Can it get any better?

I’m back in the Chilterns again. The weather forecast told me it would be a clear, sunny day so I decided today would be just right for a trip out to Buckinghamshire.

And, by jove, I’m just glad I got up at 5:30 this morning, even though I’d only been asleep for about four hours. For the first time in months I’ve seen at first hand the beauty of the Chilterns in the morning. I’ve been through Chesham, the Lee, Ballinger and now Wendover.

Just one fly in the ointment: I took a detour round the woods above Wendover. They’re everything I’ve come to expect in a wooded area in these parts. But the recent rain has turned parts of the paths into a quagmire. I was too busy trying to avoid them and coming a cropper on my bike to appreciate the woods.

Anyway, I’m bound to see more of the countryside as the day goes on.

Wendover

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Mud, mud, inglorious mud!

One thing about Epping Forest is, you need to know what to wear in what weather. Same goes for the Lea Canal towpath. On Sunday I took a ride up the bridlepaths from the Chingford end up towards High Beech. I discovered that seven kilometres of the paths have been resurfaced over the past few months. The new surface might be good on the horses’ hooves, but the soggy month of February has turned those paths into rivers of mud. Not ideal conditions for cycling.

And the path south of Dobb’s Weir was just as bad. You would have thought the canal had burst its banks, but the last time that happened was ten years ago.

Mud has its place and it’s not underneath my feet or my bike’s wheels. My experience today won’t put me off Epping Forest or the River Lea, though. I’ll just have to choose a drier day for it.

Spring, crocuses and Crews Hill

My mood today is the antithesis of my mood two months ago and therefore this post will be the antithesis of the ones of December 21st.

I’m in elated spirits! We only have hazy sunshine at the moment but today is the warmest day we’ve had so far this year.

And as I was cycling from Enfield to Crews Hill I was delighted to see a riot of purple, yellow and white flowers – crocuses!

Now you’ll understand why I’m in such a great mood. Especially after all the miserable weather we had during the past few days.

There’s something else I haven’t done for months – I’m having tea al fresco at BoJo’s cafe at the garden centre at Crews Hill.

The words on my lips right now are “Spring is here,” and “Praise the Lord!”

It was 19 years ago today…

It was on this day in 1992 (23rd January) that I made my first excursion into Buckinghamshire. Or at least the first since the previous August when I took the Chiltern line out to Wendover and walked to Little Kimble. On this occasion I travelled on the Metropolitan line all the way out to Amersham and from there walked all the way out to Chesham. Actually it was quite an unremarkable day as I remember. The only real difference between this and any other day was I was in a county that I had only visited a few times before. And of course I didn’t have a bike.

Well, today I’m marking that anniversary. Like this day in 1992, it’s a dull, damp day. However, I’ve been able to do plenty of exploring on my bike. I arrived at Chesham at midday, took off up Drydell Lane to Pednor and Chartridge, passed St Leonards and ended up back here just before 2:00pm.

And I’m not going to miss out Amersham. I’m planning to catch the train from there to Marylebone.

Chalfont St Giles

Chalfont St Giles, the Green. And Milton's cottage is up the street to the right.

Chalfont St Giles, the Green. And Milton's cottage is up the street to the right.

St Mary the Virgin, Denham

St Mary the Virgin, Denham

After a week out of action with a puncture and a wonky rear wheel my bike is back on the road.

I’m having a hair-raisingly expensive pot of tea and a cookie in “The Deli” – not the capital of India – in Chalfont St Giles – and, no, I’m not talking about haemorrhoids.

It’s just down the road from Milton’s cottage, as it happens. Now the museum there was closed and I didn’t pick up a copy of “Paradise Lost” (though I’m sure I’ll be able to find the text on the Internet). What I did pick up was a paperback edition of “Vet in a Spin” by James Herriot, withdrawn from the local library.

So now I’ve got a souvenir of Chalfont St Giles, I’m going to jump on my bike and whizz off to Denham and Uxbridge…

Richmond again

I’ve been riding here and there around London for the past few days, feeling the city under my feet (or under my bike wheels, even!). Today I cycled to Richmond. And I had dinner al fresco at a restaurant on the Thames. On a boat converted into a restaurant, that is. A blissful summer day! I love the summer and I love London!