Recent outings and activities...

Starting the year outdoors

People usually like to get off to a good start. A New Year has the prospect of a good time to make a new start - hence all the resolutions and revolutions. I don't bother with resolutions, and I am extremely unrevolutionary. I expect that in reality most resolutions will be broken probably at the latest eleven months before another resolution opportunity comes along. Bit like most exercise regimes, perhaps? Real life will intervene.

But getting off to a good start - that's a slightly different matter.

And so it was I resolved - no, I decided - that (at least if the weather proved fair) I should - no, would - attempt to be at the top - more or less - of Pole Hill as 2015 turned into 2016. Pam had suggested the idea, and she had also suggested that she would be there if fair-weather allowed. I collected Marian from Wanstead as I drove to Chingford, because Marian sounded enthusiastic about the idea and wanted a lift. There were a few spots of rain, but hardly enough to warrant a windscreen-wipe. There were numbers of people walking determinedly through South Woodford, some even walking unsteadily and determinedly in clumpy-looking block-soled shoes. Their legs looked funny-shaped as I got the opportunity to have a look whilst stopped at traffic lights. Most of these people - maybe all of these people - did not look as if they intended to go to Pole Hill.

Graham was parked at the end of the last good road in Chingford before Forest View, which is not a good road and is by the golf-course. He said he'd been there for ages and wondered if anybody else would come. Lynne appeared out of the lightness (Marian, Graham and I being stood in the darkness), and then Pam, her son Jody and his friend Magdalena, and Fozi arrived. We switched on head-torches and ascended the heights, amongst trees and mud. Behind us was an orangey, not-quite-full Moon, and above it hung Jupiter. It was a lovely sight, and the stars looked good, too.

With relative ease we found the pole, and the trig-point, and there were a vague number of people already up there, looking across the Walthamstow reservoirs, between Stoke Newington and Hackney, past Shoreditch to the City and beyond to Westminster. On the extreme left the Shard was visible, and to the right the B.T. Tower. Above was a wobbly laser light from Greenwich, and above and behind was Polaris, The Plough and Cassiopeia. Other stars, constellations and the odd galaxy were also visible.

There was no real community event up there, just groups of people some of whom - usefully - did a count-down to midnight. The London Eye was definitely the main attraction in the distance, with distinct palls of smoke deriving therefrom. Jody spotted a UFO which we advised was actually a frightened bird, and after the 10 minutes-plus of fireworks from the Eye (and elsewhere) people began to disappear into the darkness (or "drift away"). Of course, being outdoor people we stopped to have a tea-break which confusingly consisted of mulled wine and wine-wine, plus Christmas cake. A decision was made that we should leave and shortly afterwards we got disorientated on the way down (was it the wine?) and ended up at the end of a road which was not the one we'd set out from. As even those who lived in Chingford didn't know quite where we were, I of course took control (having not drunk very much alcohol) and suggested left was the way we should turn, slip-slod the leading way behind some houses, guessed at a right turn, and hit a road that at first looked right, but then began to give me doubts. But everything is different at night, and especially at 1am night, and I was right after all.

Getting out of my car just before 2am, a Robin was bursting with enthusiasm, and - amazingly - whistling "Auld Lang Syne". Well, no, of course it wasn't; it was more likely enthusiastically complaining about all the bangs. Now that is a good start to a new year.

efog pole hill fireworks 160101 6637c


And so the New Year continues...

I didn't sleep well. I didn't have to bother getting up on January 1st as I didn't have to go to work. I never have to go to work. That was in years past. I decided I wouldn't bother getting up as all the day offered was an EFOG walk, which they do every year, so I could do it next year. And then my clock clicked (it doesn't really click - it's a digital one. I live in a digital world in 2016) over to 9am (it actually reads "09.00", but without those little marks either side). I happened to open an eye about then, so I saw it and my brain said something like "This is your Conscience speaking. If you don't go out today it will not bode well for the rest of your life". My unconscious tried to reply "I don't care", but I realised I did, and if I did not hurry I would either have no breakfast or would miss the train. I hurried, had breakfast and didn't miss the train.

efog connaught 160101The meeting-place for the New Year Day walk was Loughton Station, and Christine joined me on the train at Snaresbrook. I think it was Snaresbrook, but it doesn't really matter. She joined me on the train and it is always nice to see a friendly face. In fact I had already seen two friendly faces, but as most readers of this twaddle won't know them and might know Christine, we'll stick with that. As we got off the train at Loughton, Amina got out of an adjacent carriage and Fritz and his friend out of another. More friendly faces! The year was starting well!

