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Walkies, sore feet, and a tide of yellow.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Chicchantal and I haven’t had much luck with our walks lately. I’ve had back to back colds and coughs for what feels like months, finished off with what must be the most violent upset stomach I’ve had in my life! Norovirus was mentioned, but I’m not convinced.

Chicchantal has been struck down twice by what my Mum would have called ‘the Twingeing Screws!’ First her back, then her foot, then her foot, and then her back again! So when on Friday, I got the Spark Message ‘Short walkies?’ I simply asked, ‘where and when?’

I no longer bother to ask ‘how far?’ since the walks always run the same way. I’m 5-10 minutes early, she’s 5-10 minutes late, we walk whatever distance, usually with me whinging all the way, we get there, I’m knackered, we go home!

As usual when we're walking, I had a bad night and I was tired. This was mostly due to having my moth-eaten old black cat draped lovingly around my neck all night, like a rather flatulent mink stole!

True to form, I was at Loughton Station five minutes early, and Chicchantal, on the train behind mine, was five minutes late! So I used my time wisely and took some photos.

Loughton Station is theoretically in Greater London, but is really in the middle of the countryside, and is a typical 1930’s country station.

The forsythia is in flower in gardens all over the south east of England

And the station flower bed sported this magnificent dandelion.

Now I know that they are considered as weeds, but I have a real soft spot for dandelions, with their sunny, cheerful faces, always willing and ready to flower, and it occurred to me that spring in England doesn’t come in on a wave of green, but on a tide of yellow. Us in souf Lunnon don’t call it ‘yellow’ however, that’s for posh Surrey people like me! It’s ‘yeller’. In the case of the forsythia, bright yeller.

Back to the walk. The first part when we’re out of Loughton, is straight uphill. The day is glorious, it’s a novelty to walk in sunshine, and by the top of the hill, my light jacket was off and I’m walking in my t-shirt. Chicchantal is still in her duvet jacket and her hoods up! I took a picture back along the path, but it doesn’t really do justice to the gradient.

Our first destination is the tea hut! When I first did this walk with her, it seemed to take forever to get there. Now the hour flies by. By 10.30 it’s really nice and warm, and the chilly wind that has bedevilled us over the last few weeks, has dropped. We have seen no wildflowers, but the bees and the butterflies are coming out of hibernation. We saw this peacock butterfly, sunning itself and soaking up the warmth on its wings.

There are many tempting pathways leading off the main path between the trees. We won’t be able to see them when the trees get into full leaf.

Just before the tea hut we take a small detour to visit our little pond, and I was stunned by the still water and the reflections.

Till they were disturbed by two mallard ducks!

At the tea hut we bought our usual cups of tea and slice of cake, I had cherry cake, I don’t remember what Chicchantal had! By this time we were both hungry, and by common consent decided to have our sandwiches, even though it was only 11am! Call it elevenses!

We were walking on to a village called Upshire, then catching the bus to Waltham Abbey. We have walked to Upshire before, but last time it was foggy and cold. We were seeing more butterflies now. This comma posed obligingly for us.

We wondered what they were finding to eat, then saw several more on these Alder catkins, (yeller of course)

Presumably they were taking the pollen.

Today we could see the view over Waltham Cross.

The gorse is in full flower. Yeller, see, there’s a theme here!

We crossed the motorway, and took a different path on the left. Last time I was here, this path was a quagmire. Now it has dried out, and we have to watch we don’t turn an ankle on the ruts! There’s a magnificent view towards Upshire.

This little chapel is in the distance

We were now walking on the old common land paths into Upshire

By this time, we were both tiring a bit, and were glad that the bus to Waltham Abbey was sitting, waiting for us. On the way, we went past a bank of daffodils in full flower, and beside them were a carpet of wild celendines. I couldn’t take a picture from the bus, but these were in my garden this morning.

