I've lost my daily ramble :-(

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I've lost my daily ramble :-(

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Jul 9, 2007, 10:29am

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Jul 9, 2007, 10:38am

Oh gosh. I am so sorry this happened to you.

I have to walk alone quite a bit to help strengthen my back (old herniated disc injury) and I take a large walking stick with me. It helps with feeling steady, especially in the winter, but I really like it because there are a ton of loose dogs around my neighborhood.

I suppose something like that could possibly be used for defense against a person, though it always has the potential to be taken and used against you as well.

Jul 9, 2007, 12:00pm

That is very upsetting. I know exactly how uplifting your own little spot of green can be.

You are London based? There are a surprisingly large number of little patches of green. Have a look on an OS map and see if there is another you can try - either from work, or in the evening when you get back? They aren't always obvious from the roads but the UK is riddled with footpaths so you should have access elsewhere. Or try walking along the canal / river banks if there are any near you? Are there any allotments near you that you could use?

If all else fails have a {{HUG}}.

Jul 9, 2007, 4:09pm

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Jul 11, 2007, 11:33am

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Jul 11, 2007, 12:08pm

I've done all my OS maps (as have a few others) so go ahead.

Jul 11, 2007, 1:56pm

As a map lover, I say "yes yes yes!"

Jul 11, 2007, 2:24pm

Bummer, both about the creep and the lame police support. Personally, memorizing the Bible verse Mt 10:28 has been my biggest help, plus staying in shape to be able to flee and running in a gated park with admission or yearly membership required are things I do to keep creeps to a minimum. Besides creepy strangers, I've also had the problem of creepy acquaintances who, for example, live an hour or so away yet join the park in my neighborhood and just happen to appear along the trail, or who just as I'm beginning my run dash out of nowhere jogging saying they decided to take running up again (one I'm thinking of is a heavy smoker, too, so it was kind of funny watching this). Besides personal protection books, you might want to consider a GPS watch, police 911 on speed-dial, low volume on iPod, etc.

Jul 11, 2007, 2:35pm

Andyl #6: I'm now going to catalogue my maps which I'd never thought of doing until seeing your listing. Nor had I noticed the later ones have an ISBN. But of course maps can't show the pleasure/peace/connection between a possibly small area and a person. Why should the police tell perodicticus to stay away from that area? Why don't they do something about her aggressors? Simple: pterodicticus is probably a nice person they can deal with and the creeps are nasty people the UK police would probably rather not get mixed up with.

Jul 11, 2007, 2:39pm

It's like the old joke,

Hey Doc it hurts when I do 'this'

Doc: Easy then don't do that...

Jul 11, 2007, 3:50pm

And once you've got a few maps on don't forget to join the Maps and Atlases Group

Jul 11, 2007, 9:26pm

>1 perodicticus:
Sorry to hear about this incident, but the police reaction is not surprising. By the time you got back and reported it, the perpetrator was long gone. Much easier for them to tell you not to return to a favorite area. I have 3-4 business trips every month, and often get a similar reaction from hotel personnel. I ask for directions to a bike path where I can walk or run without fighting traffic, and they almost invariably say it isn’t safe to go out after dark. My standard response is that, considering the medical history in my family, I am far more likely to expire of a heart attack if I don’t walk, than to be attacked if I do.

If you give up your access to a favorite place, you are letting the creeps win. Better to carry a cell phone with emergency numbers pre-programmed, and maybe take a class in self-defense techniques. Oh, and a camera would be good, for evidence in case you need to report the creep again.

I have enjoyed the outdoors alone for all of my adult life. I hike, walk, run, cycle alone, often after dark, and have had a problem only once. I went for a walk in the last light of a drizzly winter day. A couple of miles from the trailhead, I passed a nude man in a clearing. He was off the path, and didn’t say anything, so I ignored him and kept going. A few minutes later, he grabbed me from behind. I screamed and ran from him, back toward the trailhead. I was training for a marathon at the time, and was sure I could outrun – or at least outlast – this pudgy middle-aged guy.