There were lots of "Happy New Year"s and handshakes and hugs handed out as EFOG members and friends assembled and I believe 23 of us followed or walked ahead of Parviz through part of Loughton and into the mud. Into Epping Forest. We slopped as far as Connaught Waters, and around Connaught Waters, and back to Loughton Station, There, some people left to - maybe go home? Others went to Parviz and Frances home nearby, where we took off surprisingly muddy footwear and took up two rooms to partake in a lovely selection of eatables and drinkables provided by Frances. Thank you very much, Frances - lovely.

Then, gradually, we went home or elsewhere. I chose home, where shortly after arriving I fell asleep.

Paul Ferris,  3rd January 2016





Rodings Rally 2015 - Competitors Comments


Edward Barnard, ELR = East London Runners -

All three of us used to be members of East London Runners, though one now lives in Somerset, and another on the Isle of Grain (Kent). We first entered this event a few years ago, thinking it would be easy – quick run around, only 12 miles, how hard can it be to find a tent, then a few beers before the breakfast tent opened in the morning. I had the beer ready in the back of the car. Needless to say, as many of you will know, it isn’t as easy as that. Picking the correct option for the second checkpoint would have made things a bit quicker… and solving the puzzle question correctly meant we might have found that checkpoint before we realised that we had less than half an hour to cover half the length of Epping Forest back to the end point. Despite running the whole way, we missed it by 3 minutes… We haven’t entered the 10 checkpoint event since, just the 5’s, hunting around (invariably holly) bushes to find invisible tents miles away from where they ‘should be’. Drags us back every year.

We are really pleased finally to have won this, and certainly intend to try and defend it next year; the running club, initially a bit suspicious, now support us and have fielded other teams. We have also put to bed jibes about getting lost on club runs, which might have happened once or twice...

What are our tips? We have been trying to mark the checkpoints on the map accurately before we set off, and we have kept on running between checkpoints. Other than that, I don’t know how we improved on last year, where for the second time we were third, an hour behind the winners. We even fitted in most of a cup of tea at the life saving tea tent; many thanks for those manning the tents, and the start and finish – we hugely appreciate your efforts.


Russell Stebbings, Teams: Carabids of Fire, Dragon Fliers -

Dear All, this is just a quick line to say how much we/I thoroughly enjoy your event! It is very clear to us how much effort goes in to the planning and execution of it and it is very professionally run. We have done this 4 times now and have competed in a large number of road races, orienteering events, trail races, ultras, and a couple of desert races and your event is by far the most enjoyable! It is a highlight of our calendar. Thanks to all connected with it, it is simply brilliant!

Very best wishes to all concerned.


Gavin Jessup, Dartford Scout Tortoises -

Thanks for a great event. Dartford scout tortoises did visit all checkpoints in the correct order. One of the checkpoints did fill in the wrong box on our scorecard. ‬


John Pennifold‪ -

Great event as usual. Did anybody find a pair of thin black gloves out in the forest? Possibly dropped at a checkpoint. ‬

‪ ‬

Ian Brazier -

An amazing event! Well done all especially the volunteers. ‬


Ryan Smith,  Slack Ops -

Big time thank you to you and all of the Rally organisers and helpers. I had a great time, as did James and my brother.  This year we benefited from our previous experience and it also helped that we had another pair of eyes.

My overall feeling about the night was how friendly everyone was and particular praise should go to you and any other soul who braved a tent for the night.  Further praise should also go to the gentlemen at the beverages tent.  James’ hot dog was a lifesaver.

We had a brief team chat about doing the 10 clues next year and personally I’d love to do it, but I’ll wait to see how we all feel next year.

Thanks again and hopefully we will see you again next year. Best regards.


Cockney Nimrods 3 -

Many thanks for yet another great event on Sat night. I haven’t caught up with the other of our teams but we certainly enjoyed it.


Where did you come? Click Here and look for your team’s number in the event down the left hand side in the distance you covered.


