It has been a strange year, a year that was nearly cut very short by a dark blue Fiat Punto that hit me at around 35 mph on a pedestrian crossing in mid January; amazingly and thankfully, I came out of it alive and without any life changing injuries, but it defined much of my year as I was initially put back together at Kings College Hospital and then gradually recovered. It was something that really made me appreciate the NHS, its history and the risks it faces now.
Thank you to those of you who have sent their best wishes, expressed their concern and wishes for recovery here, via Twitter and elsewhere – they helped me stay positive and made the road to recovery a little easier.
One of the indirect impacts of the ‘accident’ was that Running Past changed a bit in that it became more focussed on an area that was closer to home as my running based research became walking based for a while. I did worry that, as a result, some of the things I posted on were about too ‘niche’, who on earth would be interested in a post on pond that was probably filled in during the1820s and its links to tributaries of the Quaggy? Oddly, lots of you did though, and for a while it was my most read post of the year.
Walking instead of running changed my perceptions a lot – I had never noticed the knee level graffiti in St Margaret’s Passage when running.
The same was true of some of the things I found wandering along the Rivers Pool and Ravensbourne at a third of my previous pace.
The much more local focus was something I have decided to largely keep for the future – although there will still be forays elsewhere.
So what have you read? The most read post was the same as in 2014, by some margin, on the Zeppelin Attack on Hither Green in 1917. The next five most read posts were all new ones on
- The Russian Anarchist, Peter Kropotkin, and the time he spent in Bromley;
- George Wilson, the Blackheath Pedestrian – one of a number of posts I did on late Georgian and early Victorian walkers and runners;
- The Hidden Waterways of Greenwich Park;
- Will Crooks & the Greenwich Foot Tunnel; and
- A post tracking the largely lost Little Quaggy.
I enjoyed the research for all of the posts, I wouldn’t do it otherwise, but there were a couple of posts I particularly enjoyed – one ploughed a familiar furrow – a lost church, St Andrews, Vanbrugh Park, but linked it to the to the East London Group of artists, one of whose number Elwin Hawthorne had painted it in the 1930s. It was something a little outside my comfort zone, but art which adds to the local history of South East London and will be something I plan to return to in 2016.
See picture notes below for details re source & copyright
The other was a post I stumbled on when noticing an old street name sign off Baring Road which had links to Lee’s farming past – oddly it provoked little interest until I re-badged it as ‘Cows in Lee’ on Twitter. I will probably return to Lee’s agricultural past in 2016.
I have written a lot less about running this year, partly because it took an age to be able to run any real distance so the only posts tended to be about the real milestones – the first run, running up a mountain, the first race and some longer runs along the Thames at low tide – including one around Cliffe in Kent.
I think that I have may have shied away a little from writing about running as I am not back to the sort of fitness I really want to be. In 2014, I covered virtually all my races, but my first post-accident 10k in early December 2015, an important milestone, was relegated to a brief mention on Twitter – I suspect because my time was so much slower than in 2014. Hopefully, this is something that will change in 2016.
I have tried one or two things that I would not have done pre-accident – notable amongst these was a piece on the pioneer of the internal monologue – Dorothy Richardson. I did find a slightly tenuous link to the place she died in Beckenham, but it was really a post about her writing. It took me out of my comfort zone, but I really enjoyed it, but it was a type of writing that didn’t fit easily into the confines of Running Past. So I developed another place for the occasional fiction review plus a few other more autobiographical posts based around music that has been important to me.
Thank you for reading my posts this year, ‘liking’ and commenting on them, re-blogging on your own sites, as well as the large numbers of you who have re-tweeted, and liked on Twitter plus those of you who have put up links on Facebook, various on-line newspapers and elsewhere. It is really appreciated and has helped see a threefold increase in the post hits this year. There was also a doubling of the countries that I have had hits from – according to the statistical analysis of my blogging done by WordPress – I had hits from 82 different countries – I found it slightly surreal that someone in Tonga was interested in the street formerly known as Hocum Pocum Lane in Hither Green.
I have enjoyed lots of excellent writing from fellow bloggers – many of whom are on the blog roll at the side or bottom of the page depending on your device. Please do have a look.
The painting of St Andrew, Vanbrugh Park can be viewed at Manchester City Art Galleries; it was made available via the BBC’s Your Paintings Project, which in turn allows reproduction in non-commercial research – this includes blogs (page explaining this only works intermittently).
The black and white photograph of Peter Kropotkin is from Wikimedia Commons
All others are mine, feel free to use non- commercially, providing you credit me.