Apparently he knew the trail better than I did. I was on the third switchback when he suddenly jumped out in front of me, blocking my route back to the trailhead. I rarely carry umbrellas, but had brought one along, in case the drizzle should increase to a downpour. I used the umbrella to poke him in the chest, then started beating him over the head. He protested, yelling that he was “just trying to be friendly”. I told him that I could do without that kind of friendliness, and that if he didn’t leave me alone, I was going to hit him where it would REALLY hurt. He went off through the underbrush, whining about how women these days are so hostile! When I got back to the trailhead, I did call the police to report the location and his description, but I doubt they did anything about it. At least they had the info on file in case of future reports.

On another occasion, I had a funny encounter. One of my favorite running trails gets overgrown late in summer, and a certain type of spider builds vertical webs across the trail. I have a real phobia about spiders, and I don’t want to run into the webs, much less the big blobby spiders. (I NEVER run this trail after dark!) So I keep stashes of “spider sticks” near the overgrown areas. As I run, I thrash the bushes in front of me, to knock down the webs and spiders. On one such run, I came around a corner, vigorously beating the bushes, and encountered a guy running toward me. He jumped off the path, covered his head with his arms, and started yelling “Please don’t hit me! I am just running, I won’t do anything to hurt you!” I apologized, but as he resumed running, he kept watching over his shoulder to make sure I wasn’t pursuing him!

Jul 12, 2007, 10:15am

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Jul 12, 2007, 10:43am

To be fair to the police, they did say that they would send a couple of officers to patrol the area (once I managed to explain where it was -- the woman who answered the phone didn't seem to be familiar with the public footpath system).
My belief is that a visible police presence on foot would do a world of good — even if it's just the occasional pass through a green area, park, cemetery etc. Not just for perverts but also just to cast the odd eye over gangs of youths that sometimes congregate in these places and old people can find a little intimidating (often needlessly I know). Here in Inverness the only time you are likely to see police on foot is in day hours on the High Street but not in the outlying areas. They will say they are undermanned (perhaps true) and inefficient compared with whizzing to the scene in cars. I'm not convinced.

Edited: Jul 12, 2007, 4:14pm

perodicticus, get yourself one of those small cans of pepper spray. I carry one when I snowshoe, just in case I stumble onto a bear or two. I suspect they would work wonders on any and all PERVERTED CREEPs as well. Don't be shy about using it, either. Aim for his eyes.

Jul 12, 2007, 4:26pm

I believe Pepper spray is illegal in GB.

Jul 12, 2007, 4:27pm

#15: A bear? Or TWO? *gulp* We live in nearly bear-free middle Europe... I second the idea of getting a pepper spray though. Seems that big cities like London attract such creeps (or maybe it's simply because there are so many people in one spot - more people, more creeps).

Jul 12, 2007, 4:55pm

#17 - Yes, we have bears here in New England. Sometimes they help themselves to the bird seed in my feeders.

Edited: Jul 12, 2007, 8:11pm

>15 clamairy: clamairy

Different types of pepper spray are used for bears and creepy people. The concentration of capsicum, the size of the can, and the distance the propellant can spray, are all different for these two uses.

And read up on the proper method of application if you are going to Alaska. Some brown bears (aka grizzlies) actually like pepper spray.

Edited: Jul 12, 2007, 8:33pm

#19 - Wow, I had no idea. I just carry my 'creep' spray into the woods. No one in this area has been attacked by a bear for decades, to my knowledge. I'll make an effort to get my hands on the right spray, though. Snowshoeing season is still a few months off. ;o)

Jul 13, 2007, 5:37am

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Jul 13, 2007, 5:53am

According to Yahoo Answers, it is illegal in the UK. “...it is classified as an offensive weapon. The sale and possession of pepper spray is illegal under section five of the Firearms Act.”

However, Wikipedia states that, “At present a number of legal alternative dye sprays are sold in the UK which have the effect of temporarily blinding the attacker but do not constitute noxious substances and so do not contravene this act.”

Also, as oregonobsessionz suggested, I would say a self-defense course would be a good idea.

Sorry to hear about this incident; it is so unfair! Is there anyone from your office that could accompany you into the woodland, at least for a few days or so, until you have a feel for what the police presence has done?

Jul 14, 2007, 1:27am

Wow, I never thought pepper spray would be illegal in Britain. What about Tasers or even stun guns there, illegal?