E-folk at Butlins

efog GBFF sailor 20151205 133758926art

Skegness in December; bracing or what!?

Louise organised this one, based on an experience last year, apparently. By train and by car E-folkers travelled north and east to that strange county of Lincolnshire.

It's a new one on me, really – apart from passing through (do you ever really need to pass through Lincolnshire – except maybe on a train?), and a few days in Boston once long ago. But never Skegness – and never, ever, Butlin's.

efog GBFF border 20151204 135535780artButlin's SecurityI was by car, kindly hosted by Ian and accompanied by Louise and Madeleine. We spent hours and hours and hours (well not really – but it felt like it) wishing there was a hill or slight rise anywhere to be seen. But just seemingly endless fens, black fens, fen fens, a few windswept wayside trees and a horizon that stretched so far out of sight that it wasn't really there. Boston was at least alive, though mainly stumpy, and our first views of Skeggy were mainly of mobility shops and traffic jams of the resultant scooters. Oh – and chalets, and caravans, and caravans, and caravans. Then, just as I felt we'd escaped and could go back to hilly Essex via the Lincolnshire Wolds or some way other than fens, we were manoeuvred into position and up to the border crossing and the security guards. My mind was thrown back to hitch-hiking days on the borders of Albania, and of crossing in – and luckily out – of Bulgaria, before those borders were moved over here. I tried to hunker down in the back of the car, but know this to be useless. When I peeked out Louise was discussing terms and security passes and I was surprised to see a rather attractive blond female guard with a smile on her face. Ok, I know - they can smile but you can't hide.

efog GBFF mad lou 20151204 143402371arrMadeleine and Louise taking the incarceration with a smileIt's a strange place, Butlin's. The cells are all arranged in blocks just like real Stalags but given friendly names like Ocean Point and Lagoon Bay. Louise and Ian were in the former, and Madeleine and I in the latter. Apparently we were going to be allowed to associate at least with some of the other prisoners, so we crept into number 15 Ocean Point, to try to at least have a last cup of tea together. I was afraid I'd never see Louise or Ian again. Then, in a reflection from the window of a cell across the way, I saw Dave, and then others of the crew, followed up by Val. Things were looking up. At least we would all be incarcerated together. I realised that this wasn't quite a Stalag, more a Gulag. Further east, see.

Madeleine and I met Pam in our own cell down the road in Lagoon Bay. It's not a bay at all, but a group of cells below the sea wall, which is itself surmounted by a security fence, There was a guard-post just a way along, and we learnt later that we would be allowed out onto the miles of sand at certain times. You have to show a wrist-band to get in or out, though not so much on the out for some reason. I expect it's because there are security cameras everywhere, and that the wrist-bands are actually tracking devices, and even if you get out, there's nowhere to go except the sand or Skegness. I suspect that the sand is patrolled for escapees by great big balloon things that sort of roll and bounce and herd you back in. They'll have appropriate names like “Rover”.

efog GBFF 20151205 141450705artPam and Jacky plotting an escapeAnyway, I diverge. Which isn't surprising after the trauma of the weekend. The event was the Great British Folk Festival. The venue – as you now know – was Butlin's. Weird, Eh? There is an 'introducing stage' where the lesser performers do their best to become next-years bigger performers – and two other venues called Centre Stage and Reds. There is a psychological plot in place whereby big-name folk artists or bands play in one of the two venues at the same time. For example the main artists of the Friday were evening Billy Bragg performing in Reds and Eliza Carthy at the same time in Centre Stage. I chose Eliza, as Billy is a bit too political for me. As it happened, the very first band of the evening was 'False Lights' featuring Jim Moray and Sam Carter. What a start! I don't know either of those people, but I was very soon glad I'd risked a prison camp to see them.

efog GBFF 20151206 130313947artOn Saturday morning we were allowed out of the camp, and herded onto a Number 1 bus to Skegness. I know we were nominally in Skegness, but there are thousand of caravans and herds of mobility scooters between the Gulag and the main town. It' s too far to walk, especially as we were experiencing gale-force winds heading up the coast from the south. And Skegness is south of the camp. Skegness is a bit sea-sidey, with shops and that. We met a lot more of our e-folks and had a hearty meal in a hapartment store. Well, I say hearty, but it was more the tea and buns sort of place. Nice, though. We – or at least a few of us – walked to the beach. I went for a paddle (shoes included, of course), and we visited the Lincolnshire Poacher, which is the local lifeboat. My suggestion of being blown back to the prison camp by a following wind along the sea-shore was hooted at. Outdoor Group my a….

