The Goring Gap

Opening curtains to the morning sun mum exclaims “it’s so far down!” goring gap 1She has a remarkable capacity to see the world anew, including how sheer the drop is from bedroom window to garden below.

On car journeys it’s often the height of distant hills: “They are so tall, like…” she drifts off, not remembering the name for the thing that fits with the feeling. But I like the way she reminds me to look again, to feast my eyes whilst I still have the ability to describe. I’m with her all week when I should be full steam into this project.

This story so far has lacked an A to B to 18thC linear logic. So many digressions – whether real life or ‘mum world’ – have led to delay, reset, or otherwise altered trajectories. Be patient, there is some order to ‘chapters’ under preparation, including:

  • Beautiful & eccentric depictions of elevation – pre-contour
  • Hutton’s missing contour map
  • Hutton or the French, who really invented contours?
  • And why the OS were such late adopters (while the rest of Europe steamed ahead)

It’s Tuesday morning, mum is taking a nap while I try to escape the “Goring Gap”, walking fast I’m momentarily stalled by a sight as seen using my mother’s eyes; echoing the arc of the hill are two contour lines, one at say 100m the other at 125? goring gapI stop, stare: marvel. Reaching the top of the hill those two white lines are lost among a dozen others describing various routes to Heathrow. And it’s time for me to make my way ‘home’.

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