diamond geezer

 Monday, April 30, 2012

Thank you for your suggestions of possible follow-ups to my Random Borough project.
Here's why I'm unconvinced that most of them would work, and why some of them might...

There are too many places to visit, so the task isn't "completable".
» Random Mainline Station: There are 357 of these. Even at one a fortnight, that's going to take 15 years.
» Random Street: The index of my London A-Z has more than 160 pages of street names. It's so not doable (and very dull).
» Random Postcode: There are 242 of these. Some of them are tiny. Even the SE postcode has 28 subdivisions. Something postcode-y might work, but not "random postcode".
» Random Park: The Royal Parks are an obvious starting point, but then there are so many more, and then so many smaller green patches after that, and where do you stop?
» Random Blue Plaque: There are more than 800 of these in London. And if I picked one at random, it probably wouldn't be anybody interesting.

The list isn't suitably defined, so the task is highly subjective.
» Random Bridge: Over the Thames, over other rivers, over railways, over roads, over-many!
» Random Roman site: Wikipedia lists just over 100 Roman sites in England. Rather fewer are anywhere near the southeast, and not all of those are accessible.
» Random Old London village/district: That's places like Bloomsbury, Spitalfields, Bow, Dagenham, Heath Row... endless!
» Random Street Market: Portobello and Walthamstow, obviously. And Shepherd's Bush and Romford. But Earlham Street and Sutton Farmers? And...?

I've been to too many of them already, so it'd be nothing new.
» Random County Town: Ah but I've done Winchester, Chichester, Kingston, Oakham, Oxford and Hertford already. Although I haven't done Aylesbury, Bedford, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Lewes, Ipswich or Maidstone yet, to name just the local ones, so maybe there's something to this idea.
» Random Tube Line: I've already scrutinised the entire Jubilee, and most of Betjeman's Metro-land, plus all the middle of the Bakerloo.
» Random London Boroughs pre 1965: Most modern boroughs are two or three of these put together, so it's unlikely I'd have much more to add.
» Random Borough Reprise: Many of you think I should go back to the beginning and visit each of the 33 boroughs again. The trouble is, although some of the places have changed a lot, most won't have done. There'll be just as few interesting places to visit in Harrow as there were then. It is very tempting to go back to Merton, because I gave that short shrift eight years ago. But no, sorry, job done.

The sites are better visited sequentially, rather than randomly.
» Random Street (one street per letter): Hmm, an A-Z of London streets. That could be interesting, but not in a random order.
» Random Thames Bridge: Definitely of interest, but would be far better done in order.

Too expensive!
» Random British City: Good, good, there are only 50 English cities, so this is doable. But if I'm picking them at random, the cost of travel (and in many cases an unexpected overnight stay) would be astronomical.
» Random Arrondissement: The Parisian version of Random Borough. Wouldn't that be great? Just entirely impractical.

Not for me
» Random London Society: That's so not me, it's far too sociable. Plus, I suspect, difficult to randomly schedule.
» Random Pub: That's so not me either. I'd be able to tell you what the lounge bar looked like, but there'd be no critique of the atmosphere or the real ales.
» Random National Cycle routes: No bike. End of.
» Random Motorway Services: No car. End of.

There's only a limited amount to write about.
» Random Tube Termini: This was a very popular choice. Say I stick 11 tube line names in a jar, pick one, and then go and explore the ends of the line. For the Piccadilly line, for example, that's Heathrow, Uxbridge and Cockfosters. Might work. But if I concentrate on the stations, that's a bit limited. And if I wander around outside, then you've probably heard it all before.
» Random Railway Terminus: I go to Victoria or Waterloo or wherever, and I take the next suburban train out to the end of the line. Could be Tattenham Corner, could be Hayes, could be Shepperton. It's not sounding like a rich list of possibilities.

Hmm, might work, but I'm not sure people would be interested.
» Random Areas Just Outside The London Boroughs: There are 17 Home Counties districts that share a border with London (Three Rivers, Hertsmere, Welwyn Hatfield, Broxbourne, Epping Forest, Brentwood, Thurrock, Dartford, Sevenoaks, Tandridge, Reigate & Banstead, Epsom & Ewell, Mole Valley, Elmbridge, Spelthorne, Slough & South Bucks). It would be a natural continuation of the Random Borough concept to visit them next. Travelling around might be difficult, without the London transport network to rely on. And you'd probably switch off very quickly, not that this usually stops me. But it's the best idea so far. So far...

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