A Walk in the Country
Had a weekend up in Chipping Ongar, a few miles further out of London than Epping. Whereas Epping has cool forests dappled by sunlight, Ongar has fields of wheat going golden in the hard sun.
It was a summer barbeque at a friend's and became one of those weekends where you suddenly realise how interesting life can be. Around the table, sipping wine until it became dark and slapping at bugs were: a civil servant; an actress; a writer; a consultant; a former futures trader; a florist; a trade unionist; a tube driver. All women, all not what the stereotypes those titles suggest. The florist does stuff for national institutions and the futures trader is now teaching parenting skills. One of those great evenings where the conversations drift and merge so that you come away with loads more ideas in your brain.
The next day six of us went for a walk down the public footpaths. The sun blazed, the crickets went insane buzzing at everything, the crops were turning almost white in the long summer, and at one point we got lost in one field.
I was distracted on the edge of town by the Epping-Ongar Railway which takes trains up and down the disused bits of line in the area. The station house was lived in, but was flying bunting, and old buses were slowly sagging in the yard: I must go back and have a proper afternoon there (I was aware that no-one else in the group was as curious as I was about it).