2009-08-02 51 -0
Off Abbey Road, London
When Mito and I saw that the geo hash was for the London West graticule was in an urban setting, rather than in the middle of a bramble-infested wood, we decided that it would make for a nice-easy afternoon.
From google's aerial photography, the geohash appeared to be on the edge of a block of flats but very close to an area of shared garden that we would consider close enough to be a success.
We met slightly later than planned at Maida Vale tube station after both being subjected to the wonders of the London Tube network; line closures and signal failures.
After walking through a few streets, we found that the flat block that we saw on the map was currently adjoining a building site and so walked around the block to see if there were any alternate routes. En route we watched tourists posing for Beatles-inspired photos on the zebra crossing outside of Abbey Road studios, much to the annoyance of the black cab drivers waiting to pass.
The road behind the flat block did, indeed, have an entrance to the gardens, but unfortunately we were barred entrance by an imposing security gate - probably placed in order to keep randoms from the internet off of their property. This left us too far away from the geo hash to be satisfied so we continued around the block, looking for any accessible areas, until we arrived back on Abbey Road.
Walking around, comparing readings, we decided that the best location was the driveway of another group of residential buildings the opposite side of the building site. I ended up standing in the corner between the gateway of this residential complex and the hoarding on the perimeter of the building site.
Mito set up the camera equipment whilst I wondered around the immediate area trying to shave centimetres off of my GPS reading. We snapped a few shots of proof and then, as Mito was showing me previews of the shots while we still had the camera on it's tripod, we heard a voice behind us: "Can I help you?"
Mito's response of "No, we're fine thanks." didn't really seem to placate the security guard and he asked me "Why are you taking photos here?". I began the explanation that I had been mulling around in my head (Diplomatically deciding against "Don't worry sir, we're from the internet") - "Well... we're kind of playing a game... like a treasure hunt... well not really. It's like choosing a location by throwing a dart at a map..."
While I was convincing the security guard that we were definitely terrorists, Mito had finished packing up and so we decided to retreat to a safe distance before the security guard called in air support.
It was still fairly early and turning into a pleasant afternoon so we decided to put 21st century technology to good use and I got my phone to tell me the route to the nearest pub. Other than relaxing and having a pint, we discussed how to improve our cover story for when telling the truth wouldn't work - we came to the conclusion that "We're location scouts for a movie. We're just lining up a few shots... hey, we're looking for extras at the moment..." (Idea stolen from an episode of Hustle). I'll let you know how that works for us next time.