Sunday, March 25, 2012

To Each Her Own

From the OED---Letterboxing

1. orig. Brit. An outdoor pastime in which participants hunt for hidden boxes containing a distinctive rubber stamp, with which one may stamp one's personal record of boxes visited, and a visitors' book, in which one's visit may be recorded.

This activity typically takes place in the countryside, and originated in Dartmoor National Park

It's innocent enough --this hunting for hidden boxes. My ignorance of the sport remains a small hindrance when Google is close at hand. A few letters typed and a plethora of sites offer elucidation.

This sport, or the legend surrounding its beginnings, began in Great Britain in 1854 when James Perrott, a gentleman of course, left his "calling card in a jar in a remote area of Cranmere Pool on the moors of Dartmoor. Since Perrott walked as a guide on the moors he "encouraged his clients to leave their their cards in the jar, as well."

Sometime during the early 1900's the bottle disappeared and in its place a tin box apeared and a "visitor's book was provided."

In time visitors became creative and started to leave self-addressed postcards. Perhaps the next visitor would pick up their postcard and return it via mail.

Now there's a stamp left in the box and you stamp your log book attesting to your discovery of the box—and then you stamp the letterbox log. And because ink pads dry out—each letterboxer ( is there such a word?) carries an ink pad.

The British suggest that you wear boots when looking for these boxes lest you pass by stinging nettles. Nettles with their hairs ready to spring into action. The tingling pain, irritation and red patches can last for half a day.

Isn't it odd that nettles, when cooked are quite good. My favorite recipe, where I don gloves as well as boots and search for nettles, is Nestle-Mushroom Pie with Pinenuts. You can find the recipe here.

I'd like to walk , using a trail map, at Dartmoor National Park. The hike to Crannmere Pool is arduous and the scenery is depicted as foreboding. Then I'd contnue and try and find the stone ascribed with the poet Ted Hughes name.

The question for me is whether Hughes wrote any poems about that area.


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