About this blog, and things about me that are relevant

For a good few years I have had a weird ambition to visit every one of the Ordnance Survey Explorer map areas (1) in Great Britain. There are 403 of these, covering Great Britain and a variety of its surrounding islands. I would like to go to all of them eventually, and thereby eventually see all the corners of our interesting little land.

(Just to be clear about what this blog is not, it is not a blog reviewing maps, nor will it have that much content actually about maps – the maps are more a reason to visit far-flung corners of Britain, and an excuse for writing about these places and more generally about other things. Although I do also like maps, think they’re very cool, and use them a lot, so they will feature a fair bit!)

OS Explorer maps are a series of maps covering Britain at a scale of 1:25000, used often by walkers and other kinds of outdoor acitvitypeople; there are much better places to read about them than here, for example on the Ordnance Survey’s website.

As well as having weird things about which I get very enthusiastic such as maps, I am also something of an obsessive archivist of my own life – I save many many things wherever possible, whether digitally or physically (or preferably both). So this blog will, hopefully for the many years that it will take me to complete my ambition, serve to record and share the places that I visit. It also, though, is a pleasant record of my past to supplement my other kinds of archiving. Since I only have to update it when I travel, the plan is that it shouldn’t be too taxing!

Therefore, every time that I visit a map area that I have not previously featured on this blog, I write a post about the place that I went, why, what I did there, and so on, as well as explain things about my life and interests that are relevant to understand what I’m writing about. I also, for maps which I visited before starting this blog, talk about what I did on those previous occasions, making use of my archives of photos and information. There are pictures rather often, and my friends and family will feature frequently –  I give each such person a nickname, witty or otherwise, by which to refer to them on the blog. Every regular post ends with a map of Great Britain showing all the OS Explorer maps, with colours to indicate where I have and haven’t visited.

You can see a list of all the maps and their current status as to whether I have visited them or not at The Maps! (Current progress), while The Rules tells of my conditions for when I count as having visited a map, and things like that. The List of Posts is what it says on the tin, a contents page for the blog, if you will, while the Chronological Index of Pre-Blog Trips lets you walk through my pre-blog life in the right order.

Have fun, and I hope that my writings aren’t utterly incomprehensible or very boring. But then, I’m mostly writing for myself rather than for readers, so, eh!

About me more generally

I live in Cambridge with my partner Vesper and friend Erithacus – those being their nicknames on this blog, not their real names – and our cat Truus. I work half-remotely for a London-based research charity doing background administrative/operations support – accounting, HR, managing the office space, legal, things like that. Before I entered The Real World I did an undergrad and research masters in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, a gloriously odd degree combining medieval languages, literature and history; and did a previous undergraduate degree in physics.

My interests include going for walks, transport infrastructure, reading (especially science fiction and fantasy), languages and linguistics (especially historical linguistics), and some remaining dregs of my once burning love of physics. Languages with which I’ve had some experience, ranging from some years of study to barely a 2-week fling, include French, Latin, Punjabi, Spanish, Icelandic, Old English, Old Irish, Medieval Welsh, Old Norse, Ancient Greek, German, Irish, Gothic, Arabic and Romanian. I have been known to have a go at making clothes occasionally, or little electronic devices. I’m rather an obsessive archiver of my own life, and I have strange baseless enthusiasms for things like maps, railways, and facts about odd old English things that one just wouldn’t think were a thing anymore. Things related to these various interests are likely to turn up on this blog occasionally!

Various bits of information about me could probably be found on the internet if you tried, however I’ll leave you only with a link to my Goodreads profile, since I rather like reading and would be very happy if more people read books that I like! My favourite book of all time is currently The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, which I have two copies of because I force my friends and casual acquaintances to borrow it with such great frequency. Do add me on Goodreads if you are a user and know me in real life!