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the shades of the short winter day were closing in

January 21, 2011

When we met at KM World in Washington late last year Euan and I agreed that we needed to resurrect our habit of walking and talking. So today we met up at a pub on the Thames, leaving one car to drive downstream and walk around eight miles upstream, and as it turned out into the sun.

Now we had contrasting styles of dress, both of us possess Paramo clothing but I was wearing light weight summer trekking trousers, a lightweight T shirt and a fleece. I also had some Merril books, a sort of fusion of wellington book, trainer and walking boot. Euan on the other hand was dressed for a major expotition (cultural reference there not a misspelling); full boots, under fleece, waterproof jacket and a rucksac. In technology the positions were reversed. The iPhone 4 was in common, but for Euan that was sat nav, camera and map as well. In contrast I had my Nikon 7000, a dedicated sat nav and a belief that the Thames path would be signposted.

Euan’s iPhone allowed those who wanted to follow us on the web, and the map of the journey is posted here all courtesy of the iPhone so that is one app I have now bought.

Technology aside, the weather treated us well with a blue sky and a low winter sun. A sense of sun, grass, water and shadows can be gained from the photograph that opens this post and there are more on my photo stream. Conversation started with Euan’s Does the web change everything? post with which I agree; the net has value as we use it, not of itself. Ranged over education in general, British tolerance, children’s books, knowledge management, narrative and a host of other subjects. Euan has the idea of taking people for walks with celebrities (he means management or social computing ones) which I look forward too if he gets round to it!

Talk aside we saw multiple types of water fowl, herons and a lone fox. The water of the near flooded Thames was milky in constituency and the amount of moisture in the soil meant the grass was verdant. Ice had formed over most of the flood waters in the fields and the low winter sun produced incredible lighting effects. For me this was a once off, for Euan is was a near final section in an twenty year programme to walk the Thames path in full. The Thames valley is a wonderful mixture of river, water meadow interspersed with WIllow and Poplar. It is a magical world well captured in multiple descriptions in Wind in the WIllows; the title of this blog is from chapter 5 Dulce Domum. Educated readers will know that is the chapter which starts with a winter ramble and ends up with Mole’s rediscovery of his old home.

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