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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Tuesday, March 27, 2007
    Middlesex persists
    I misjudged the masticatory habits of Nick Papadimitriou in my blog the other day, as the footnote corrects. But the upshot of our email exchange about it is Nick introducing me to his very interesting project, Middlesex County Council, which honours his home, 'the old County of Middlesex , utilising prose and poetry, photographs and local history lore'.

    The old administrative boundaries have long gone but Nick insists that 'the resonance of Middlesex lingers':

    Walk down the Hendon Way, from Child’s Hill to where traces of old UDC sewage farms are still visible in the concrete culverts, the raised line of the buried aqueducts at Brent Cross. Work up from there to Hendon, to Sunny Hill Park (noting the old Hendon Corporation metals set into the alleyways and road surfaces) and gaze over to the line of ridges running east to west along the old county borders. Allow the eye to roll far off, across the landscape beyond Harrow, to Haste Hill at Ruislip and to windy Harefield on the western border of the County. Next, cut through to Mill Hill via Arendene open space. Looking west again you see the hills at Red Hill, Barn Hill and Harrow (elongated ridges from this perspective) looking like dreadnoughts in line-abreast. Behind twinkle the lights of distant arterial roads and the tower blocks at Hounslow Heath.

    He's got plans to use the website to 'build up a composite picture of the region'. He's aiming to produce a series of chapbook publications for sale or download. And he's already put up a sizeable section devoted to the rivers of Brent. It's fascinating, fun, and I suspect (once I get deep into it) revelatory writing too:

    In a sense this site is concerned with the hidden worlds. Behind the business of our concerns, our dashing and worry, the rivers, streams, ditches rills and rillets run. Though in no-way an eternal counterpoise to our ephemarality, these waterways persist, operating on a different scale of duration to our lives and traceable through the various Ordnance Survey maps produced over the last two centuries.