That clothe The Weald and reach the sky

2006-06-11

in Daily updates, The outdoors, Travel

Pooh Sticks Bridge

Like so much else, the walking trip in The Weald was primarily a good mechanism for meeting new people. All told, fourteen people were part of the expedition. Something about rambling seems to attract people of a scientific or technical bent. I had long conversations during the five hour walk about mettalurgy, the GPS system, the manufacture of large organic molecules for pharmaceuticals, computer programming, fisheries, and the HIV fighting potential of a certain molecule that comes from sea fans. It was definitely a group of people I’d like to spend more time with. One even lent me the new Milan Kundera novel: Immortality.

The walk took place in and around the inspiration for A.A. Milne’s 100 Acre Wood, of Winnie the Pooh fame – though the terrain dates back to the establishment of a hunting park following the Norman Conquest. Marked features were low verdant hills, and idyllic stands of deciduous trees around small creeks. Throughout the hike (and the 2.5 hour minibus trips both ways), the sun was intense enough to make me fear that I will rosy tomorrow, despite the use of sunscreen and my wide-brimmed canoeing hat. I have an obvious watch tan.

Particularly appealing is the prospect of doing a trip to the Lake District with this group. I’ve been told that it’s an essential place to see, and to do so with such an obviously qualified and interesting sect is a welcome thing to contemplate. There is much about fit young scientists that appeals to me. Likewise, places of natural beauty that includes mountains.

After three days of devoted walking in the hot sun, followed by little sleep, my muscles are all clenched up and aching. I may allow myself to sleep in a bit tomorrow, before scrambling to come up with an excuse for Dr. Hurrell, explaining why I don’t have a paper for him. Given that we still have an undiscussed one to cover, he shouldn’t be too harsh on me.

PS. While walking to and from the rendezvous for the hike, I gave my first listen-through to Fox Confessor Brings the Flood. Some of the songs I can already tell are superb.

PPS. Being way too busy to read emails or blog posts is a novel and not entirely unwelcome experience. I feel like I’ve had a miniature vacation, right in the middle of an Oxford term.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Meghan June 12, 2006 at 5:04 pm

I guess I should have sent you a long sleeved UV shirt like the one I got for Laurie’s birthday, instead of the CD. I can only hope you won’t be as rosy as you were in the Cinque Terre.

Though you are currently like Miss Elizabeth Bennet, with anticipation of a Lake District visit, hopefully you won’t be disappointed as she was (though it was to her eventual benefit). And, if you do spend time in the Lake District, you are expected to become a Romantic poet. Wordsworth was particularly fond of the area. I recommend reading his “Prelude” before your trip.

Milan June 12, 2006 at 7:47 pm

Meghan,

Let’s deal with the first part of that, to begin with. I am not at all sunburnt, despite fears. The combination of wide-brimmed hats, sunscreen, and never unzipping your cut-off hiking pants remains valid.

Milan June 12, 2006 at 7:47 pm

Also, you _hated_ the Prelude! I remember you complaining endlessly about it.

Meghan June 12, 2006 at 7:54 pm

I know. I was speaking in jest, with regards to you reading that horrid work. I wondered if you would remember how much I hated having to read it.

B June 13, 2006 at 2:57 pm

“Being way too busy to read emails or blog posts is a novel and not entirely unwelcome experience.”

It would probably be theraputic for you to avoid computers for at least a week, at some point over the summer.

Milan June 15, 2006 at 12:45 am

That may happen at some point. We shall see.

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