Well, no point in slacking is there? I may not be on the Cote d'azur any more but there's no excuse for not going for long walks. Less in fact: the weather's cooler here (and how!). So I set off this afternoon with a flask of fruit tea and Bach and Jethro Tull on iPod (I listened to all my favourite songs for a whole week in France, over and over again and now I can't stand any of them) and a plan to walk along the Thames from Ham to Kingston, maybe even as far as Hampton Court if my feet hold out.
Get temporarily mislaid at Ham but have the chance to look at the pond
and the back of Ham House, a beautiful Jacobean place.
Autumn has got its teeth into the landscape already and the trees are turning.
Wander along taking pix.
Find the river, and turn left along it. I've never walked this bit of the path before and it's interesting that it is less kempt than the other bits I've done. I prefer it to be honest. Pass Eel Pie Island, the only inhabited island in the Thames.
Trevor Bayliss, a thoroughly admirable man who invented the Freeplay Radio used to live there, dunno if he still does.
Keep going. The weather is looking iffy. However I am enjoying myself, deviate from the path slightly and find I'm in a strip of woodland, listening to 'Songs from the Wood' by Jethro Tull.
Along here is a lot of prime real estate so mostly it's built up, so this nice bit of common land is very pleasant. Reach a road and turn right to find the riverside path again.
Get to Teddington Lock and see a signpost that says Hampton Court is 5 miles away.
Ah. Oh well, you never know. I feel ok at present, feet bearing up. Eat a thoughtful banana and drink a cup of rather nasty fruit tea (didn't leave the teabag in for long enough, that's why). Keep going. After half an hour, at Kingston, see another signpost that says Hampton Court 2.5 miles, so one of the signposts is telling porkies. However by now it's raining. Not drizzle, but solid drenching rain.
Walk along right at the water's edge for half a mile or so looking at the boat clubs, sailing clubs, canoeing clubs, club clubs etc. Reach end of path and find am on main road. It's pouring with rain too. Decide reluctantly to save Hampton Court for another day. I think you need to cross the river at Kingston and walk on the other side. Good thing I didn't, that's where Bushy Park is
So I may have had a close shave. Didn't know it was Bushy Park till just now!
It takes me forever to get home, by which time I'm freezing cold, wet and exhausted. Decide to make Scaredycat Soup:
100g red lentils
1 litre water
1 rasher smoked bacon
Trim fat from bacon. Put everthing in a pan. Boil until the lentils and veg are soft. Puree using hand blender. Season.
Eat a quarter of it, save the rest for tomorrow.
The scaredycat bit comes an hour or so later once the lentils do their stuff.
Cats do not like sudden loud noises.