The hell I just walked thirteen and a half miles. See, I was supposed to be doing something this Sunday which didn’t appear to be happening, so I figured, on a whim, that I’d head up to Shadwell. There’s some stuff there I wanted to photograph for a little project of mine, and heck, it takes about three quarters of an hour to get there by Tube and DLR.
I got there and took the photos I wanted. Then I wondered how long it would take me to get from there to Minories, a place I’d briefly been yesterday. Turns out not long at all. As I had my camera (I basically always have my camera), I figured I’d have a look around St Katharine’s Dock and take some snaps there for future reference. There are a few Thames barges moored there. I can’t say I like the dock as a whole, it’s just a bit too uppity for my taste.
I also needed some photos of warehouses, so I decided I’d have a look at Butler’s Wharf, crossing Tower Bridge. I took what I needed and had a bit of a wander, eventually finding myself at Bermondsey. While there, I saw a sign for Elephant and Castle. Now, this was a little unexpected. I’m used to thinking of London in terms of little islands. Elephant and Castle, to me, is on a little island that also includes Lambeth and Kennington. Bermondsey, on the other hand, is on the little island that includes Wapping and Canada Water. The idea that there might be a land route between the two was a little confusing, but I figured I’d have a look. If nothing else, it would put me on my branch of the Northern Line for a swift Tube ride home.
It wasn’t actually very far at all, once I got on to the New Kent Road. I didn’t know there was a New Kent Road, or what colour it would be on the Monopoly board. I got there after passing what might be the ugliest blocks of flats in South London (which is a level of competition akin to the Most Misanthropic Estate Agent Contest).
And then my brain shut down, and whatever mechanism had taken its place suggested I walk on. All the way home. After all, it reasoned, I’ve walked from Waterloo to Balham before, and from Balham to Colliers Wood. And at the end of it, I could say that I walked from Shadwell to Colliers Wood. Whenever people talk about the East End, I could scoff and say, “Pff, walking distance.”
Well, by Oval my knees were complaining, by Stockwell they were suggesting I might like to lose some weight and by Clapham Common they’d stopped bending in the right direction. I also received a call from a friend saying hello. He asked what I was doing and, upon saying out loud “I’m walking from Shadwell to Colliers Wood,” I realised that actually this was an insane plan.
Still, that didn’t stop me. I walked on, and on, and on, and at last – at long last – arrived back at Colliers Wood. My feet appear to have become disconnected, although feeling is returning to them, worse luck. Man, I’m going to be sore in the morning.