Thursday, 30 May 2013

Grand Union Canal-Tramps, Special Brew and the Wonders of Industrial Britain

So, I have decided that it is time to start blogging about walking.

This is because I quite like walking, and also it is fairly uncontroversial unlike, say, blogging about being a sex worker.

Not that I am a sex worker of course.  Although you would probably want to read my blog more if I was.  After all, I am sure that my exploits would be totes better than those of Belle du Jour.  Probably.

Anyway, though I may have chosen some relatively inoffensive subject material, I will be more than making up for this lack of offence with some VERY offensive clothing.  Namely, these hiking boots.
And yes, that is a slice of good old English mud that you can see on the right.  "OUT, DAMNED SPOT!" as Macbeth would surely exclaim (see how I have quoted Shakespeare already?  I am such an intellectual). Except that the spot is still there, as I cannot currently be bothered to clean the floor.

Anyway, back to the boots.  They are glorious in their hideousness.  I of course usually prefer to trot about in heels, but a blog about my sorry attempts to walk in those would be tragic indeed, so here they are, in all their muddy glory, the shoes that I will mostly be wearing on the walking expeditions that shall henceforth be chronicled in this blog.

Today, dressed in my usual hiking gear of these boots, a pair of leggings which probably reveal a considerable portion of the outline of my knickers (my one concession to indecency sexiness whilst walking) and a rather astonishing bright orange hiking jacket from Jack Wolfskin Children's Section (no VAT!) which almost certainly made me look like a roadsweeper and/or construction worker given that no less than two people asked me if I worked nearby (the only people who "work" near me are footballers and construction workers, and I am certainly unlikely to be mistaken for the former) I decided to go for a spot of "rambling."

I hate the word "rambling."  I prefer to think of myself as a serious hiker, quite possibly armed with crampons and ice axes for the more challenging parts of the terrain of West London.  Several years ago, as a friend and I walked a section of the Thames Path in fearsome weather, my friend, who was at that point clothed in a hood the like of which had not been seen since the Crusaders donned their medieval chainmail, remarked that we were now "lady ramblers" and that we were almost certainly going to be mistaken for "lesbians."

I, being a liberal Guardian reader, insisted that there was nothing insulting about being mistaken for a lesbian, but I knew what she meant; we were hardly likely to attract the attention of any passing eligible bachelors (a shame, since blokes who climb mountains and stuff are usually all rugged and attractive.  Not so sure if the Thames Path quite cuts it as a "mountain," but we're getting there) dressed like medieval knights in Gore-tex.

Oh why am I not Cheryl Cole, who still managed to look glamorous climbing Mount Kilamanjaro.

Anyway, I set off in my hiking gear, not bothering to put any make up on as really what is the point when dressed like a teenage boy, and walked part of the Grand Union Canal walk.

Now, I didn't walk very far.  This was because I didn't set off until late, following a catalogue of disasters that included
1.) Ignoring my alarm
2.) Rain
3.) Hangover, and
4.) Difficulty locating dry cleaner's to deposit some dresses needed for next week (not for hiking, obvs).

Needless to say, by the time I finally got off the starting blocks, it was about 4pm, hence the choice of the Grand Union Canal Walk as it's so close to my house.

This is where it gets difficult as the grand highlights of my short walk were passing an electricity sub-station which was making a very loud and quite alarming humming noise which I was certain was going to give me cancer if I hung around there too long, sticking my head over a precipice and looking admiringly at some First Great Western trains in the Acton area as though I was a train spotter (I sort of am.  My hobbies are nothing if not wall-to-wall glamour) and a rather picturesque part of the canal that was almost entirely spolit by the addition of a large Sainsburys on the left bank of the canal and a couple of tramps sat outside with their dogs, drinking Special Brew.

So I will spare you any pictures of this walk (I was tempted to take one of the impressive electricity sub-station but as I said before I didn't want to hang around, because of the cancer) but rest assured it was a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, albeit one with a huge number of Special Brew-imbibing tramps scattered around.