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They didn't tell us stuff like this at school

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Well, another good day in terms of exercise though I must admit all this exercise makes me damn' hungry.

Got the train to Richmond on Thames and walked along the river path to Ham House. The path is very picturesque because it is in the sort of urban countryside you get around London, and the urban bits are where terrifyingly rich people live. I mean, I've sat in a pub in Richmond and watched a household name tv presenter get turned away because it was full.

So anyway. I walked through the town, across the green (very picturesque) and down to the river.

The geese are not very picturesque but they did make me start thinking about stuffing and slow roasting.

Picked up my speed and soon left the pubs and cafes behind. The Thames is tidal and it was high tide which is good as the muddy bits are hidden. About an hour's walking brought me to the meadow in front of Ham House, which they had just cut for hay. The scent of it was wonderful. Hard to describe but it smells a bit the way barley sugar tastes.

Why do I always get on the subject of food?

Did not go in to Ham House for the following reasons:

I've been in there about five times
It costs £9.90
I was there before it opened (this is the clincher, wouldn't you say)

I remember the first time I was there I went with a friend and we were intrigued by one of the handouts which said that Charles II had enjoyed the hospitality of the lady of the house.

Did this, we asked the guide, mean what we thought it meant?

Yes, she told us, it did.

He was a bit of a lad, Charles. They didn't tell us stuff like this at school

Made my way up the side of the house and took some photos of the gorgeous common behind it. For those who don't know this, a common in the UK is 'common land', it has a particular legal status that I don't begin to understand but Wikipedia does
ommon_land so go ahead and have a read if you want to. I hope the people who have the right to graze their animals on this bit don't because it's full of ragwort (yellow flowers) which looks ok at a distance but contains a cumulative poison and not something you want your cattle eating.

Look, shall I stop being a nerd and get back to my walk?

This tree here is an oak, and must be hundreds of years old. I would guess at least as old as the house which was built in 1610. It's beautiful, and it was just standing there in a corner of the field. Well, I euppose it can't walk of course. That's triffids.

I plodded my way back along the road admiring dozens of gobsmackingly beautiful Georgian houses owned by the superrich. Walked along a little chunk of Richmond Park which was very very hard work as uphill and decided I needed coffee (but no cake) at the first oppo and then walked down through the terrace garden, pausing at the top to admire the view.

And the flowers.

Did consider coffee (but no cake) in the Hollyhock Cafe there but it was full of rich posh people of which I am neither so kept going to the Table Cafe by the river for my coffee (but no cake). Was lucky to get a chair overlooking the river and this was the view. Rested my poor throbbing tootsies for half an hour by propping them up on the wall. Below is my view and if you can see cake in that photo it must be an optical illusion because I definitely did not have cake.

Rested and walked back via Marks and Spencer which I ransacked because I have a friend coming for dinner. The menu (after much deliberation) is as follows:

Grilled goat cheese with honey on 'croutes' and salad
Rack of lamb with rosemary and garlic and roast potatoes and roast Mediterranean vegetables and spinach
Cherry clafoutis

I have 800 calories to expend so mine will be heavy on the veg and light on the croutes.

There may be wine involved.

When I got home and peeled off my socks I discovered that I have no blisters any more because they had burst. Yuck.

Tomorrow will have to be an hour of cardio to give my feet a break.
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