About this blog and how you can contribute to it

As you walk, cycle or run around Hampstead Heath you catch snatches of the most delicious conversations. This blog will record those intriguing snippets in the hope that they inspire creative writers and thinkers with serendipitous slices of real lives.

This blog will also be the place that I record my year-round runs over the Heath and my swims in Highgate Men’s Ponds.

It will also cover wild-swimming around the world.

If you want to submit your own snatches to this blog then email me at c.h.beckett@lse.ac.uk

My name is Charlie Beckett and I am director of the LSE’s media think-tank, Polis.

You can read my professional blog about journalism at http://www.charliebeckett.org

The website for my think-tank Polis is at http://www.polismedia.org

And you can contact me via polis@lse.ac.uk

Just about all the pictures on this site were taken with an iPhone.

Perhaps it might help someone get past a writer’s block or inspire you to swim or walk (and talk) on the Heath, but the whole thing is supposed to be for amusement. Mine really.

You can get more information about swimming on the Heath including weather forecasts, water temperatures etc from the Corporation website

One Response to “About this blog and how you can contribute to it”

  1. 37 degrees of heat. Hundreds of thousands of human beings.

    Will snippets from halfway across the world do? I write during my visit to the dusty, hot and humid India, from a little by-lane in the intellectual and food capital of the country, Calcutta, and I trust Charlie to excuse me if I got the purpose of this blog a bit wrong! But here goes: stories from 60 secs on a hot summery evening in Calcutta.

    Rickshaws honk ancient horns, street dogs celebrate the first few drops of the norwesters as they dodge the rusty rickshaw wheels…housewives drying their hair after an evening shower lament the speed at which the norwesters visited Bengal and left after just a storm or two. Unwilling kids are dragged off to tuitions by dads determined to make engineers and doctors out of many meant to write poetry.

    Food. Gossip. Sweaty palms. Quick glances at the sky for the hint of a gray cloud.
    Theatre workshops. Music. Dance festivals.

    Calcutta. India. Snippets from simultaneous conversations heard in a span of one minute on a Calcutta road.

    Man selling fruits – “Ganguly’s sixer saved the Night Riders. What a match! What a catch! Who says he’s out of form?! You should have seen his..”

    Boy helping man – “The woman there wanted to buy 3 oranges for 10 rupees. What a bitch. I didn’t sell a single one. 3 oranges for 10. what rot”

    Girl pulling at mother’s elbow near the autorickshaw stand “It’s just for one day. Everyone is going. I asked dad, he said I could if you would only say yes. Everyone is going”

    Mother (ignores her, and bellows at someone on her cell) “Two pinches of turmeric you insane idiot. Rub it hard into the skin of the fish and add some salt and let that be while you fry the aubergines – I am getting back in…”

    (voice cut off by the conductor hanging from the doors of a bus splitting at the joins with people)

    “Gariahat, Dhakuria, Jadavpur, Santoshpuuuuuuuur- there’s space left at the back! Get on fast! Fast! Faaaaast!”

    Ranjana (me) to her mother continues an unfinished conversation “Yes, so it’s a project on the future of European family in like 2030. So it’s all the future – foresight kind of.. So the literature review”

    (cut off by mother)

    Mother – “Look OUT! There’s something that looks like urrgh, dont step on it”

    Ranjana – “So the literature review we did was shaped by the concept of a media environment, by the idea of mediation and by media as…”

    Mother – “there you are. You’ve stepped on some of it. Now get in the car and keep your right shoe away from the covers.”

    Ranjana looks glum.

    Mother – “So this was the project that took you to Iceland?”

    Ranjana- “No. It was Finland”

    All of this in less than 60 secs. Not a peaceful walk. But I leave it to others to share peaceful snippets from calmer places!

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