3. Ranulph Glanville A Wander is a Metaphor for Design.jpg

A wander is not a slog, it is ‘a metaphor for design’. It is an improvisation dictated by sets of constraints and filled with impromptu choices. It is a game we play in the landscape.

While headed toward Connaught Water I changed my mind and walked ‘off the path through some trees’ with ‘no idea where [I was] going.’
The starting and ending points (presumably home), the terrain and weather, the temperaments and desires of the walker or walkers, the dynamics of actors in the landscape (both human and non-human), all play a part.

Under the Canopy (Epping Forest)
From moss to mud to sodden leaves, I was touching and feeling the ground beneath my feet.

Impromptu choices dictated by the terrain: I walked on damp leaves rather than muddy paths; away from the humming sound of traffic; under the remains of the forest canopy to avoid being drenched on a rainy day…

A walk perhaps more suited to the summer, but those are the constraints of design.

Hitachi Shelter
Sometimes the mythical spot, where it’s ‘peaceful, birds sing, the grass is inviting’, never materialises. Instead you huddle under a Hitachi, grateful for a reprieve from the rain.

On a dry, sunny afternoon there would have been many places to ‘sit down, get out [my] picnic, eat and drink’, but the trees were busy drinking and the ground was drenched. I had to settle for my lunch on the train ride home.

I did eventually ‘arrive’ at Connaught Water, though certainly not by design.

It wasn’t ‘[w]onderful’, but it was the spot. Hadn’t I intended to get there all along?

Ranulph Granville


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