Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service with permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.

you may not be familiar with the type of British Ordnance Survey map reproduced here. the OS is the national mapping agency for the UK, producing detailed large scale maps of the entire country, initially on paper and now also digitally. interestingly the origin of the agency was military, when in 1747 the compilation of a map of the Scottish Highlands facilitated the subjugation of the clans following the Jacobite rebellion in 1745! today they are used by walkers, runners and cyclists to pick out routes on the complex network of public footpaths and bridleways across privately owned land.

I had a very wobbly day yesterday after reading Lou’s post referring to co-dependence. sometimes ghosts are best laid to rest, sometimes they need exorcising.*

went for run yesterday evening. planning out route got very frustrated at not being able to work out where a particular stretch of footpath went. I knew where it started, and where it finished, but couldn’t find a decent (free) online OS map that showed it. so dug out an old paper OS map, took photo of it on my iphone, and went with that.

when we reached the debatable stretch of footpath, it (a) didn’t go where I thought it did and (b) was entirely covered by nettles and on an almost vertical slope. we baled early and took a shortcut to a more familiar and less hazardous path. made it back safe and sound.

afterwards was discussing the route planning difficulties I’d had with some of the other runners, some of whom nodded in agreement and others of whom looked perplexed, and answered, “Don’t you just use bikehike?” which apparently is a website where you can create and view routes based on Google or Ordnance Survey maps, which you can upload to GPS devices.

a couple of points from this:

firstly – I learnt about it from asking other real people who were a little way ahead of me in the process, for which all the Googling in the world is no substitute.

secondly – I checked the hard copy map I’d been looking at when I got home.

that map was published in 1974.

which got me wondering how many of my attitudes and behaviours had also been installed back then, or earlier. and how many of those were equally as outdated as the faded map with dog eared corners, as compared to the whizzy internet version compatible with all my devices…

and what is more…what if my circumstances have changed so comprehensively that old routes and pathways are completely inappropriate and irrelevant? and that if I come out of my house and – following the old maps – take a left and a right, then I do not end up at the Post Office, but in a duck pond?

me, in the duck pond – making a drama out of it, as usual. (aka Ophelia by Millais. expect you already knew that, but it only seems polite.)

so, I am updating my emotional map. ignoring other people’s well-meaning or otherwise attempts to act as my GPS system. finding my own way, despite nettles. even nettles have their uses… did you know they were brought to the British Isles by the Romans, who practiced urtification, the practice of flogging oneself with stinging nettles to ‘treat’ tired painful legs on long cold wet marches?

well, bugger that. I am not flogging myself on with wine, gin, or stinging nettles, here, any more.

have a lovely week-end, sober companions. glad you are with me on the sober path!

* forgot to pay my exorcist – got re-possessed πŸ˜‰

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