Posts Tagged ‘Richmond Park’

Acting on my bucket list

At the start of September, I posted a bucket list so I thought it was time for a little check in, to let you know about my progress.

1. Join a book club.
Ok, I still look hopefully at signs in Waterstones stores or online and intend to do it. To be honest, I forgot I’d kind of obliged myself to do it by writing it here so I forgot to make myself join one! I’ll do it, I promise.

2. Master front crawl.
I don’t swim as regularly at the moment for a few reasons. The main one is that they close the outdoor pool from October til April and the indoor pool isn’t as fun. Also, I pulled a muscle in my leg a few months ago so took ages to get back into it. Perfecting breast stroke is my main focus when I do get to the pool. Fail no. 2.

3. Go back to Namibia (or at least make solid plans about it).
Ok. This one is going well. A friend who I worked for as a travel consultant is over from Namibia at the end of this month. We are going for a drink to discuss a two week trip to Namibia next year.

4. Go on (or plan) an epic walking adventure.
Ummm…. Does Richmond Park count?

5. Try running (haha!)
This one I did…. Kind of. I ran for the bus this evening, which I jumped on in haste then five minutes later realised was not on its way to my house. It was the wrong bus. I ran. I ran for a bus. And it wasn’t even the right bus. But I did run. This is a fact.

6. Go to Secret Cinema at least once.
Ummm…. I went to the normal cinema last week… Does that count as being half way there?

7. Sign up for a college course (not sure what in, I just think would be fun. Maybe food).
I’m thinking of doing a course in history or ancient civilisation or something. Another thing I forgot I’d told the world I’d do so forgot to sign myself up for something.

8. Go to that restaurant in London where everything’s completely in the dark.
This one I have not done either but I have possibly done something better… I’m going to a lovely restaurant in Paris on Thursday which comes with a fabulous recommendation from my manager. I still have the restaurant-in-the-dark place in the back of my mind though.

So there you have it. Not progress as such. Not what you’d call ‘solid plans.’ It really just amounts to running for the bus and a planned drink with a friend from Namibia. But it is progress. Of a sort.

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The Laura, the Danda and the panettone

Once there were two people whose names were Laura and Danda. This story is about something that happened to them when they went away from London to Richmond Park during the afternoon because of the fabulous tea that was served daily at Pembroke Lodge.

They parked up and went for a little walk around the lodge, trying to be clever by entering from a little door that not many people knew about. It brought them to a room near the customer toilets. It was quite dusty and there was lots of furniture covered with cloths. They realised they had come in the wrong side door and, looking back towards it, saw a ‘Keep Out’ sign.

Worried, they made for the door but heard the sound of kitchen staff carrying plates, approaching the door. They panicked and looked around. There was another exit on the other side of the room.

“Quick!” said Laura.

“Just a minute,” said Danda, who was drawing a massive picture of a willy in the dust on a cupboard door. “Ok, where should we hide? In this big wardrobe?”

“No, just come through this door, Danda.”

They hurried over, opened the door… And were greeted by the sight of hundreds of panettones. Hundreds. As far as the eye could see. All flavours. Chocolate. Amaretti. Traditional.

Unwilling to share this hoard, they closed the door behind them and looked at each other in wonder.

“If only there were a cup of tea to be had,” Danda wondered aloud.

There was a jingling of bells and a tall woman approached, skipping. She had a bracelet of bells around her wrist.

“Hello strangers. And welcome to the land of Banarnia Bread. Here you shall have all the panettones you desire. But you shall never be able to eat them!” And she cackled with evil laughter and sped off.

Someone’s got to stop her, thought Laura and Danda.

Tune in tomorrow to see if Laura and Danda can beat the baddie and have their cup of tea and panettone.

New Year

Ok, I was up until 2am and just woke up (at 11.30am) so am feeling a bit out of it and sleepy so I can’t promise that this post will be the most inspired I have ever written!

New Year’s Eve itself ended up being a lovely mishmash of friends from different areas of my life who had never met. One friend brought her pet sausage dog so, obviously, we all giggled and cooed and bonded over that.

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After a lot of sitting around, we finally started cooking, using my favourite Michel Roux cookbook, and produced an extremely tasty dish called ‘poussin scented with ginger and lemongrass.’ I liked it because it sounded a bit Mastercheffy.

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The poussin was with steamed broccoli, fried rocket leaves (tastier than it sounds) rice and a sauce made from the ginger and lemongrass and leftover chicken stuff.

For dessert, we made poached cherries with rice pudding, which I cooked on high speed, as it was getting late, so wasn’t quite up to Michel’s standards. I imagine he’d eliminate me from the semi finals for my speedy cooking methods. O well. It was tasty anyway.

We then got our warm coats on and drove to Richmond Park, parking outside and walking inside, to a point we knew was quite high so we would have a fabulous view over London for the fireworks. We found ourselves a good spot and waited for the celebrations to begin.

