Beating The Bounds

It did occur to me that this title for a Blog might create an anticipation of some kind of Sado-Masochist content, but I suppose that anybody looking for that will be disappointed (unless they count walking in the rain).

I was thinking of the apparently ancient practice of walking parish boundaries and performing various bizarre rituals; mostly seeming to involve birch besoms and cruelty to small children. (I often take small children on my walks, but I hope that I’m not cruel, and I never take a birch besom)

The point is that, by necessity, my walks are likely to be short and local, mainly starting from my own front door. I was thinking of the idea of the familiar and intimate: places visited frequently, at particular times of day or seasons of the year.

At the back of my mind I was also thinking about this passage form Richard Mabey’s essay Spring Fever (collected in In A Green Shade):

And with the spring fully settled, I feel the need to see the summer birds ‘in their places’. I suppose it is a kind of beating of the bounds , not just the parish itself, but of my internal map of haunts and memories, a way of confirming the continuity in my own life as much as in the landscape.

I was amused to read on M & G go for A Walk: “we wandered onto paths that we’ve not before trodden and ended up completing a very brisk 5 miles (which just about qualifies it to go in my mileage log).”

I don’t keep a mileage log (although…..why not, what an appealing idea), but if I did a 5 mile qualifying minimum would make the whole idea redundant anyway.

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Arnside Tower… of my haunts

Beating The Bounds

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