February has landed at last – January was a very long year, wasn’t it? The sun is shining, daffodils and crocuses and suchlike are starting to show signs of life and, despite the Daily Express’s* constant and dire predictions of the RETURN OF THE BEAST FROM THE EAST and POLAR VORTEX bringing SNOWBOMBS and other such cheery weather, it all seems pretty optimistic and springy out there.
I have just returned from a rather nice ramble through the local woods this morning – just over 10k tagged, though I suspect it was more as my Strava app crashed somewhere in the forest. Soundtracked by some random stuff on Spotify, it was a fairly speedy romp on trails and tracks: everything from the 60s with Simon and Garfunkel, Dusty Springfield and Creedence Clearwater Revival right through to more recent stuff like the Beastie Boys, Zac Brown Band and The Offspring. Along with the many squirrels dashing about the place, I was lucky enough to spot a muntjac ahead of me on the rhododendron walk that borders Gaynes Park, ring-neck parakeets at Stonards Hill in Epping, and many people with their various hounds including one with only three paws and a very friendly face.
Today’s walk was a tried and tested route, which took me through ancient coppiced woodland in the old Ongar Park Wood, Gernon Bushes nature reserve and through to the sports fields in Epping where I looped back round to come home. There were some muddy patches, but the path was nothing like as impassable as it has been in previous years when it’s been a swamp until at least May. This probably says something about the weather over the last year or so, although the bog in our back garden would say otherwise
Essex, despite being ridiculously flat, does have some good walking – I still want to complete the Essex Way at some point, but it may be in stages! Hopefully in the course of training for the Race to the Stones I can cover a bit more of it – there’s a useful book which breaks it down into circular walks. The Stort Valley Way also starts near the village, heading up to Harlow and beyond, and there seem to be a few others in the area as well.
Now I just need to develop a sense of direction.
*please note, I do not read the Daily Express but Google and MSN like to show me the headlines on their homepages. I am cheered by the fact that in a couple of months the headlines will change to HOTTEST SUMMER ON RECORD and GLOBAL MELTDOWN and MORDOR RETURNS. It’s like getting out your summer wardrobe.
Other things making me happy this week…
- Teaching the Think Small session at Chobham Academy – I love the ideas kids come up with to make animal homes
- Thing 3 turned 12 yesterday.
- Finishing January on the Temperature Supernova
- Crocheting socks.
Less happy-making was having to cancel a long-awaited trip to Cardiff to see the Socially Distant Sports Bar live show with gigbuddy Jen – while I am completely behind all these strikers, they RUINED my weekend. Also, vet bills.
Anyway – next week I shall be broadcasting from France! I can’t wait…
What I’ve been reading:
The Last Remains – Elly Griffiths
Men At Arms/Feet of Clay – Terry Pratchett (Audible)
Death Masks – Jim Butcher
Cover image: Forest Track in Ongar Park Wood
cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Chris Heaton – geograph.org.uk/p/5931265