2 months ago in my first diary entry I quoted Eriks Zelenka from his diary entry recounting how he had trouble with a “middle-class ‘paranoid guy’” and, eventually, ended up in a police station under arrest. And all of this was because Eriks was surveying for OSM in Wokingham, England. Hmm. Last Thursday I found my very own ‘paranoid guy’ (following me up his street, all the while shouting at the top of his voice “where’s your ID? where’s your ID?”). However, I managed to avoid being thrown into choky.
Much earlier I’d gone past a house with a piece of humorous garden furniture. Later it seemed to refer to this chap, so I went back on Saturday 2 July and photographed it:
It was just after 1pm on Thursday 30 June when I started walking up First Avenue, travelling anti-clockwise from the junction with Foxhill Road Central in Carlton, Nottingham NG4, England. I was collecting house-numbers and house-names on this & adjoining streets, as I have for the last 4 months since late March 2016. The area is solid Middle-Class; mixed 1920/30s semi-detached and detached suburban homes with large patches of bungalows and some new-build homes; there are also a number of ‘unadopted’ roads (you can always tell as, normally, the tarmac hasn’t been kept in good repair since the home-owners have to pay for that).
I’ve honed my technique since March. It takes too long to write things down + it may be raining, so I take voice notes using a headset & my mobile (it became utterly practical once I learnt how to kill wind rumble). Photos are taken at every road junction to help cross-reference the voice-notes. Importantly for what follows, if the house has a name-board I always knock on the door and ask if I can photo it. Not legally required, but a piece of decency towards the householder. No-one has ever refused. Until today, when it happened twice.
Finally, I’ve acquired some very useful OSM-info leaflets which double-up as OSM IDs. They do not actually have my name/contacts on them, but no-one that I give them to complains (they are produced by Andy Allan and are exceptionally high-quality, in my view).
The only problem I had until halfway up was the strong up-slope. Then, almost exactly an hour after I started, as I came out of the second side-street back onto First Avenue, I met my ‘paranoid guy’ outside of his home (the second of a semi-detached on the corner). He asked me what I was doing (not unusual). He was a little aggressive with it, but that’s not unusual either & I paid it no mind. His house had a name as well as a number, so I asked if it was OK for me to photograph it. He demanded to know why I wanted to do that (also not unusual) & I explained why. There was then a silent period, so I turned & walked up his path towards the house-name. He instantly went ballistic!
He did not want me to photograph his housename. I pointed out that I had asked him & he replied “I didn’t say yes”. It’s not possible to win with folks in these circumstances, so I didn’t try. The chap even blocked my sight of his housename from the street, so I just read it phonetically into my mobile. He now went double-ballistic, and that was the moment when he began shouting for my ID.
Now try to picture this scene:— I’m walking up a steep street of semi-detached houses, speaking house-numbers into my mobile whilst pursued by a red-faced chap shouting at the top of his voice that I’m not allowed to photograph his house-name, and where is my ID. Ahead of me appear to be all of his neighbours (6 to 8 people), gathered around their cars on the street. I give them a resigned nod of my head as I pass.
His volume & proximity increases and I grow tired of it. I spun round and stepped very close to him. He had zero right to an ID from me, and neither had I photographed his housename. No threats from me & no shouting; there was no need, as my physical presence & determination told him everything about my attitude. He stopped shouting at that point.
Two interesting extras to this:
- On the way back down the street another house-holder refused to let me photograph her house-name on it’s board. She lived almost directly opposite the other house.
- On Google Street-view the street-level view is withheld for that section of the street. I reckon that I know why!