From Walk 1 to Walk 16 (5 March to 3 July 2011) I collected a range of data through the marvellous online counting graphics system Daytum. I intended to explore different methods for capturing the experience of walking along the Thames to share with Londoners.
The project was not meant as an information resource for tourists, rather a way of encouraging those living in the city to spend more time looking, noticing and slowing down to really see. Sara Maitland’s Book of Silence turned towards nature and its open spaces, I wanted to confront my hectic urban and find a way to document the ‘city version of silence.’
Of course, there’s also the fact that I’m quite a daydreamer so collecting this information helped me return each time to the present moment and concentrate on my surroundings rather than the random ramblings in my mind.
So, what did I see? In alphabetical order:
- Airplanes: 168 (Too many and they were LOUD)
- Anglers: 18 (In roughly 5 groups of 4, mainly at the beginning of the walk)
- Blossoming Trees: 106 (My rules were white or pink blossoms only, as I had to limit my counting somehow!)
- Blowing of noses: 5 (Not mine, rather those who wandered passed me)
- Cafes: 32 (Or restaurants, or bars…)
- Church bells: Only 3, sadly.
- Conversations with myself: 30 (Note, I started invited people along from Walk 11 onwards. I wonder why!)
- Cyclists: 883 (Most were in family groups or couples. Not so many mountain bikes, rather bells and patterned helmets)
- Dead animals: 2 (A swan floating in the river, and a mouse)
- Dog walkers: 105 (Note, I was counting the walkers not the dogs. I did see one man walk six large dogs but he only counted as one sighting)
- Gas Smells: 6
- Ice Cream Vans: 11 (But I wanted more. My rule was to stop for ice cream every time I saw a van.)
- Magpies: 6 (All saluted)
- Orange Peel: 3 (Again, not mine)
- Rowers: 184 (Mainly from Kingston onwards. Cox SHOUTING a lot)
- Runners: 290 (Did you see that – 290. Oh my! Well done to those who lumbered passed on the very hot days, and those who jogged on in the rain)
- Stars: NONE (I must rectify this by walking at night from now on)
- Swans: 89 (More at Hampton Court and Kingston than anywhere else, but fairly spread out otherwise. Are the brown ones babies or dirty?)
- Ugg Boots: 6 (Not as many as I thought there would be, but then the weather did change for the better in April)
More on Daytum and below.