Saturday evening was a no-other-choicer for me. I warned them. (Them being all those e-folk that went to see The Unthanks). I went to see Sharon Shannon and Alan Connor, and whereas the Unthankers were all made miserable I was uplifted. Most of you will know that is rare with me, so she must be good. Pam and I rolled home (home is where the cell is) at about 2am, and obviously woke Madeleine, who had retired early. I retired years ago. We didn't want to wake Madeleine, but you could not move in the cell-block for creaks. (Creaks are small creatures that live in desolate parts of the east coast of nowhere. They are particularly common around Butlin's in Skegness.)

efog GBFF Sharon Shannon 151209 06582artSharon Shannon and Alan ConnorI don't remember much of Sunday, because it was windy and I'd had to sleep two nights with a coat over my head because the Gulag's security lights were blinding me all night. (I had another flippin' double-bed to myself again, by the way). Also, I kept thinking “Tonight's the night when I shall see Maddy Prior”. The other reason, now my memory is coming back a bit, is that we started the folk sessions early in the afternoon, with a set of renditions from 'The Band from County Hell'. They were from Lincolnshire. Good, though - and followed by 'Blazin' Fiddles' - who are good good and from Scotland and Orkney and Shetland. A quick eat, then Pam and I went to start a queue for the Reds venue, so as to get a good position. There are no booked seats; you takes your chances or barge people out of the way. I'm no good at the latter, never having been a bargee and not liking an argy-bargy. At 6.15, the queue had already started, but we were near the front. Val joined us, Louise, Ian, Phil and Dave were close behind. Susan W. and Ian joined us nearer the front. We grabbed some stray chairs that had blown in for the wait. Luckily it wasn't quite as windy as the similar but not-so-long wait I'd had the evening before. 'Twas cold, though, standing in the darkness of a Lincolnshire Gulag in December. The doors opened, and after the security checks (sniffer dogs, and beeping things and searches and that – or am I imagining all that?) we were in. I'd given precise instructions as to what to do to get tables, but nevertheless I ended up seeing only two-thirds of the stage from behind Jacky. Sod! I'd wanted to video Maddy Prior! I couldn't lean the camera anywhere so my lifetime chance was ruined. Oh well, enjoy the music.

The first band was 'Clutching at Straws'. They were awful. If Billy had been bragging and the Unthanks had been closer to the undead, this must've been worse. I don't go to a Gulag or even to a Butlin's to deliberately immerse myself in starving children. Sorry about that, kids – but there's enough suffering in the world. Go on, read this and be all righteous, but I bet I'm not the only one that walked out. The really great thing was – and this sounds a bit like a paul-tale – as I walked back to our prison cell for a welcome break before Steeleye, in the all but deserted main pavilion a song was playing. Bert Jansch singing 'Needle of Death'. You wouldn't think you could be cheered up by something like that, but after that other lot...

After a relaxing half hour or so I, together with Madeleine – who very sensibly had not bothered with the queuing and had thus not endured the Phillipines – wandered back to see Steeleye Span. You'd think at this point I'd waffle on like the rest of this article and describe how good the band was and what a pleasure it was for me to see them, but I ain't gonna. But they were and it was.

I should like to have seen Fotheringay in the other venue, but in loife you has t' make a choice, and the final band of the weekend, where we were, was an unknown to me. The DJ – Sue Marchant of BBC Local Radio, and very good she was too – said they were going to be uplifting, and they were. 'FolkLaw', a bloody good band – and I told them so as we happened to see them packing as we were escaping the camp on Monday morning. It had been a great start on Friday to a great weekend of entertainment, and that was a great finish.

We were allowed to leave on Monday morning - after the now-familiar checks at the border - and Ian drove the four of us back from E-folk-land to Efog-land.

Thanks, Louise, thanks Ian, thanks Pam and Madeleine and the others, thanks Butlins, for another great efog-away.

