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    CHICCHANTAL   22,883
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Long, hot summer

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Saturday I decided to go for a little walk. I can't really call this one a hike, because it was a nice flat path all the way with only one tiny hill. I started just north of Harlow, in Essex, at Harlow Mill. I pick this because I can see from the map that the path is only about half a kilometre north of the station and it is by the river Stort so even I should be able to find it without difficulty.

And so it proves. Nip over the bridge and down on to the path by the river.

Apologies to anyone who was hoping I would get lost. I don't get lost any more. Usually.



For the next five and a half hours, I have variations on this view for company. If you're not green with envy by now, clearly rivers aren't your thing.

I love rivers.



This walk is going to prove largely uneventful. The scenery is quite dramatic enough for me, thank you. It's high summer and this is a flat watery area. We've had a drought that has just broken, so the path is dry but there is water in the river which is in any case a 'navigation' - it's got locks on so that narrowboats (barges) can use it. Either side of the river are plants, with water meadows, natures reserves, all the twiddly bits and pieces.





There are flowers everywhere, and the flowers are, I'm pleased to say, full of bees. I spend a considerable amount of time trying to get photos of the bees but they are so bizzy or buzzzzy it's a pretty tough gig. I'm sure you know that there's a bee crisis going on at the moment: we've losing a lot of bees, due to pesticides and given how much we rely on bees for pollinating our food plants, this is not good news.

Anyway, this honeybee was doing fine.



I'll be quite honest, I'm a total wuss over insects. They terrify me, but I do appreciate how important they are. Part of nature's rich tapestry etc. So even when a dragon divebombs me and has a good look, I only squeak a little bit. In a ladylike manner.



This is Great Hairy Willow Herb overlooking the river Stort. It was full of bees, but I do notice that when bees become aware of you they politely drift away. So you can just look at the flowers and see if you can see a bee.



I keep on and pass Harlow and after a bit I'm starting to feel hungry and think it would be nice if I could find something to drink that isn't warm water out of a bottle. Views like this are lovely but you can't eat them:







I cross over the river by a bridge and come to a part of the walk that is not shady. It's a hot day, 28C and as I don't like suncream I'm turning a delicate shade of lobster, in my face at least. (I keep covered up so as to avoid burning).



All the way along there have been flowers and this is a fine example of a purple loosestrife which has been imported into the States and become a pest. In the UK it's just another wild flower that grows by rivers and ponds.



This, however, was imported from India and is a bit of a problem. It's buddhleia, and is called butterfly bush because they love it.



Bees also adore it. Also imported from Asia is this stuff, Himalayan balsam



which bees are fond of too.


Personally, I'm fond of cold cider which I finally obtain at a riverside pub at 1.30, two hours after I started walking.



By this time I reckon I've earned the pint that I down in about ten minutes flat. I've also earned a nice pub lunch, maybe a ploughman's (cheese salad) or even a steak and kidney pie. Unfortunately although the pub does food it's the kind you wouldn't give to your dog - burgers, hot dogs, 'melts' etc - although intriguingly people ARE feeding it to their small children.

Well, if they turn into Godzillas, don't say you had nothing to do with it is all I can say.

I keep walking and hoping there'll be another pub.





Eventually I reach Royden Lock where there is a lockkeeper's cottage selling amongst other things synthtic pink strawberry ice cream that is, in the circumstances, absolutely delicious. I have a debate with myself about walking into the village to find a pub, but instead push on to the next pub, the Fish and Eels, which is a couple of miles further along. On the way, I manage to get a photo of a peacock butterfly.







Here I get my second pint. 4pm and no lunch, and I have really earned that boiled egg I had for breakfast. I might even have earned the ice cream. I've definitely earned the pint which you can't see because I didn't put it down, not even to take the photo.

