Saturday Saunter: Underground voices and twisting paths

Good Saturday to you,

I am writing this on Sunday morning in the midst of Storm Dennis. It is bright and a wee bit windy out my window this morning and hopefully it won’t be too bad for the trip later today to Kilmarnock to watch the Hibs. This comes out on Saturday morning when I will be on the way to Edinburgh to watch Hibs play Livingston. There hasn’t been a Saturday 3pm kickoff for a couple of weeks so it will be good to have a more gentle pace for my travels to Edinburgh and to have a wander once I’m there. By the time this is posted, another assignment will be written hence I am writing this on Sunday to clear the runway for 1,000 words of scintillating prose about a primary source.

Last week I was away to London and the next few weeks will see quite a few blog posts about that. I want to write this morning about the London Underground. To be fair I often want to write about the London Underground. It is an immense system with lots of lines, stations and underground passageways that feel like being in a video game. I spent a fair bit of time on it, particularly navigating Bank, which must have contributed to about 10,000 steps over two days as well as my very sore feet. Leaving aside Bank, two Underground things are in my mind. The first is Arsenal. We were up there to see the old Highbury and compare it to the Emirates. Arsenal had pot plants and a small bookcase which people could pick and choose from. No substitute for a public library, obviously. It also had older Tube maps from all the way back in May 2019 when Reading and the western reaches of what will eventually be called the Elizabeth line weren’t on the map. For the uninitiated, Tube maps feature art on the cover and the May 2019 map featured some words from Laure Prouvost:

‘In Grand Ma’s Dream This Map Would Always Be With You And Would Resist The Passing Of Time’

I like that. In the age of Google Maps, a paper map should always be with you just in case.

Platform 3 at Embankment: an underground train platform with the words ‘Mind The Gap’ on the ground and advertising and a station sign on the wall above.

Second Underground thing is from Embankment. There was a viral Twitter thread just before Christmas (as talked about in this Guardian article) which talked about why platform 3 on the Northern line at Embankment features a different, sonorous voice reading the words ‘Mind The Gap’. It was actor Oswald Laurence. Transport for London changed the voice a few years ago and Oswald Laurence’s widow Margaret McCollum remarked on it. She used to make a point of going to Embankment every so often just to hear his voice. In a rather lovely bit of work, TfL not only got Margaret McCollum a recording, they restored his voice to platform 3 at Embankment. I made a special trip myself while I was in London to hear the voice of Oswald Laurence, a reminder of the power of love and how it’s the little things that matter.

Last Saturday, I was out with my dad around central Scotland, particularly in Fife and Edinburgh. We went to my favourite art gallery, Kirkcaldy, which had an excellent exhibition of landscape photographs on the go. For those who will ask me rather than going on Google, it is on until 1st March. There were some very fine photographs including rusting, decaying boats, as well as mountains, waves and bridges. One of our favourite pictures was of the twisting pathway at St Monans Harbour in the East Neuk of Fife (as shown below) and we ended up along there around an hour later, stood atop a ladder and trying not to be blown away. I managed a couple of pictures on my phone. I had never seen East Lothian so close before, the 11 miles across the Forth feeling much less.

Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 22nd February 2020. Thanks for reading. If I’ve managed to write another London post, it will appear here tomorrow. Loose Ends will be back on Wednesday with a sculpture. Have a good week. Peace.

13 thoughts on “Saturday Saunter: Underground voices and twisting paths

    1. I’m quite sure! Thanks very much. It is a beguiling place and I cannot pretend to know it well. It’s very interesting, though, and manageable in small doses.


  1. Alli Templeton

    Hi Kev, I’m so sorry for my absence recently. I’ve had so much going on that I’ve had to take a break from blogging altogether for a while. Still, I’m hoping to get going – albeit slowly – again soon. I’ve missed reading your posts, and I really enjoyed this one. I didn’t know any of that about Embankment and the voice of Oswald Laurence. How poignant that his wife used to go there just to hear his voice, and I love your assessment of the little things mattering and the power of love. Very true. And superb shots of the pathway at St Monans harbour. The colour and mono are equally fab, and its interesting to see the slightly different atmosphere they convey.

    Storm Dennis ‘the menace’ wreaked havoc all over, didn’t it? He took our garden fence down so we’re having to have a new one. I should sue old Dennis for damage to property!

    Hope all’s well with you and your studies, and hope to be back in regular contact very soon.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Alli Templeton

        Thanks for your understanding, Kev. Things have been tough here lately. I’m hoping to get back on a more even keel before long though. And yes, latest unnamed storm is having a lot of fun here too. Batten down the hatches and hope for the best, I guess.
        All the best, and keep in touch.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely story about TfL and Embankment! I’ll have to check it out the next time I’m in the area. We have an old Tube map from 2009 hanging in our spare room (one of the big ones that hangs on the station walls – Marcus snatched it many years ago when a guy was changing the map over and had left the old one sitting out) and I enjoy looking at it and trying to work out all the ways it has changed over the years – the old ones used to have the distance between close-together stations like Charing Cross and Embankment, and Leicester Square and Covent Garden to encourage people to just get out and walk and I know they removed that at some point, but I can’t remember exactly when.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Digest: February 2020 – Walking Talking

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