I've blogged before about my love of getting out of London; for I am a country boy at heart (and in years gone by). So last weekend I was rather pleased that the fantastic Alvin had arranged a daytrip to everyone's favourite commuter town in the Buckinghamshire countryisde, Tring. Now he's organised a few before, and I've always meant to attend, but an 8am rendezvous at Euston on a Saturday morning is a tough target to hit. However, this time, I made it and I'm SO glad I did. While the environs of Tring may not offer the panoramic vistas I've seen in the Cairngorms, Alps or Rockies, it's a million miles away from the concrete cityscape of London. I even dressed up in my country gent outfit of black wellies, cream jeans and green military coat. It was utterly glorious. We did an 8-mile loop, with the Ivinghoe Beacon forming the centrepiece. A brief climb up to the top and the view was, by all accounts, pretty spectacular. As the weather was bright, you could see for MILES. And the wander was enhanced by some brilliant company, and a fantastically invigorating wind that blew the cobwebs away - just what you need on a Saturday morning. This was rounded off with a visit to the aptly-named Valiant Trooper pub in Almondbury, where I polished off a three-course pub lunch (deep-fried brie; fish pie; brownie), three pints of Honeydew beer and an Amaretto. I've not been that satisfied in a long time. It's so good for the soul to get some miles under the feet and a pretty vista in front of your eyes; I've been taken on walks since I was a little kid, and it's something that is easy to dismiss on a mad weekend in town, but it's so accessible (the fast train gets there in 25 minutes) and totally free. Delicious. Hopefully we'll be able to organise a few more in the coming months (I'll post details) and maybe even a trip to the Lake District...Other Staples this week:
A lovely walk in Tring on a Saturday
Gmail's smileys (only discovered these today!)
New issue of Fantastic Man
The Camden Tup
Aqualung's album 'Still Life' (rediscovery of old CDs continues)
Warburton's Hot Cross Bun Loaf
JG Ballard's novel, 'Kingdom Come'