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    CHICCHANTAL   29,249
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Landscape under water

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Friday, December 28, 2012

I meet up with Stonecot for a walk up the river Lea today. To be fair, this is a landscape that is mostly under water all the time, consisting of a river, a canal, several streams and a series of fishponds. However there were lots of extra pools today too.

The first thing we see when we get to the canal, having missed the cycle track because muggins forgets to say 'turn left' at the salient point, is a Great Crested Grebe. It gives us a dirty look and dives.

You can't win them all. We turn up the canal and start walking. We've chosen this path because it's a nice gravelly non-muddy one. There's plenty of mud and water in evidence elsewhere though.

The canal, which is usually fairly clear, is like the Limpopo: great, grey-green and greasy. The towpath, usually full of cyclists, is almost deserted. You can see some way between the trees and bushes because there is no foliage left. It's stark, almost monochrome and lovely.

The outward journey passes without event, and we're going pretty briskly. This is not because we are heading for a pub - there is a pub at the point where we are due to turn back but for reasons of economy (both financial and calorific) we've brought our sandwiches and drinks. There's a handy bench at the turning point and we sit on it and eat and drink and as we finish I check the time and it's only half past 11 in the morning.

Ho hum. Well, I was hungry. I have a banana with me but decide to save it for later. We set off back along the canal (which is actually a river at this point). There's an alternative path along the field but it's a bit too alternative and I have promised to keep us out of mud today. After half a mile or so we turn off to pick up the cycle route back, just for variety. This is either someone's front garden or a space in the trailer park, not sure. It's not usually a pond.

We come to a fork and I get out the map and pore sagely over it, finally concluding with 'Well, don't ask ME, there are tracks all over the place!'

You can rely on me, you know.

We take the left fork because the right fork goes along the railway and as it's the main line to Stansted airport it's a bit noisy. We wander along and Stonecot is telling me about her Fitbit and she reveals it is attached to her underpinnings as she puts it on first so she doesn't forget it, and I say 'I'm putting THAT in the blog.' And so I have.

We even find some shrooms:

And a hole that's too big for a rabbit. Badger? Fox? not sure.

Anyway, there we are on what turns out to be the road less travelled, except by anglers. There are always a few of these about and we've seen one or two, but our nice wide path leads to a car park that is full of cars and sort of terminates there. We have a choice of two paths, one of which is clearly muddy and the other one tells us it's leading back to the canal in 300m. This we take. After about 100m, we come to a point where the lake on one side and the pond on the other side have met in the middle.

'Onwards or back?' I ask Stonecot. She graciously waves me on, like royalty. I'm a bit taller than she is so if I go in over my head, she'll know not to follow. It is at least ordinary peaty mud, not clay. I pick my way across, getting ready to scream and panic if the water goes over my boots, let alone my head. Luckily, it doesn't.

Stonecot is too nice to remind me that we were supposed to be avoiding mud today.

We come out on a path near the canal but there's another clear path going back towards the cycle track and we opt for this one. Along a bit and over a few streams, and we're both starting to feel a bit tired. We come to a scattering of strategically placed carrots and speculate over what they are doing there. If you know, please tell us.

I fish in my bag for my mobile to see the time, and withdraw my hand hurriedly.

Something unspeakable and sticky is lurking at the bottom of the bag.

Before I can go into shrieking hysterics, I realise it's the banana I didn't eat earlier. It is, as Stonecot observes, 'past its best'. Indeed, it's so far past its best that I do not want to leave it loose in the bag and squash it into my empty sandwich box to stop it causing further trouble.

I would have taken a photo of it but I don't want you to have nightmares.

Shortly after this, we get back to the station and there's a nice warm train with comfortable seats waiting at the platform.

Good timing, I say.

Fitbit says we did 7.81 miles, so pretty respectable given our age and infirmities (the ankle was grumbling this morning so I told it to shut up and walk and it did).

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
PHEBESS 12/28/2012 4:02PM

    Carrots for rabbits?

I keep my pedometer on my underwear - I used to keep it on my jeans or slacks or skirt, but often the seatbelt somehow whipped the ped off while I was getting out of the car, and I grew tired of fishing it out from a neighboring car in the school parking lot.

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GOLDENRODGIRL 12/28/2012 2:37PM

    Are there horses there? Horses like carrots, too.