Yeller again! We alighted in Waltham Abbey, and found the high street, and there, all our best Sparking intentions went out of the window, as we found the first pub we came to, that had a beer garden and went inside! Well, Chicchantal’s foot was REALLY hurting, no,really!

(Good Sparklers might want to tut-tut and switch off at this point!)

We felt we had earned these!

Chicchantal bought these, and of course it would have been rude not to have offered her another in return! By now we were regretting having eaten our sandwiches so early, we were hungry again, so scampi and chips seemed a good idea too.

I’m afraid the next bit was totally my fault, as having been given a list of options by Chicchantal, treacle pud with custard and another beer in my case, and cider in hers, seemed the best option!

So totally refreshed, and Chicchantal’s foot having been anaesthetised (I think she was numb from the neck down actually), we set off to finish our journey. We took the bus back to Loughton, then went to find a nature reserve that Chicchantal had seen on the map. Over a little bridge and over a stream, into fields.

It was a pretty little place. Fields and little copses, and layered hedges. Like on the rest of our walk, we could hear the birds, but couldn’t see more than glimpses of them. We went through the gate, and walked along a sheltered path.

By this time we had covered nearly ten miles the drinks were wearing off, and Chicchantal was limping again, so we walked round in a loop and headed towards where we had entered the reserve. We did first however find Loughton lake, Chicchantal had always wondered where it was.

Then, we bused back to the station.
We covered 11.5 miles in the end, and I had sunburn on my face!

On a bank as we left the reserve were these primroses.

Yeller again!


Member Comments About This Blog Post:
AKROXIE 6/14/2013 9:55PM

  So glad to find Chicchantal's walking buddy. I really enjoy reading about these walks & seeing the beautiful pictures. Please keep up the great words!

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SHANNONY84 4/26/2013 8:14AM

    Such beautiful pictures! Thank you for sharing!

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SHELLYBABE2 4/24/2013 3:07PM

    I love your blogs, always leave me with a smile & the pics are stunning tfs, truly appreciated just wish I was near enough to come on the walks with you. Hopefully now that the sunny yeller flowers are in bloom all the illnesses blighting us will disappear amidst the cheerfulness and good weather! (although we've not had it as nice as you it's still been better than thick snow and freezing temps ;-))

Look forward to hearing about your next adventure :-D keep the pics coming, love them!

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MARTY728 4/22/2013 3:42PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SUZYMOBILE 4/22/2013 11:15AM

    Between the two of you, some lovely blogs!!! Thank you!

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LEANNAW4 4/22/2013 10:27AM

    Very good blog. What a wonderful journey; thanks for the pictures! I just have to say, never apologize for a well-earned beer! (Now, the second and third ones...those are another matter! hehehe). I'm glad you had such a wonderful day out. I'm a little envious!

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DESERTJULZ 4/22/2013 9:41AM

    Glad to hear the two of you were feeling well enough for a lovely walk!

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STFRENCH 4/22/2013 7:45AM

    Loving your blog! I had some yeller daffodils in my allotment this weekend: Spring has officially sprung! emoticon

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CBRINKLEY401 4/21/2013 11:37PM

    So glad to see spring is finally arriving after that horrible cold spell you had a bit back! Thanks for the beautiful pics of all the yeller flowers and the fields that are starting to turn from brown to green.
Hope you have many more lovely walks, and that both you and Chicchantal are healthy enough to enjoy them fully!

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BERRY4 4/21/2013 8:00PM

    Loved your picture journey!'s a true quote: "The definition of WEED is any plant that grows where you don't want it to grow." -- So enjoy your dandelions! We actually fertilize some of ours to enjoy the bright yeller and to share with dd's bunnies. emoticon

Happy Sunday to you!

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LJCANNON 4/21/2013 6:23PM

    emoticon That was quite the Adventure With A Theme!! You almost had to have the Pub Stop in keeping with your Yeller Theme!!
emoticon Glad that you are feeling better and that Spring might be on it's way!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CATLADY52 4/21/2013 5:30PM

    As usual you and Chichantel do have interesting walks. And plenty of pictures of the countryside. emoticon to both of you. emoticon

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JUNEAU2010 4/21/2013 4:08PM

    Thanks for letting me tag along vicarious! I love your adventurous and picturesque walks!