I scrutinise the map and walk the short route, which goes up a little slope and joins a path by the side of a narrow canal. I'm very pleased at managing to find my way up here without deviation because I've only walked this way once before and that was from the other direction, in winter. The path comes out right next to Broxbourne station and just as I get there it starts to rain. Jolly serendipitous.

That evening we have the mother of all thunderstorms, with rain in stair rods, so let's say I got the timing right!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TSISQUAUSDI 10/16/2013 8:29PM

    This is simply beautiful! I miss your blogs so much!!

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PIMPINELLAN50 9/13/2013 5:47PM

    Always enjoy your walking blogs and the pretty pictures! emoticon emoticon

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LYNCHD05 8/31/2013 3:05PM

    I have not been on o e of your walks in awhile and I missed them!

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JACKSGRAN 8/30/2013 4:39PM

    I. know part of this stretch of the river, thanks for taking me back. Beautiful pictures.

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MARYJEANSL 8/25/2013 4:04PM

  Beautiful butterfly, beautiful views - thank you for posting.

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OVERACTIVEELBOW 8/23/2013 2:40PM

    Well, here I am enjoying your walk from nearly a month ago.. Hope all has been well in your corner of the world. Welcome back. I know it is a tad late, but better late than never. (I hope!!) Audra

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WHITEANGEL4 8/7/2013 3:55PM

    Enjoyed the lovely walk and scenery with you. and it is hot here also when we walk

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ABYGAILSMOM06 8/5/2013 1:29PM

    I love your pictures! Great job resisting temptation!

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CUDDLYPOLARBEAR 8/5/2013 10:30AM

    Lovely photos

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FUNLOVEN 8/5/2013 8:18AM

    You take the loveliest walks! I love walking in the country or a wooded area; anything to do with Mother Nature. I live in the city and it is challenging to find a different path of pavement to keep me interested. Thanks for the pictures!

I must say that after a 51/5 hour walk on a hardboiled egg I would be ready to eat anything!

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INGMARIE 8/4/2013 9:19AM

    Nice photos , and a lovely walk for you, thanks for sharing.
Too bad you could not actually s hare the pint emoticon

Too bad you had forgo the lunch, but you were probably better off not eating
that stuff?
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FALLNTENN 8/4/2013 8:47AM

    It was a lovely walk to share with us. Walking along rivers, beaches, lakes and ponds are wonderful. Thank you for taking pictures to show us the view. I'm constantly amazed how far you walk.

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BLACKWOLF88 8/3/2013 6:12PM

  I really liked your hike. My ancestors came from England. When you started telling about your walk, I wish I could experience that kind of walk(place and scenery). I look forward to more of you hikes. Is it anywhere near Sumerset? Take some life savors with you from now on! emoticon

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GRACILU 8/3/2013 3:08PM

    Awesome! Keep up the great work! Now I want to do a nature walk in my neck of the woods.

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ROXYCARIN 8/3/2013 3:08PM

  emoticon

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JRRING 8/3/2013 2:21PM

  loved the pics!

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KAREN608 8/3/2013 12:44PM

    I think insects KNOW the people to fly around, I really do. They like the faces we make and the shrill shrieks of us trying to remain calm.

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LIS193 8/3/2013 11:37AM

    Ah... summer in England! Thanks for sharing your beautiful walk!

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IMAGINE46 8/2/2013 4:30PM

  emoticon

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RUNNINGYOGINIRE 8/2/2013 1:46PM

  Very pretty scenery! thank you for sharing

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MRSRIGS1 8/2/2013 11:14AM

    What a GREAT blog! Love, love, love your pictures! I hope you found a pub that served that salad you wanted. emoticon

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RENATA144 8/2/2013 10:18AM

  Walking in such a beautiful place is an inspiration unto its self. emoticon emoticon for walking for exercise ! It all counts toward your improved health. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JUSGETTENBY42 8/2/2013 9:32AM

    emoticon

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1SALMON1 8/1/2013 11:09PM

    Let me get this straight... A SIX hour jaunt is a walk, not a hike - simply because there are no hills to speak of? My goodness. It is a lovely blog, as always - and the pictures!!! I too love rivers, and go red in the sun. Oh, and I could almost taste those pints - how thirsty you must have been. Any time you feel like writing, I will be in line to read!