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LOUISE3518 12/28/2012 2:30PM

  I feel daring..... but I have to ask, Please tell me what this means. :)
Stonecot is telling me about her Fitbit and she reveals it is attached to her underpinnings as she puts it on first so she doesn't forget it
Wow seven miles...........and a banana that gave up, BUT YOU DIDN'T ;) :) :)
emoticon emoticon

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ALDEBARANIAN 12/28/2012 2:25PM

    Thanks for taking us with you on your walk. Enjoyed the grebe and the 'shrooms, the winter landscape. Just curious - aren't there any more upland walks nearby with less mud?

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CINDYSDAY 12/28/2012 2:22PM

    emoticon emoticon

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IAMWINNING 12/28/2012 2:20PM

    As always, I enjoyed your commentary and pictures. RE: the carrots - some bunnies hoping to catch a human?

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IMAGINE46 12/28/2012 2:15PM

  7.81 miles! You go girls! emoticon

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GUITARWOMAN 12/28/2012 2:06PM

    My fitbit lives on my bra, and if you ask me is darn lucky to have such an exalted place!

I do love your blogs, although I can get lazy and lurk rather than comment.

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OLIVIANIGHT 12/28/2012 1:56PM

    Maybe someone was trying to catch a reindeer...

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BRIDIEGAL 12/28/2012 1:52PM

    I appreciate all the lovely photos, as well as the reference to The Elephant's Child!

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BRENDAGAIL9 12/28/2012 1:48PM

    Maybe the carrots were there because someone was hoping to catch a rabbit?

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NELLIEH1 12/28/2012 1:42PM

    Took us all along again on a soggy walking adventure...enjoyed every minute of it from our warm abode. But you are beginning to nudge us to follow... in the new year? Thanks!

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LEANMEAN2 12/28/2012 1:41PM

    Thank you for another nice interlude.

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POPSY190 12/28/2012 1:36PM

    Very fitting considering the weather you've been having. Another great blog.

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PATTISTAMPS 12/28/2012 1:25PM

    Sounds just wonderful... wishing I could join you!

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LIVEDAILY 12/28/2012 1:08PM

    Amazing! Another lovely walk and miles chronicled! You take such lovely pictures! What type of camera are you using?

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DALID414 12/28/2012 1:03PM

    You should listen to the ankle and baby it a bit, before it gets too aggravated and doesn't let you walk at all.

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FORMERFATGUY777 12/28/2012 12:55PM

  I enjoy your blogs. 7 miles is a nice walk. Have a good day.

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LOPEYP 12/28/2012 12:30PM


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STONECOT 12/28/2012 12:26PM

    It was a lovely day out, (that sounds like Wallace and gromit), although I whinged a bit on the way back! I still think that's no excuse for telling me that you would leave me there if I laid down on the path and had a strop! emoticon

See you on Sunday for the next excursion!

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MARITIMER3 12/28/2012 12:20PM

    Each season has its own beauty. Sometimes the watery, foggy, monochromatic views are lovely. I know London quite well, but not the outlying areas, so find your blogs very interesting. Glad you were able to stay out of the mud today.

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TWINKIEQUEEN 12/28/2012 12:19PM

    i enjoyed your pics
as for the carrots...hmmm? someone wanted to feed the bunnies??

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MILLIE5522 12/28/2012 12:17PM

    Wonderful walk. Thank you for the great pics! You have inspired me to get off my butt!!

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PJBONARRIGO 12/28/2012 12:10PM

    I loved going with you on your walk :-) I'm in a bit of a flap about your poor ankle. If it's still grumbling, it isn't happy. Take care of yourself. I hope it is better soon. emoticon

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LINDAKAY228 12/28/2012 12:07PM

    The pics are pretty. I love lots of foliage and flowers when in season, but there is also something beautiful about the winter landscapes and the barren trees I like a lot too. Each season has it's own particular beauty! By the way, I wear my pedometer attached to my underwear. I used to attach it to my pants waistband but after losing a couple that got knocked off I found that inside the pants works much better LOL!

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JMC155 12/28/2012 12:04PM

    Such a lovely walk. Thank you again for sharing your countryside.

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JJAQUES41 12/28/2012 12:03PM

    What a great, watery walk! Almost 8 miles is fantastic, I love that you find these paths and just take them, very adventurous of you!

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