For a while now I’ve been trying to reduce my impact on the world. I’ve blogged already about saving water. So it probably does not surprise you to learn that I now also pretty much walk everywhere. Yes walk not even catch public transport.
To be honest I greatly enjoy walking and even more so when I get to do it in the surprisingly picturesque scenery of the canal side. Indeed it is rather an oasis in the city so the four mile walk quickly goes by. In fact you could be anywhere in the world on that canal tow-path. Even back home in my native Yorkshire.
Of course there are downsides and with a round trip of about 8 miles it takes me approximately two hours to make my journey in and back out of the city centre. But with no real constraints on my time that is two hours I am quite happy to use up.
The other real downside is darkness. So whilst this walk is very pleasant in the day light but can be somewhat damp underfoot it is a completely different beast in the relatively pitch black of night.
There is yet another issue and that is rain. Manchester is quite well known for rain and so it probably does not come as a great shock that I have I gotten drenched on more that one occasion. The most recent of these being the post show walk home after Chroma: Art Meets Science.
Let me explain my drenching to thee - let me count the ways. No I don’t know why either?
Rather amazingly and I’m really still not entirely certain how or why but after the Chroma: Art Meets Science show which was at 15:30 kick off I managed to crawl into my apartment at about 21:20 that same evening. I say crawl but really you could say slide or pour maybe.
Well during my normally pleasant walk which started out on the canal side (which is at least very well lit at this stage) the heavens opened the winds began to blow and me wearing three layers of clothing thought I would survive. I was wrong. Through three layers of clothing including a “waterproof” top coat the water penetrated. Worse still I was only half way home. At one point I was contemplating putting my lab coat, which was in my bag, on over the top of all the other layers. The only thing that stopped me was the fact that my lab coat was in a bag that was between layers one and three. So to get to it I would need to remove a layer and stop moving. Neither of which seemed good ideas at the time.
So picture as you will a drenched bloke walking, neigh stumbling, along the canal side (remembering it is quite well lit at this point) only to remember that from a certain bridge onwards the tow-path will be both in total darkness and also thanks to the rain a complete quagmire. So the choice was made that from that certain bridge I would brave the road and take that more well lit route home.
The Well Lit Route
Of course there are different challenges when walking on the footpath by the road not massive ones but the water on my glasses making it hard to see, my underwear which was by this time so wet I could feel it squelch and self rinse out water with every step.
The rain of course getting a lot of the blame for this damp, squelchiness and I forgave it but NOT the bloody white van driver who tsunami’d me with a massive puddle and 40 miles an hour on a corner. Did you see the film a perfect storm? Well I would say that was a rather convincing reproduction of the incident.
To my credit I did not break stride. I did drink quite a lot of the water running down off my head and rather annoyingly since the van came from behind I had no way to prepare, to brace for the impact and continuous deluge of water which was not comedy gold at all. In fact rather annoyingly the lovely warm layer of warm water I’d managed to heat between layer one and my skin was in a way keeping me warm UP UNTIL that point when it was sudden replaced with 1000 gallons of God knows what containing roadside filth.
So clearly there is a downside of walking by the roads compared to the canals. But on the bright side my death from exposure or pneumonia after my drenching will pretty much reduce my impact, my carbon footprint and so help the planet.