The Ordnance Survey Geograph project is ten years old. I have been contributing to it since September 2009. And yet, until yesterday, I had only met two other people who are involved in this online "community" - Mr Walter Baxter (Laird of Galashiels) and Steve from my local pub who joined up with my encouragement just last year.
On its site "Geograph" had announced some tenth birthday events around the country. With a little trepidation, I decided to travel eastwards to Lincoln and beyond to meet up with some other Geograph contributors at "The Sebastopol Inn" in the village of Minting. There would be lunch and a country walk in an area I hadn't visited since May 1972 when I attended a big pop festival at nearby Bardney - "The Great Western Express".
|"The Sebastopol Inn" in Minting, Lincolnshire|
The pub was more like a posh restaurant and I squirmed at the drinks prices and the food menu. No sandwiches or burgers with fries here. The names of the other Geograph-ers were all familiar but not their faces. Like me they were all "mature". Though the food was expensive it was good and we had a pleasant time chattering away before sharing a two mile ramble through the quiet countryside nearby.
Jonathan from Scunthorpe had his little Jack Russell with him and at one point the mischievous little hound ran off madly into a beet field. Lord knows what he was smelling out there but that dog became a little spot on the horizon with Jonathan yelling "Come here !" and whistling to no avail. After several minutes the crazy dog came back only to be greeted with a lead and muzzle. "I need to show him who's boss!" said the bachelor church curate.
There was a woman in the little group - Chris - who has a pilot's licence and flies a Cessna on pleasure trips around the east of England. That is the viewpoint for many of her photographs. But back in the pub-restaurant she told a disturbing story of persecution by "bad" neighbours who had been instrumental in getting her arrested on three occasions. It seemed like something out of a television drama - especially the bit about being threatened with a gun - when she recorded the whole incident on a mobile phone to play back to the police as evidence of her tormentors' malice. Ah well, I guess we all have problems!
People who are part of the Geograph project like the thrill of photography, enjoy looking at maps and are interested in geographical and historical matters. It is what we have in common and in that sense it was good to meet up with the others. I also got to wander in different territory and snap photographs of unfamiliar scenes before the long drive back to Sheffield. The organiser, Richard, was a very nice man. I am glad I went.
Here's Bob's picture of the group in Minting. I am of course the younger looking fellow in the middle, feeling like a carer in an old folks' home:-