Bear with me today, this is going somewhere and we should get to the point eventually, I promise, but I wonder if you remember a scenario a bit like this from your schooldays...
You'd be tucked up in the warmth of the Sixth Form Common Room at break time having just come out of an A Level English lesson, and in would troop a group of red-nosed, wet and dripping A Level Biologists...
'Oh what have you been up to?' we'd ask as we looked up from strumming our guitars, possibly still trying to perfect that opening twiddly bit from April Come She Will, or perhaps we had moved onto Anji by then.
'We've been making squares out of wire coat hangers and throwing them on the ground, and then we have to log every thing we can see in the square.'
'Right...lovely ...you're on your own with that one' we'd say, thanking our lucky stars that we'd opted for Arts subjects and thus stayed dry, and we'd strum on.
It wasn't all C F Dm G7 though because I had stupidly opted for A Level Geography too, so the Easter Field Trip to Bude and the Raised Beach Incident was probably looming.
This was the Geography teacher setting us the million dollar question standing with her back to the sea on the cliff edge at Bude..
'So who can name this geographical feature??'
Expecting silence she was rewarded with an entire chorus..
'It's a raised beach,' we all chimed in harmony.
The look of shock on her face at our translation of classroom learning into actual topographical identification was nothing short of profound as she moved on, shaking her head in disbelief and thus failing to notice the sign behind her (and facing us) that read ..
Raised Beach...BEWARE cliff edge unstable.
But anyway, it was the looking closely at maps and what may lie in a boundaried space that made me think of the whole coat hanger thing. Roger Deakin mentions something similar in Wildwood and it all segued nicely with an idea that had shaped up after my reading of Robert Macfarlane's The Old Ways, and then The Wild Places.
We are so very fortunate here in the Shire. We can travel a short distance by car and see so much, but how well do I really know what is close to me. I walk it all the time but how much history am I missing, and Monday's post about the mine at Wheal Concord was a case in point.
So I decided last summer that I would throw a big coat hanger of a square mile around our home and look closely, very closely and see what I found.
Please do not ask me the original dimensions of the coat hanger that then became one that covered a square mile will you. It is for virtual demonstration purposes only, and in any case when I copied and then laminated the map (we are on the edge so I needed two) before carefully drawing on my dotted line square mile, Bookhound spotted instantly that I had actually gone a mile in each direction when I should only have gone half a mile.
Then I have hardly had a minute to think about it until now.
Anyway, some latitude to my boundaries may be permitted to extend across the Parish a little further because I was delighted that my erroneous lines incorporated the Tamar, and Georgina Duchess of Bedford's carriage drive, and the Duke's stew ponds for his trout, and a bit of Endsleigh, and mines and quarries and woods and churchyards. Suddenly that A Level Geography is coming in handy... remember the exams, and the unseen bit of an Ordnance Survey map from which you had to extrapolate what the local population had eaten for breakfast (or similar) well now I am properly interested in the map and the green dotted lines and the contours and everything else.
I have a facsimile of the original Ordnance survey map too, a thing of beauty in its own way....
Beating the Bounds, as I have titled this close-to-home project, a Parish activity more traditionally reserved for Rogationtide, the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday immediately preceding Ascension Day, the fortieth day after Easter Sunday (thank you Steve Roud and The English Year) a time for the faithful to process around and give thanks for and to bless the crops, the fields and the animals.
Well I do that all the time really, so I will be beating my bounds and heading for the library to do some ferreting out of information too. Already I discover, apropos of Jude's comment on Monday about the Cornish miners heading to Australia in the 19th century, that from the bedroom window (and within my coat hanger square) we look across the fields to the location of the Devon Kapunda, a copper mine opened in 1852 and named after a much more famous one in South Australia.
But I wonder too about your doorsteps...
Something interesting very nearby??