EXPEDITION 2 – BONFANITES

A10/A406 JUNCTION – 14 JULY 2019

Emboldened by the success of our first expedition we decided to try “excavating” another busy junction of the North Circular Road – the A10, which heads northwards until it joins the M11 near Cambridge – this time at another time of week that we figured would be busy for nitronites but less bsuy for traffic, a Sunday afternoon.

As we headed through Haringey and joined the A10 we passed increasing numbers of nitronites at the roadside. We started our collecting of discarded nitronites as we neared Edmonton, before reaching the junction with the North Circular at approximately 3pm.  

Our kerbside investigation and collection of nitronites was met with some interest and amusement by several passing motorists. 

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NB. Nitronite excavation can be a dangerous endeavour and can also attract attention since it presents some unusually counter-intuitive pedestrian behavior to passing motorists. We take great care to only investigate kerbs with contact with passing vehicles on foot, having parked our bikes, and while cars are stopped and lights are red, and absolutely avoiding obstructing cars at all times. However, our activity does attract some attention. Although we have had a few honking of horns, the comments and conversations we have had with passing drivers and pedestrians have been universally positive as soon as we explain what we are doing and why. Most people find our nitro-paleontology for the creation of artwork to be a great idea. Almost everyone comments on what a nuisance the cannisters are, and how the number of discarded cannisters has shot up over the past few years. “They’re everywhere these days” is our most common comment. Which is why, obviously, Nitronites form such an important part of the emerging geological record. Plus they make great keyrings. 

The junction of the A10 and the North Circular is a roundabout with a large underpass for pedestrians and cyclists, with the various pathways meeting in a central area underneath the passing roads. Here, at the very end of our expedition, we were confronted by a new and unanticipated form of nitronite – the Bonfanite, caused when nitronites are discarded into a impromptu bonfire, presumably by some very bored teenagers. In the remains of this bonfire we discovered twelve charred but completely intact specimens of this new and rarely observed nitronite.

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With our paniers full and our prize specimens collected, we returned to sort and classify our latest discoveries. Expedition successful.

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(We didn't fly back, the GPS went haywire. Got to love those American military satellites...).