Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Pre-moonwalk moonwalk - going local

Good evening, all. It's the eve of my penultimate moonwalk of 2009 and after I spotted a 99.7%-full moon smiling outside the window earlier, I couldn't resist going for a cheeky moonlit stroll before the main event tomorrow. Which promises to be a special affair. If I don't get shot...

Tonight, I wandered the empty streets of Waltham Abbey under a distant, hazy, misty, spooky December full moon (she's fullest at 0730 tomorrow, hence dedicating tomorrow to the main adventure). Waltham is where I grew up ("the Abbey" if you live here and prowled the streets as a teen). Last week, the town celebrated the switching on of the Christmas lights with the usual colourful cavalcade. And, I'd guess, drunken revelry. So a week later, I felt it safe to embark on a pre-moonwalk warm up.

Glad I did.

 Waltham Abbey Church with moon for company

The Abbey (so I prowled the streets once) takes on a charm at night. When the streets don't echo to the sound of beer-swilling youths discussing the curry they've just scoffed, the ancient town reclines elegantly in the still air. I like darkness at night, and sadly my town doesn't offer much of that. But somehow, she gets away with it.

Shop fronts glow, streetlights bleed, uplighters try their best to bring down aircraft. But the majesty of the thousand year-old church, the quiet of the graveyard where King Harold (avec arrow) supposedly rests, the sloping, angular, wonky, typically-Tudor market square all take modernity in their stride.

Mum walked with me tonight. It was cold. "It's cold," she said. It was nippy - a couple of degrees above freezing. "It's cold," she repeated. "Yes, Mum, it's cold."

"It's cold, Rob."

I think Mum's insistence on reminding me it was cold somehow made it colder.

We reached Sun Street near the end of our circuit. I spent a good few minutes balancing my camera on a pillar box to photograph Sun Street by moonlight. I thought if I snapped a good enough photo, they may think about rebranding. Moon Street.

 Moon Street, Waltham Abbey, December 2009

I must admit, the town is looking pretty...pretty at the moment. If there's one thing Waltham Abbey does well, it's hang lights between old buildings. With moon-like bulbs flickering in the windows of cosy pubs, I was very tempted to pop in for a winter warmer.

But then I realised I'm walking 16 miles through tank tracks tomorrow, across an area of land used for live artillery practice, with two men I've never met. They're long distance walkers. One's called Pete. The other is JC (formerly John the Foot, then John the Compass, now just plain old JC). I'm hunting lunacy. Which is why a blacksmith has promised to take me to a lunatic graveyard.

Part of me can't wait for the adventure. Part of me thinks I've gone mad.

We'll soon see...

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