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Tony Grist

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Driving To Hadlow With Diversions [Dec. 21st, 2013|09:57 am]
Tony Grist
We drove to Hadlow - down windy, narrow country roads- using nothing but our sense of direction- and we were doing fine, heading straight for the tower of Hadlow Castle, when we found the direct road had been blocked off and we had to take a diversion. I was annoyed out of all proportion. We'd been doing so well.

Colin Wilson says human beings have an inbuilt sense of direction. Blindfold people and remove them from their homes and take 'em for long wiggly drives and at the end of the journey ask them where home is and they'll mostly point in the right direction. It's to do with magnetism. We can feel the pull of the poles. Strap a magnet to the heads of your experimental subjects and they'll be completely discombobulated. Same with pigeons. Stick a magnet on a homing pigeon and it'll fly around in circles feeling sorry for itself

Yes, I'm reading Colin Wilson. I find I agree with everything he says.

Here's a story he tells (but in my own words): Someone asked a Zen master for some words of wisdom. ZM wrote "Attention". The querant was disappointed. "Can't you make it longer than that?" ZM wrote "Attention, attention". "Fine, but what does it mean?" ZM wrote "Attention attention, attention."

After much research Wilson came- reluctantly- to believe in spirits. He'll know now whether he was right or wrong.
(He was right, of course.)

I wanted to go to Hadlow because Hadlow Castle has recently been restored and I wanted to see it. The tower is a lovely, slim, gothick fleche- like something transplanted from Bruges- erected by an eccentric squire in the early 19th century. When I was a kid and it was totally wrecked inside and safe only for pigeons I climbed to the top.  For many years now the tower has been a sad stump, clad in scaffolding and with its lantern taken down in case a high wind removed it forcibly into the churchyard. Now it's back the way it was- and people are even living in it (holiday lets, I believe).  This makes me very happy.

[User Picture]From: puddleshark
2013-12-21 10:58 am (UTC)
Hadlow sounds lovely... It must be wonderful to see it restored after so many years.

I'm not sure I agree about the inbuilt sense of direction. Not in everyone. When I first started walking in the local forest I used to get completely turned around and regularly ended up walking miles in the wrong direction. I rarely get lost in forests now, but I don't think it's down to any innate sense of direction, more that I've learnt to read the landscape better.

I have no sense of direction whatsoever in towns and get lost every time I go to Salisbury.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-12-21 11:16 am (UTC)
Hadlow is a middling sort of village- not picture postcard pretty, but not ugly either. At one stage- round about the turn of the century- it had a reputation for being the roughest, toughest village in Kent. The Castle is a joy.

The experiments in direction finding were carried out in the late 20th century by some boffin or other. Of course not every guinea pig performed to standard.

Apparently pigeons have a magnetic mineral actually embedded in their eyes.
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From: cmcmck
2013-12-22 11:20 am (UTC)
I've always liked Hadlow.
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