Thinking it over, part two.


Following on from last Friday's post, this is the second half of me getting my head around what I've been up to for the last six months or so as regards this blog and the thinking behind it.

I've restricted myself to what I've thought about, observed and photographed. This hasn't been about what others are doing/have done at these sites. I've hardly seen anyone using them unless they've been in the town centre. Also, the walks have had to fit around a daytime working schedule; weekends and - in the summer when there's pre-work sunlight to make advantage with - early mornings have been my bench-based mooching time.

This perhaps inevitably means empty sites. Particularly around the periphery of the town; there's hardly been anyone about.

The more I go into it, the less sense some of the bench sites make. Some have obviously been around decades if not longer, and living patterns and amenities have shifted; fewer people have to (or elect to) walk for non-leisure purposes, for example. Public transport routes and patterns have altered. Lives are that little bit more private and indoors these days.

To some extent there's an echo of a previous iteration of Louth encoded in these benches, and more probably several overlapping ones. These are spots that people used to congregate at, or need to stop off by. This is the town as it was. A few of the posts have been explicit about this; damaged or abandoned sites, overgrown or otherwise untended locations. Elsewhere, there's evidence of renewal and something of an improvement and repair plan.

Some fading away, some coming into focus.

So I need to mull over what I've been up to and what I've seen (and chosen not to see?) and remembered (as well as those memories not reported on). And then find a way to box this up and re-present it.

Along the way I've tried not to use too much in the way of terminology. I'd hope I'd continue in the same vein. This isn't the time or the place to be invoking Situationist practices. There'll be neither overt derive nor deliberate psychogeography here. This hasn't been about freeing myself from the tyranny of the urban landscape, though inevitably there are points of intersection with those kinds of ideas.

One possible way onwards seems to be to open it up to others; something collaborative perhaps. I've toyed with the idea of revisiting all/some of the bench locations and tagging them (safely and non-invasively) to provoke other responses to these places. Some folks have been kind enough to add some responses into the individual blog post comments boxes. I've even been offered a few photos.

I've played a little with mapping. Maybe there'll be more of that to come.

So, plenty to consider. Will this end up as being a six-month folly? A bit of personal distraction? Or is there something more to be shaken out of this particular tree?

Anyway, like I said, I'm back on the benches from the next post onwards. There's only a half dozen locations left.

Eamonn Griffin

Field notes for a personal geography of a Lincolnshire market town. You can find me here on Twitter: @eamonngriffin and also here: www.eamonngriffinwriting.com
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Comments

Have really been enjoying your posts Eamonn. I printed out one of your posts about Hubbards Hills to give to the holiday makers next door as they were going to visit HH that day and I thought they'd appreciate your thoughts and observations.
2015-07-21, Rosalyn

As a Louth newbie I have learned lots about the town that I wouldn't have been able to read in a book so thanks for sharing your history of the town. I have also become much more aware of my surroundings while on the daily dog walks. I just needed reminding to look up from the bit of path just ahead of my feet. I have also almost, but not quite, approached some possible yous, to see if the man seemingly not doing much other than sitting on a bench was in fact you. I could never quite rehearse a satisfactory sentence to explain my enquiry so that too is on the pending pile currently.
2015-07-21, Alison

Thanks for the comments. Good luck with coming up with the perfect approach sentence, Alison!
2015-07-21, Eamonn Griffin


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