Thursday, 3 February 2011


Once a month we get a free magazine with the Times and it usually gives me at least one topic for a blog. Today's topic is journeys. I am not talking about journeys one makes on holidays but journeys that everyone makes throughout their lives.

For example - the farmer has lived in this house since the day he was born. For a couple of years after we married we moved into the farm cottage next door, so really that is the extent of his journey.

I, on the other hand, have moved around quite a lot. I began in Lincolnshire, moved at eighteen into Lincoln itself, then to the Lincolnshire countryside, then to Lichfield in Staffordshire, then to Wolverhampton, finally to North Yorkshire and to two separate homes there.

In these days of 'social mobility' people move all over the world for their jobs, or they emigrate, or they retire to a different area. But all these journeys are as nothing compared with the journeys some animals make.

I don't know about you but I really am rather tired of seeing the Wildebeest migration - yes it is very spectacular when 1.5 million animals go to the Serengeti plains to give birth and then all gather together for their mammoth journey across the Mara river, running the gauntlet of crocodiles, lions etc., to the Masai Mara in Kenya, where they eat the grass until November and then return. Sadly I read that 'progress' intends to put a major road across the Serengeti, so that will be another hazard.

But in today's Eureka magazine I read of how short that migration of a thousand miles or so (done every year, not once in a lifetime)is, compared with other members of the animal kingdom.

Caribou travel 3,700 miles each year; Humpback whales travel 6,200 miles each year;
the Leather back turtle travels 12,800 miles and the tiny Arctic tern (only 36 centimetres long) travels a mighty 45,000 miles.

That puts us severely in our place, doesn't it - particularly as our journeys are not done on foot searching for food all the way. But spare a thought for the tiny (15cm)Neritidae snail, who travels 2.5 miles each year.

Journeys feature in blogland too as many of the people I blog with have moved to a different country - that variety makes life so interesting. What kind of a journey have you made?


Titus said...

Love the taste of Spring header Weaver, a sight for sore eyes. My snowdrops just starting to appear, but the rest is a leaf-mould mess!

Romford to the City of London every day for secondary school (brilliant, but a long day), then to Canterbury for sixth form (boarding, also brillant) and then beautiful Bristol for University and career. Career took me the length and breadth of the UK, but only on a temporary basis.
So all residency nice and Southern , until the red-haired man reived me to Dumfries and Galloway. 13 years later and I'm still getting to grips with it! There is more restraint about the people here, I find, than I'm used to.
I love Eureka and it's the boys' second favourite magazine after The Beano.

Arija said...

Only three continents and five countries . . .It would take too long to count up all the different places.
Interesting thought though.

The Bug said...

Well, I did live in Zambia for a year and a half - & lived in two different places while I was there. Otherwise, I've lived in various spots in NC & then two different counties in Ohio.

But the journey of my mind has been more drastic. My current theology is light years away from my conservative upbringing. And in so many ways I'm such a different person than that girl in high school.

Golden West said...

Other than 4+ years in Hawaii, a brief interlude in Puerto Rico and a summer working in Yosemite National Park, I've lived in my hometown, just mere blocks from the little house I grew up in. Happily, there are still 4 generations of us living here.

Golden West said...

Fishing in dress clothes - yes, I think they really dressed that way... My dad has told me he remembers his grandfather farming here in town, always in a suit jacket!

Granny Sue said...

Mine has been short compared to most people today. My parents were the ones who made the real trek--Dad met Mom in Cambridge during WWII; she was from Caldecote and he was from New Orleans. They ended up in Virginia. I moved from one culture to another when I left Virginia for the mountains of West Virginia, and have never regretted the decision. This is home and has been for 35+ years.

Pondside said...

On the North American Continent I've lived on either coast, in the north and as far south as Oklahoma - then ten years in Europe - too many houses to start counting. It's been a good life, but there were years when I longed for roots.

Reader Wil said...

It's a very impressive achievement of the tiny stern to travel that far. It makes me think if it stops once in a while to sleep or eat. For a snail two and a half miles is also a great achievement!
Nice and interesting post,Weaver.

Heather said...

I was born in Sussex, grew up in Bucks, started married life in Berkshire, then moved up to Cheshire, down to two different places in Devon and finally to Gloucestershire. My husband isn't interested in foreign travel so our holidays are UK based, but we did go to France once, Spain once and I wangled a trip to the north west of the USA and Canada. Just reading about all those adventurous creatures made me feel quite boring and lazy!

Crafty Green Poet said...

Well it may have been televised rather too much but its likely that the Serengeti migration won't be around for much longer, as the Tanzanian government seems committed to the Highway through. We seem not to be able to respect the journeyings of the animals we share the planet with...

