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14. With Giants around Swaffham
Churchcrawling in company
Theoretically, it would be possible to begin an interest in visiting churches by becoming friends with people already doing it. In practice, of course, this must hardly ever happen, and churchcrawling is in any case a naturally solitary activity. Perhaps it wasn't until the arrival of the internet that churchcrawlers realised quite how many others of them there were out there.
It was about six months after I started the Suffolk Churches Site in 1999 that I discovered the churchcrawling yahoogroup, an internet mailing list where people could exchange recommendations, experiences, theories, questions and ideas. With hindsight, I am not sure I could have seen the site through its 650 entries without the support of the list, not least because it was often critical and inquisitive. I got to meet a few members over the years, some of whom became good friends, and in 2003 a party of a dozen or so list members met up for a crawl of eight churches in the Swaffham area of Norfolk. At the time, I had no plans for a Norfolk Churches site - if I had have had, I would probably have taken more photos - but these, in any case, will turn out to be the oldest photographs on the site, because although I had visited other Norfolk churches previously, it was not with a camera of any quality.
And with these giants around Swaffham, too, I was in a minority in that my camera was still a point-and-shoot affair which I have since replaced by going digital. And so, because the photos were not as important to me then, it was good to chat, and to listen and to learn from people generally much more knowledgable than I was. If they knew I was going to take everything they said and publish it entirely uncredited, perhaps they would have kept quiet. Only joking, lads.
Simon Knott, November 2004
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