Wednesday, 20 June 2007


Another GoogleBore post indeed (they'll be tagged as GBore) but of another sort.

You'll perhaps have seen the article from the Daily Mail, picked up by the world's press, which reported that children nowadays are permitted to stray a mere three-and-a-half feet from their mother's hawk-like gaze, whereas in my day of course you could have walked the width of the Gobi desert and your mother didn't care as long as you were home for tea.

So I got to thinking about my own childhood, as you do, and indeed the world was my oyster in those days. We lived on the edge of the city, facing fields and woods, and so long as we were careful crossing the road (I was knocked off my bike once by a double-decker bus, but I'm all right now) the rest of it was ours.

In an effort to get some sense of the situation, I turned to Google Maps, and pinned out a few markers, and mapped out roughly the domain of a boy of let's say eight to ten in those days. That map is here, and I've annotated the markers a little to give an idea of what's going on. As you'll see, the space I had to roam around in was pretty huge. I haven't worked out a way to calculate the area yet, but I'll sit and wait till someone else cracks it get onto it.

And now the good news:

That was such an interesting exercise for me, going back home virtually and mapping out my childhood movements, that it occurs to me it would be good to keep going, and make maps for subsequent stages in my life. If you shower of ingrates are not interested, my kids will be one day. And then the day after, not interested again. Obviously.

Forthcoming chapters include:

Early adulthood
Later adulthood
That's it for now.

Stay with me if you care to. A better idea: why not do the same for your own history?