walking into 2009

Grainger St, Newcastle. January 26th. 5.5 miles

I am feeling rather sombre this week. I think this may be partly to do with the dark. Though my feet have covered the equivalent of a marathon in the past few days, and though I am really enjoying both the walking and the thinking about the walking, my journeys mostly occur in the hours before dawn, and those after dusk. In order to take any sort of photograph of my walking day, I’ve had to seek out the light of illuminated places: bus stations, platforms, stores.

Haymarket Bus Station, Newcastle. January 27th. 4.5 miles.

The other reason I am feeling sombre is the hypocritical and obfuscatory response I received from the BBC to my complaint about their refusal to broadcast the appeal from the Disaster Emergency Commission, who are co-ordinating the important work of supplying aid to to Palestinians whose homes, lives, and livelihoods have been destroyed in the recent bombardment. I imagine some of you may have complained about the BBC’s decision as well, and will have received exactly the same message. After reading their blithe and unapologetic email, I walked home, stopping to pick up a pint of milk in Tesco, where I saw hordes of shoppers stuffing cellophane-wrapped salads and herbs labelled Produce of West Bank into their baskets. These apparently innocuous packets of basil have their origin in occupied land. They are grown in the settlements that the UN, and every other nation in the world apart from Israel have condemned as illegal. I left without buying my milk, and walked home. In the dark.

Princes St, Edinburgh. January 29th. 4 miles.

Eldon Square war memorial, Newcastle. January 28th. 4.5 miles.