I am going to gloss over the fact that the Curiously Creatively premises have been rather quite for the summer months (as indeed has its sister blog Tales from the Landing Bookshelves) and simply push on with a little creative activity to get us back on track before the winter. It is merely a question of finding inspiration, getting curious and getting back on track creatively. So, what better way for getting back on track than getting out and doing a bit of walking? I shall explain…
While browsing in Rathmines Library recently, I came across a leaflet advertising a Dublin City Council initiative called Beat the Street. In true Curiously Creatively fashion, I stopped and read the leaflet and the idea instantly hooked me. I like challenges, especially walking challenges. And this one had a neat little smart card that you could ‘tag on’ to record your progress. That way, you really feel that you are achieving a target on your walk. The only problem was that I was late coming to the challenge (which ran from 13 September – 1 November), so I couldn’t really hope to rack up much distance. I only had a few days to pound the streets of Dublin. I tried to remember to take pictures on a couple of the routes, to make a mini Beat the Street gallery.
The whole Beat the Street system was beautifully simple and it worked very well. Having said that, I found it a bit frustrating at times if I didn’t immediately spot the Beat Box, usually attached to a lamppost or similar. I realise that this was partly because of using the fold out paper map as opposed to using a map online where you can get details that are more precise. I also have to confess to the occasional map reading error (it does help to be looking at it the right way round I find) which hinders the finding of the nearest Beat Box.
I was pleased to discover that Beat Boxes were to be found along two of my favourite walking routes, the river Dodder and the Grand Canal. It was particularly nice to do a canal walk as I picked a lovely golden-y typical autumn day for it. High lights of that walk were managing to get a couple of photographs of swans (including one beautiful youngster not yet in full white) and spotting that Patrick Kavanagh had acquired a second hat from some thoughtful person. On the downside I spotted a bench along the Mespil Road stretch that had obviously played host to a party of drinkers who were too lazy/thoughtless/anti-social to gather up the empties and find a bin. It spoils such a lovely situation and yet these people clearly don’t give a damn for that.
It wasn’t all walking for pleasure as I learnt from the map that I could Beat the Street on my way to work too. In the end, I went slightly off my normal route to hop from box to box but that was probably a good thing. It made a change of scenery and was a little longer than usual so I gained some more exercise. I enjoy walking in an urban/suburban landscape as much as in the countryside as there is so much small detail to see if you take the time to look around as you walk. Now, I admit that I am probably guilty of merely strolling sometimes as I surreptitiously study someone’s garden planting, a dubious extension or browse a shop window, but I do pick up the pace afterwards.
Now, I am hoping that the walking and the thinking done while walking will encourage the creative activity and the regular blog posts. I just have to keep remembering that all I need to do is to hop from box to box and I’ll get there, sooner or later.
If you tried the Beat the Street challenge, do let me know how you got on!