The Mud Map


In her comment on my recent post ‘By Request’ our friend Mary Tang  opined: ‘Bravo, Derrick. Glad we did not lose you in a ditch. Now we need a mud map

The website mud thus explains what Mary considered essential to this blog:

‘mud map : a saying from Australia

The term mud map  is an old Australian bush saying. It dates back to the early years of European settlement when much of the continent was still unexplored and unchartered by white men.

To outline directions to each other, when outback travellers met up by chance they used to draw maps in the dirt or in the mud after it had rained. These in turn became known as mud maps.

In those days it was a lonely life droving and travelling around the bush and the chance to stop and chat for a while around a campfire with a friendly face was something to be savoured and enjoyed.

mud map : what it means

Often while sitting around a campfire at night fellow outback travellers would share stories, trade information and pass on the latest news. This news may have been the latest gold rush or possibly a recent flood and so the map drawn on the ground became the focal point for describing the event and where it was.

The term mud map has remained in the Australian language particularly with people from the bush. These days however the maps are usually hand drawn on paper although you may occasionally see someone squat down and actually draw a map in the mud.’

Jackie therefore spent all day yesterday updating her original drawing of our garden map, now somewhat out of date.

Two years on, this complete layout, is what she produced.

This crop shows the entire plot, without the back drive, including the house and front garden, complete with key;

this one shaves off the road and much of the key;

while this one features the back drive and its borders.

Jackie has traced the original version; transferred it to a large sheet of paper to include the whole of the Back Drive; added a considerable amount of detail and further symbols; and extended the key. Perhaps the more notable additions are the Rose Garden in the top south east corner, and the herbaceous borders flanking the drive. The work is not exactly to scale, but it is a close approximation.

In order reasonably satisfactorily to reproduce this cartographical masterpiece we Blu-Tacked it to our neighbours’ wall along the southern end of the Back Drive in order for me to photograph it. I just about managed that before the rain came down again, thereby saving it from becoming a veritable mud map.

Isn’t it wonderful when blogging friends prompt inspiration?

This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s choice Chinese takeaway with which I finished the malbec and Jackie drank Blue Moon, a wheat beer brewed in the Belgian tradition in Denver, Colorado,and sold in the Co-op at Hordle, Hampshire.