Unknown said...

My parents left southern Scotland when they were children and came to Toronto to live. Toronto borders the eastern woodlands of Canada and I have traveled and lived in most parts of the woodlands. I have journeyed east and west in Canada, to some points in the eastern United States and visited Scotland and England as well. I love my home in the woodlands and here I will stay. My children have made their home here too.

Jo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jo said...

I've migrated only 350 miles east, directly across the state of Missouri (USA) from Kansas City to St. Louis. Still, it felt like the other side of the world to me at the time (35 years ago).

I put down roots deep and strong, so it takes them a while to take hold securely. I lived here for 25 years, when, after the birth of my fourth child in St. Louis, I began to call it my home.

Oddly enough, there's nothing I enjoy more than traveling! Throw a dart at a map and I'll go!

3 February 2011 16:35

Anonymous said...

So arrogant of humans to disrupt migration paths - we share the planet not own it.
I've made too many moves to mention... city, country, interstate and overseas, moving on average every three or four years from the ages of 17 to 57.
Husband and I have finally bought a place to see us into retirement.Whew!
I compare my nomadic lifestyle (you can imagine how much we have pared down our possessions) with my parents, basically one move from family home on marriage.
Recently my mother decided, with family help, to move she and dad to a smaller unit. It nearly killed my Dad literally. He had a heart attack with the stress of it all, though he is happy and settled now.Can't believe how much stuff they had!!

Cloudia said...

ah, but we travel the limitless space of thought and caring!

Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

Gung Hee Fat Choy!


Good Luck in the
Year of the Golden Rabbit!

Marianne said...

London to Bristol to the Welsh border but probably 20 houses in 60+ years. I move easily but now I've found my home in these mountains. The address will change but this is where I belong - it took a while to find it.

Caroline Gill said...

I'm wondering, Weaver, if the snail is in millimetres? Otherwise it sounds quite large to me (though a long way short of the one in Dr Dolittle, as I recall!).

MorningAJ said...

Essex (yes I’m an Essex girl – PLEASE don’t tell anyone!) Scarborough (three different houses), Leicester, back to Scarborough, Sheffield, Lincoln (four different flats), County Durham (three different homes), Northants (three different homes), Norfolk (two different towns – two different flats in the second one) Liverpool (three homes in four years), Coventry (two homes), Derby, North Leicestershire.

And if I had a choice I'd be back to Scarborough without a second thought!

Lyn said...

What gets me about the animal migrations is how they know...all born with absolute knowledge..we too, perhaps, but we tend to forget a lot...loved this trip..Thank you, I'm heavy on the inner, right now!
Spring, please...

The Weaver of Grass said...

What about a map of the world with all our journeys marked on it - what a map that would be - thank you for answering my question.

Dave King said...

Journeying is such a fascinating subject. There are so many types of journey undertaken for so many different reasons and in various circumstances. And then there's the metaphor of journeying. You've stirred the bowl for me.

ChrisJ said...

Too many Weaver, too many.
Moved seven times as a child and teen. Left home at aged 18, college near Bakewell. Teaching in Birmingham and Liverpool. On to Toronto, back to Calver in Derbyshire, back to Toronto and then down to St Paul, Minnesota. All this in the next sixteen years.
But now 38 years in Carlsbad, California. Some roots at last, but Flamborough and Derbyshire are still my favorites -- if they had our weather.

Delaine said...

Journey's that inner knowing that animals have, makes me wonder where is that knowing in our young people, so many seem to be lost searching for direction, when all the while it is within their oun hearts,they seek adventure, money and all manner of satifactions, all the while losing their direction and the understanding of where they fit into society, they do not see how important they are to the survival of our people, our nations and the world, they only see self. If the animals did that they would be exstinct in no time. As for me, I am still on my journey, it has been a long migration from womb to grandmother,the sacrafices I made for my children and their future was worth the struggle, now they are responcible parents raising children who will better our world. Is that not the reason we are here?
Wow I guess I have strong feelings about the direction we are going.You have given me food for thought Thank you

BT said...

Wow, that poor little snail! What a journey. What interesting facts about the birds and whales, etc. I agree about the Wildebeest - I, too am a bit fed up with watching their journey over and over. Elephants travel quite far too in search of food I believe.

I have journeyed from London to Thetford to Sheffield to Bakewell in Derbyshire to Matlock Bath in Derbyshire, then to Worthing, Sussex and finally for now, to Ireland. Quite a few miles I think. Hopefully I'll journey back to the UK before too long.