Jul 14, 2007, 2:33am

It seems that information on stun guns is a little harder to come by, but the most conclusive thing I found was a statement from Hazel Blears MP for Salford, on the Parliament Web site:

“Stun guns are prohibited weapons and can only be possessed with the authority of the Secretary of State under section five of the Firearms Act 1968. Only one authority to possess a stun gun has been issued in England and Wales ... The Taser is limited to use by Authorised Firearms Officers (AFOs), and in situations where a firearms authority has been given.”

Even if they were legal, as fleela pointed out above, there is always the possibility of a weapon getting used against you.

perodicticus, I would definitely suggest a self-defense course. I was in martial arts for years, but it’s surprising how many simple things you can learn in just a few classes. A good instructor could teach you some useful things in just a few hours.

If nothing else, the old kick to the groin is still a classic. Speaking as a man, let me assure you that a swift, hard kick to the crotch would very likely physically prevent me from running after you!

Edited: Jul 14, 2007, 12:51pm

"Wow, I never thought pepper spray would be illegal in Britain. What about Tasers or even stun guns there, illegal?"

I never thought my good old Opinel potato peeler would be illegal until I had it confiscated before boarding the Eurostar (leaving the UK) four weeks ago*. I looked it up, and surely enough, this tiny pocket knife is deemed more dangerous than potato peelers of the same size... Well, got myself a new one for 11€. After all, it's legal in the rest of the EU.

*I had it for 15 years or so, and brought it with me on numerous trips to the UK by plane...

Jul 14, 2007, 12:51pm

You say 'potato', I say 'instrument of death' ;)

Jul 14, 2007, 12:53pm

The joke is, that you can bring a hunter knife, fixed blade, of 10 cm into the country, but Opinels are illegal no matter what (the cheapo locking mechanism, apparently).

Jul 14, 2007, 4:04pm

The Opinel knife you linked to is legal in the UK - there are plenty of shops selling them. It is unlawful to walk about the streets carrying one without a good reason.

For example my Leatherman tool is equally unlawful to carry about in public without a good reason (lockable blade and at 4" is probably too long as well). However I have taken it when I have been out on a multi-day walk, and I also used to carry it around in the bottom of my courier bag (along with screwdriver bits) for work purposes.

I think the only knives banned from import are push daggers, butterfly knives, sword canes, and gravity knives (and probably similar).

Jul 14, 2007, 4:18pm

#28, andyl: Yes, I probably could have taken it up with the head honcho of the police at the station (I was offered the possibility), and I *had* a reason to carry it (long-distance hiker, and that day travelling for 12 hours across Europe with food to prepare), and was *leaving* the UK. But would you do it, 20 min before the train leaves...?
Next time, it'll go in the bottom of my suitcase. I've been known to half unpack my suitcase in the aisle to get things out ;-).

Jul 16, 2007, 4:49am

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Jul 16, 2007, 5:01am

LOL. What if you were planning to practice a little during your lunch break? I wonder if you could carry a bat then. ;-)

“...some KM enthusiasts apparently look down on (it) ... But if it teaches you to defend yourself, I don't really mind.”

Absolutely! Sure, if you’re looking to be a “proper” martial artist (whatever that actually is), than, okay, I could see that. On the other hand, self-defense is self-defense, as long as it’s effective.

Good luck; I sincerely hope that you get your ramble back, or at least find a suitable substitute!

Jul 16, 2007, 5:09am

Oh, also, in your original post you asked about book recommendations. Personally, I have never read it, but the head instructor of a small school where I one assisted in teaching a self-defense course always recommended The Gift of Fear to women in the class.

Jul 16, 2007, 2:10pm

Sorry you lost your walking area. That is one reason I live in Alaska. And we use pepper spray here as well, but as one of my friends state, hard traveling at high speeds works much better on bears. Fortunately every time I have seen one, they did not see me. Except for the one who followed me down a mountain, but then I never saw him.

There is a story about a hunter who was left off by a pilot for week long hunting trip. As the pilot took off, he looked down and saw the man on the ground, writhing as it he was having a cardiac attack. The pilot landed, thinking he would have to take the man back.

It turns out the man had applied bear repellent right after he applied his insect repellent. And in the say way.

I have a friend who was accosted by a stranger, and she came on to him as a defensive move. It freaked the guy out so much, he ran away. I dont think I would recommend that though.

(PS I did my seminary work in Germany.)