much I like living in London and walking around it. It’s a city where I run into memories around every corner and encounter ghosts – both mine and London’s – at every crossing.

Not all of the memories, or ghosts, are pleasant ones. But they’re what makes me… me. And I wouldn’t change them. Good or bad, they’re true.

And while I try to vary the precise route (to alleviate boredom, I’m not trying to avoid spies following me or anything… or am I? No, I’m not.) I’ve half a dozen routes I like to wander along, aimlessly, taking up time, while I wonder about… no, more about that in a moment.

(And of course, it’d be remiss not to mention that during the absurdity and craziness we’ve all just experienced, having a walk was one of the few reasons you were allowed to leave your home. It’s dry nice, I’ll admit, to once again be able to walk… somewhere, then stop and grab a coffee before heading back, rather than just walking somewhere, turning around and having nothing to do other than walk back to the flat.)

But yes. If I’m after a shortish walk, then there’s Euston Road in one direction, Kilburn in another, West Hampstead in a third, and always St John’s Wood area, Lord’s Cricket Grou\

nd and Lisson Grove in yet another.

If I want a longer walk, and the foot will allow it, then a walk up to Brondesbury or West End Green, to Golders Green, or even Oxford Circus.

So, yes, that’s where I wander… while wondering.

Wondering

Yes, well. What do I ponder while walking?

Well, it depends. And yes, I know that’s a cheat of an answer, but it does have the virtue of being the truth.

I’m a news junkie, have been for decades, but one of the unexpected pleasures of doing what I refer to on Twitter as the #DailyConstitutional is that I disconnect entirely from the news. Whatever else I listen to, whatever else I ponder, it ain’t the news. Of all the decisions I made last year, that’s turned out to be one of the smarter ones.

Sometimes, I’m not idly wondering, of course. Sometimes I’m angry. Sometimes I’m wandering to walk off the anger, the upset, the sheer bloody fury, about something or someone. (And sometimes the subjects of my upset might even deserve my ire. Not always, but quite often.)

It’s not uncommon, far more common than I’ll admit to on Twitter, for me to walk… harder… than intended. On such occasions, yeah, I’ll pay for it later. While the foot puts up with a lot, on occasion it lets me know it’s had enough.

Walking while angry is not a good thing while it’s happening, nor while I’m recovering from it. But it does, usually, exhaust my volcanically bad temper. So, I guess, on those occasions… it’s worth it?

But… they’re the rarity. Usually, when I’m a’wondering, it’s about a story idea, or a problem I have to solve, or even a friend’s problem they’ve shared and asked my help in arriving at a possible solution.

I can’t wander, nor wonder, in silence, however.

So, often, what I’m wondering about is… related to whatever I’m listening to on a podcast or radio show.

I’m wondering about The History Of Rome, and how a city became a republic which became an empire, and how so many things went wrong for so many people, while they went very right for others… before going wrong. As in more modern days, rare is the power that ends at the time, and in the manner of, the wielder’s choosing.

Or I’m wondering about how the murderer could have done it in a whodunnit, and the craft shown of how the detective worked it out.

Or I’m wondering, indeed pondering, the various Connections that James Burke demonstrates: how a shortage of ivory led to me enjoying movies in the cinema, how a war led to the divorce rate increasing, and how Mozart led to the helicopter.

I’m wondering why more people of the younger generations aren’t aware just how good a raconteur Peter Ustinov was.

And I wonder about myself.

Only the last tends to irritate me and exasperate me in equal measure. Still, at least for once I share something with my friends. That’s something I don’t have to wonder about.

See you tomorrow, with… something else.

 

 

Fifty-seven days. Fifty-seven posts. One fifty-seventh birthday.


I’m trying something new with this run. I’ve signed up to ko-fi.com, so if you fancy throwing me a couple of dollars every so often, to keep me in a caffeine-fuelled typing mood, feel free. I’m on https://ko-fi.com/budgiehypoth

This post is part of a series of blog entries, counting down to my fifty-seventh birthday on 17th August 2021. You can see the other posts in the run by clicking here.


¹that’s the technical, medical term, you understand.

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