It was fantastic when they did start. In almost every direction, in any gap between the trees, we could see fireworks displays happening in all different parts of London. We had a view to our left towards the park gate and saw, occasionally, fireworks going off in different places across Surrey. In front of us were the fireworks at the South Bank in central London, and behind us were displays in other parts of South West London. They went on for a little while and we cracked open our bottle of prosecco and passed around the single glass I had grabbed in a hurry when leaving the house, like poor students sharing bad wine before a night out.

After the fireworks displays had finished and the sausage dog had calmed down (there were lots of other dogs in the park and she had become very excited), we wandered back home and watched a bit of TV before giving up for the evening. It was all very lovely and civilised.

And now, time to make some new year’s resolutions, mainly so they are recorded somewhere so that I am obliged, sort of, to keep them. Ok, here goes.

– Plan a trip to Namibia
– Plan a trip to Asia
– Eat more ethically, especially with meat
– Finish all the books I’m in the middle of
– Revamp the wardrobe a little
– Say yes to social engagements (instead of my default setting, which is no cause I’m lazy)

Dicing with death in Richmond Park

The day before yesterday, I had a day off and decided I was going to do an epic trip around some of London’s open spaces.

I started the day by watching the Olympic torch pass by. While I didn’t feel especially excited, I thought that in the spirit of Getting Excited About Stuff (a challenge I set myself a little while back), it might be good fun. And sure enough, it was. The build up took a while, one convoy came, then some motorbikes, then some running people. It went on and on. And by the time came, I barely had time to take one, slightly rubbish, photo and then it was gone.

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It was fun though, and the atmosphere was lively.

Then I headed up to Richmond Park to start a walk which also took in Putney Heath and Wimbledon Common. As I came out of the Roehampton Gate of the park, I managed to catch this amazing picture of a butterfly on a flower.

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I went to university in Roehampton so was back on familiar ground as I followed the road toward Putney Heath. I couldn’t resist popping up the little high street to a place called Dong Phuong’s, which we ordered from with such regularity that they didn’t even ask our address when we ordered anymore. O, the junk-food-related memories…

Next I was on Putney Heath and starting to feel the heat. I rifled through my bag and came up with some Body Shop body butter so slathered myself in it and hoped for the best. It didn’t have any sunblocking qualities. It was just moisturiser. But it was the best I had.

I fought my way through thick foliage…

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…until I suddenly stumbled onto an open playing field and a beautiful little hidden country pub called The Telegraph.

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From here it was a short walk to go under the motorway and on the other side I was greeted by Wimbledon Common and a beautiful pond, called King’s Mere. Virginia Woolf apparently called this end of the Common, ‘the bleak end.’ Now I don’t know Miss Woolf personally but I would argue that the bleakness was maybe not in the Common but in herself because this end of the Common is fabulous. It’s a riot of overgrown trees and paths. Everywhere I stepped, wildlife teemed. It was on this stretch that I saw two rabbits, a mother and ducklings, could hear the constant sound of birds and lots of dog walkers wandering about too. Not bleak at all.

This was my view during my Chocolate Stop (I was walking this one alone so was allowed a Chocolate Stop whenever I wanted).

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From here I walked toward Putney Vale Cemetery, which was essentially overflow, when all the church graveyards nearby were too full. At the end of this was a war memorial and some rugby grounds and that’s when I started getting hot again. The sun was out full blast. No clouds, just raw, untarnished, skin-cancer-inducing sun. I’d been shaded by trees for most of my walk until now. But as I crossed over the road and re-entered Richmond Park by the Robin Hood Gate, I started to worry and applied a second layer of my verging-on-useless body butter.

As I struck out across country, trying to get through the park as quickly as possible, I found myself with zero tree cover and started to regret my decision to wear jeans. Hotter and hotter, I got. I started to wonder if it was possible to die of heat in England. My water supply was rapidly diminishing and suddenly… I was in the middle of a group of extremely threatening looking deer with massive antlers!

Shit! How had that happened? Was I in such a heat daze that I hadn’t noticed them? I stopped…. They were heading straight to me…. I wasn’t terrified as such but I was quite nervous!

I started to edge sideways into the long grass and crouch slightly, trying to become invisible. Then I worried that they might think I was crouching ready to attack so I stood up tall again. They split and started walking either side of me. So close!

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They kept walking a few steps, looking at me, going again, stopping to look… Etc. It went on for what felt like ages until they were eventually all on one side of me. I carefully edged away from them, the deer looking back at me threateningly all the while. After about ten minutes of creeping and trying look as inconspicuous as possible, I continued on my path, heart racing. It was all very exciting/nerve-racking.

Shortly after this, because I had gone into the long grass, I stumbled across some mushrooms and was beyond tempted to take one home and cook it! I didn’t though, because I have no idea about which mushrooms are safe to eat.

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It wasn’t long after this that I reached Richmond Gate, my start point, and some trees to hide my burning shoulders under. I think I might wait until late afternoon next time I want to do a five hour trek in the open!

Lessons I have learned from this walk = don’t wear jeans on a long walk, always carry suncream, make sure the t-shirt you catch a tan in, is pretty much the same shape of most of your other t-shirts. I am suffering the teasing of having an odd shaped tan at the moment.

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