Last winter, as traffic slithered through slush and ice, I told myself that if the bus broke down on my way home I could, at a pinch, walk the six miles from Edinburgh city centre to Musselburgh. It might not be the most scenic of routes, at least not until one reached Portobello and the sea, but it was reassuring to know that office and home were within a self-sufficient range, however chilling the trudge. The same solution, for instance, as one's train grinds to a halt outside Berwick, is not available.
A superb essay by novelist Will Self in the latest London Review of Books is a reminder of how limited our personal stamping ground has become in the age of petrol. Time was when any self-respecting traveller would have plodded miles without a murmur. Self's most recent book, Walking To Hollywood, was his