One Mile Matt Progress

Posted by on Mar 6, 2021 in One Mile Matt, Photography, Updates | One Comment
One Mile Matt Progress

So, a while back I had a vague idea to get some more exercise, take a few more photos, and do some coding: my One Mile Matt project. My aim was to walk every street within a mile of my house.

When I made that last post, I’d done a few walks, taken a few photos, and hacked together a very rough website as a proof-of-concept.

Since then, I’ve apparently spent a total time four-and-a-half days walking. And walked 366.96km. My feet are now a bit sore. So is my shutter finger: I’ve upload 3,333 photos to the website so far.

Speaking of the website, it’s changed from being a hardcoded block of HTML with some manually uploaded photos and some hacky Javascript to being a Symfony 5-based dynamic website with an admin system where I can upload new wanders and photos. A lot of it is still quite rudimentary, but it looks good enough for now. I think it’s probably struggling under the load of displaying the 93 GPS tracks of my walks so far on its homepage, and there are some bits where I’ve definitely painted myself into a bit of a coding corner and need a bit of a re-think, but that’s the way of all programming, really…

This little project has definitely got me out of the house and exercising a lot more — important during lockdown — and got me back into the habit of taking photos without worrying too much about the quality of them. Also, of course, if you take a few thousand photos, you’ve got a lot more chance of taking a good one every now and again than if you were just sitting at home. Here’s a recent one I liked:

But the main benefit has been unexpected: I’ve developed a much bigger interest in local history. Just wandering these streets and the old buildings, and thinking about the names and the politics and the combination of all the things that have brought this little circle of Bristol to its present state: it’s been quite fascinating. Why is that called the Britannia Buildings? What ships used to moor at that disused landing stage? How have I not noticed an entire railway tunnel that I’ve jogged past a hundred times before now? Can you still see the actual hot well of Hotwells?

I’ve bought a few books on local history, and I’ve spent many hours browsing historical websites and I’ve poked around disused railway tunnels and I’ve tried to recreate old photos, and I’ve even started buying the occasional historical item on eBay (need to be careful, there; I can’t start spending too much right now!) It’s even started giving me the occasional idea for works of fiction…

On the down side, processing the photos and working on the website has been a little bit too much sitting-down-in-front-of-a-keyboard on top of the day job, which I am of course doing from the same chair in the same room at the moment, because Covid. Damn it. But nothing is without its downsides, and the website’s good enough for now, so my work on it may go on hold at least until I have a commute to a different office chair to separate my coding at work from my coding at home.

But on the whole this little project is going really well. I honestly couldn’t tell you how much there is “left” — there are plenty of unvisited roads and paths still on the map, and I’ve been doing a lot more re-treading old ground than visiting new places recently. Hopefully as the days lengthen I’ll have more chance to get out than my lunch hour allows, and I can do more longer walks, and in better light for photography. I guess we’ll see!

I’ll leave you with a few more snaps of the random sights I’ve seen on my walks.

A LOL Skull
A reproduction of the Bristol High Cross
St Andrew’s Churchyard Walk
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1 Comment

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