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CHICCHANTAL 4/21/2013 12:53PM

    Who was numb from the neck up then?

I love the way you blame all kinds of dodgy decisions on my foot which was fine and is still fine this morning!

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DR1939 4/21/2013 10:30AM

    What a lovely day. Yeras ago my then 6-year old daughter exclaimed at the beauty of a field of dandelions and I agreed that they were lovely flowers. The next day she came home from school crestfallen as her teacher had told her they were not flowers but were weeds. I spent a lot of time explaining that they were indeed flowers and something could be a flower which is a botanical term and also be a weed which is another kind of classification. I dispair of teachers who do not use precise language.

Here's hoping Chicchantal's twingeing screws get better soon.

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SAINTBETH 4/21/2013 10:09AM

    The Twingeing Screws--I've had that. Just didn't know the name. Great photos!

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RAINBOWCHOC 4/21/2013 10:08AM

    I remember a film about a dog called "Old Yeller", maybe I'm confused (maybe???!!!) but Elvis might have sung about it (or was that Shep?) Anyway, great stuff all this yeller nature innit?
We are beginning to get the next colours, the mauves and purples in the garden now, almost as if they know it's time, regardless of that long winter.
Let's hope your health continues to improve and a walk for more of us can be arranged

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    Thanks so much for taking me along on your walk. What a beautiful time with you spotting and pointing out all the sights and highlights. I've heard of gorse and believe this is my first 'in-person' sighting.

One woman's weeds are another woman's wildflowers.


Comment edited on: 4/21/2013 10:08:52 AM

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DOVESEYES 4/21/2013 9:58AM

    thanks for taking us along!!! emoticon

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    I love reading about your walks and the pictures are great. Even the one of the beer

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HOLLYM48 4/21/2013 9:34AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
What a wonderful walk and blog. Thanks so much for taking us along on this funny walk! I loved to see the country side of London!

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COCK-ROBIN 4/21/2013 9:34AM


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MARYJEANSL 4/21/2013 9:17AM

  Beautiful flowers! I have always been partial to yellow. Thanks for the pictures. :-)

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    Thank you for taking your walk and 'Pub Break' too. Thank you for bringing us along. I so love being able to be a part of your "Walking & Talking, Picture taking Adventures" !!! If I only were not such a coward, maybe I could find a walking partner. Maybe I will strengthen my "Bravery" muscle and find one or more somebodies to go exploring in my neck of the woods. OR, get really brave and go alone!!
Thanks again,

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    Thank you for taking your walk and 'Pub Break' too. Thank you for bringing us along. I so love being able to be a part of your "Walking & Talking, Picture taking Adventures" !!! If I only were not such a coward, maybe I could find a walking partner. Maybe I will strengthen my "Bravery" muscle and find one or more somebodies to go exploring in my neck of the woods. OR, get really brave and go alone!!
Thanks again,

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PATRICIAAK 4/21/2013 8:14AM

    Here's to yeller!

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FALLNTENN 4/21/2013 7:55AM

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful walk. A garden pub lunch sounds wonderful right now. Too bad it's raining here so we can't eat outside.

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NEW-CAZ 4/21/2013 7:26AM

    emoticon blog!

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WELLNESSME09 4/21/2013 6:47AM

    Lovely blog! emoticon pictures.
Thanks for sharing! emoticon emoticon

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COFFEEMUG2009 4/21/2013 6:29AM

    Great pictures

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TRUCKERSMRS 4/21/2013 6:19AM

    You had a lovely day for your walk and the colours have been beautiful recently. We've also had a lot of cherry blossom round our village recently but it passes over so quickly.
The first pub garden lunch of the season - has to be done!
Lovely blog as always.

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