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DELLMEL 8/1/2013 10:01AM

  What great pictures. That was such a great place. Enjoyed looking at the place. The river and flowers was great.

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SHOAPIE 8/1/2013 8:45AM

    emoticon

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BLUEJEAN99 8/1/2013 1:27AM

    emoticon emoticon

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JIBBIE49 8/1/2013 12:22AM

    Wonderful to see your blog in the Spark Mail.

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JOANNHUNT 7/31/2013 10:06PM

    THANK YOU FOR SHARING THAT AWESOME BLOG. THE PICS ARE AWESOME AS USUAL.

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ROCKYCPA 7/31/2013 9:44PM

    Another great blog - thanks for sharing!

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MIMIDOT 7/31/2013 8:41PM

    Thank you for taking us on the lovely hike. Your pictures were beautiful! I also love rivers and streams. Especially when they talk to you. Enjoyed it!

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LISA_FRAME 7/31/2013 3:52PM

  emoticon

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ILIKETOZUMBA 7/31/2013 1:56PM

    Sounds great!! But man, I can't believe you don't take snacks with you on some of these long hikes/walks! I'd die walking 5 hours on just an egg, ice cream, and some cider. You're brave! :)

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NICKYCRANE 7/31/2013 1:05PM

    lovely photos, lovely commentary. Thank you!

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IAMAGEMLOVER 7/31/2013 12:46PM

    I enjoyed the walk. The scenery was beautiful.

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MYJOYNOW45EST 7/31/2013 12:34PM

    Thanks for the walk; I feel like I was there! Could almost taste the pints... emoticon Blessings, JOY

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JUSGETTENBY42 7/31/2013 11:46AM

    emoticon

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PATRICIAANN46 7/31/2013 11:19AM

  emoticon for taking us along on your beautiful walk. Your pictures are great!!! I, too, love rivers........there is always something to see and appreciate.

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NEPTUNE1939 7/31/2013 10:24AM

    emoticon

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PATTYSPENCER 7/31/2013 10:19AM

    Wow - that was a long walk - I enjoyed every step of it. Beautiful photos - you've encouraged me to take pictures as well when I do more than a "thought for the day" blog. Thanks for taking me along with you!!

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DIANNEMT 7/31/2013 10:03AM

    Lovely photos--again. Thank you.

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DJSHIP46 7/31/2013 9:48AM

    Welcome back emoticon I've missed your walks/hikes! Thanks for sharing!

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MKMMARTY 7/31/2013 9:36AM

    first time reading your blog - well done
I write often and am trying to write more personnel descriptive like you have
Well done

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REGILIEH 7/31/2013 9:35AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

emoticon emoticon emoticon

Anne

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JERICHO1991 7/31/2013 9:28AM

    Enjoyed reading your blog and viewing the pictures. Thanks.

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KWING517 7/31/2013 8:58AM

    What a beautiful walk!! Thank you for taking us with you!

I love the bees and butterfly, and the views are gorgeous! Hope you have a great week!!

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TINY67 7/31/2013 8:48AM

    Look's like a beautiful place to walk and think.

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HOOSIERNATIVE46 7/31/2013 8:47AM

    Thanks for the virtual workout. I am sure you gained more exercise than my fingers did, but what a beautiful jaunt. It is compelling me to get back to nature. Keep up the great walks!


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NILLAPEPSI 7/31/2013 8:46AM

    I've missed your blogs!!! emoticon so much for bringing us with you on your walk. Such beautiful photos, as always. Mmmm. That cider looks awesome!! emoticon emoticon

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PENOWOK 7/31/2013 8:07AM

    So nice to take a jaunt with you again! I sure enjoy your tongue in cheek...

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