Walking Furlongs

This is the first day of Level 5 lockdown in Ireland, the highest level, which we will be for the next six weeks until the end of November, in this crazy year of 2020.

We got to Wexford back in March this year, just in time for everything to shut. Luckily we were able to change our plans and stay in the holiday home, originally booked for 5 nights, for what ended up being nearly six months.

During the last lockdown I went out walking, as I usually do, every day, except that I was suddenly walking up and down a lane in Bunclody every day, instead of being in the suburbs of Greater London. I walked and photographed and wrote, as I usually do, and one of the poems from that time, St John’s Eve, Bunclody, is up on the Pendemic site.

Another poem, Conker, was written to go with Dean Reddick’s beautiful bronze conker, as part of CollectConnect’s online Sentinel Trees show. It was also partly inspired by the horse chestnut tree I walked past nearly every day, on the lane down towards Clonegal.

Many other artists and writers responded to the lockdown too, much more consistently and cohesively, with whole projects. Particularly gorgeous is Kel Portman’s lockdown garden walks – photos and verses – some of which are available to buy as packs of cards here.

I’ve been writing and painting a bit, making collages, taking photos and walking. I took up running again in mid-June as a way of staying sane and getting fitter but I haven’t settled down to an actual writing / walking art project until now.

Wexford Town

Now we are living a 15 minute walk from Wexford Town, and once again only able to travel up to a 5km radius from home. So, like many others I have been looking for constructive and positive ways to use this time. And I know that I am going to spend the next six weeks walking, documenting and exploring every bit of Wexford in a 5km radius.

We are 15 minutes’ walk from where the Furlong family shop once was, long gone now. The shop front is still there and the house above is where the family lived. Apart from that, I know my Gran was from Ballymurn, which I think is out of range of this project, although I have walked around it via trips in the car.

So, I’m a blow-in from Tolworth, which is where my grandparents moved to from Wexford – as one of my new neighbours here in Wexford said : “Full circle.”

My last poetry map, Over the Fields, was about my family’s connection with the local greenbelt in Tolworth (at Malden Manor). The subtitle was ‘Walking Furlongs’. So I’m continuing… there are just about 25 furlongs in 5km.

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