You did What?! From Where?!

What an odd world we live in.

A few weeks ago a new acquaintance announced to me that a car was absolutely essential in England. She based this upon her (and I think only) trip to London. I have never been to London, but I have been to Liverpool and Hull. Somehow, I managed just fine by walking.

Understand that both of those towns can be a bit rough. In fact, I had to rely upon my mother’s advice as to how to walk through a bad neighborhood, something she had to do as a child of the depression. “Walk straight ahead. Don’t slow down. Don’t look to the left or to the right and just step over the drunks sleeping on the sidewalk. Don’t stop and talk even if someone wants to to talk to you.”

Yes, i have been scared walking through awful neighborhoods and I have seen many strange things, particularly in developing countries. But somehow, I didn’t think that was the problem for my new acquaintance in London.

All became clear the other night when I actually walked (WALKED!) home.

There was a meeting at City Hall and my neighbor asked me to attend. He drove us up there and after a couple of hours, I realized that whatever I had to say wouldn’t make a difference, so I wanted to go home. He didn’t want to leave, so I walked home on a perfectly gorgeous evening, temperature about 65 degrees before dark. A distance just shy of two miles, it took me about twenty five minutes.

When I got there, the new acquaintance was there visiting with my wife. I walked up the street and came in the house, surprising everyone, including the dog, since there was no noise upon my arrival. Marveling ensued. How could anyone do that? Etc.

So I suppose that if someone minds walking a few miles to catch a train or a bus, a car would be necessary in London. But I would say, “No thanks. I’d rather walk.”

And isn’t it odd how distances for walking or cycling become SO FAR, when one drives all the time.

3 replies
  1. Mighk
    Mighk says:

    “The truest and most horrible claim made for modern transport is that is “annihilates space.” It does. It annihilates one of the most glorious gifts we have been given. It is a vile inflation which lowers the value of distance, so that the modern boy travels a hundred miles with less sense of liberation and pilgrimage and adventure than his grandfather got from traveling ten. Of course if a man hates space and wants it to be annihilated, that is another mater. Why not creep into his coffin at once? There is little enough space there.”

    — C.S. Lewis

  2. Dennis
    Dennis says:

    It is a lot of fun driving around the circuses (roundabouts) of the UK. It’s easy to make a mistake driving on the opposite side of the road (I did on a moped in Bermuda) but…
    you do not need a car in London. Buses, a tube (subway), taxi’s (as many as NYC) and a good map should more then do the trick if walking does not.

  3. Eric
    Eric says:

    “you do not need a car in London.”

    I didn’t think so. Scotland, maybe. Trains and buses don’t run as regularly out to the countryside as they do in England. And calling a cab in the hinterlands can mean a long wait.

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