(I have exaggerated the prison camp theme a bit; it was really quite OK and the guards were very nice – especially the blond one.)

efog GBFF Steeleye 151206 06599art


Article by Paul Ferris (Steeleye Span and Maddy Prior fan, but I also like Fairport Convention and Sandy Denny. There are others I could mention, including Bert Jansch, and the Incredible String Band has a lot going for it if you like pigs and hedgehogs. I like both but tend to only eat the former, and then I feel guilty. I think we should all feel guilty about hedgepigs) 7th December 2015

The festival was The Great British Folk Festival, held annually at Butlin's, Skegness, since 2010.

(Skegness is a town in Lincolnshire, and Lincolnshire is a well-known poaching county in England. As England is still British, it is right and proper to hold a Great British Folk Festival there, or indeed anywhere. Still a bit odd, though.)



59th RODINGS RALLY (2015)  Report

Saturday 20th / Sunday 21st  November

Dear Competitors,

Thank you all for entering the 59th Rodings Rally and well done to everyone who took part on what was a particularly cold night, though most of the people I spoke to did not seem to mind the chill. It did every one a favour in some parts by freezing the muddy patches! We also had a lot of interesting teams from universities, including the Dragon Flyers from the Insect Room at the University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge who came in a very creditable seventh in the ten checkpoint event

Unusually this year, teams won the individual events who have never won before, so it just goes to show that if you keep going you will eventually succeed. Also returning to the fray after a bit of a hiatus was East Barnet School, who not only rustled up four teams, but one of their teams also will be taking home the Rockets Trophy for the fastest under 20 team over the five mile course, so well done them.

Of the 42 teams entering the 10 checkpoint event, 20 teams managed to find all 10 checkpoints. The winning team, Suffoc & SOS surprised even themselves by coming home in three hours and fifty four minutes, just ahead of the Dartford Scouts, who were two minutes behind them, and the Rayleigh Rockets number two team who took four and a half hours to complete the course.

Last year’s five checkpoint event winners were a team going by the mysterious name of ELR, who were equally stunned to have finally made it home in first place after several attempts. They came home in two hours and fifty-three minutes, nine minutes ahead of last year’s joint winners, The Barnet Strollers and a further seventeen minutes behind, the New Sospects.

The Group Trophies, awarded to the Group or club with the three highest placed teams in each event, went again to the Rayleigh Rockets in the 10 checkpoint event (30 checkpoints in 16 hours and 29 minutes hours). The best five checkpoint group again was the 41st Epping Forest Scouts, who managed 15 checkpoints in 14 hours and 52 minutes. Since both of these teams have held the trophies for a couple of years now, it’s up to you to mount a challenge!

The Rockets Trophy, as I mentioned above, went to a team from East Barnet School, their number 4 squad. The teams from the school, all of them under twenty years of age, came fourth as a group in the five checkpoint challenge, which is very creditable indeed. They were four of the eleven under twenty teams we had this year and we hope to see them all back again next year, bringing their mates along after telling them what a great time they had!

Trophy winners will be contacted shortly to confirm delivery arrangements if not already received.

As stated on our information sheet, 50p from every entry is donated to a charity nominated each year at our AGM. Those of you who entered the 2014 Rally may be interested to learn that your donations went to the Cody Dock Project.


Points to Note:

This year, Checkpoint one seems to have given a lot of the teams grief and it also seems to have been the area of most lost property. The only item I have of lost property is a right-handed grey and black glove with Seal Skinz on one finger. However, three teams asked us to put out an APB on the following items:

A pair of thin black gloves – John Pennifold

This is a long shot, but I have lost a reasonably expensive 'Silva' compass that was a Christmas present from my kids 3 years ago!  (Typical rectangular base plate and should have a short thin cord attached - If I remember rightly the rotating bezel was black rather then the usual white.).  If anyone's handed it in, I'll refund the postage and a bit extra for a beer! It was fairly early on in the night, about 10.20-10.30, on the way to checkpoint 1. Using your map, between grid references 7820 1925 (Junction of Debden Slade & The Green Ride) & 7830 1940, near top of the small hill. Probably on left side of The Green Ride (W) as you walk uphill (N). - Robin Richardson

One of my team members lost a head torch on our way into checkpoint 1 and was wondering if anyone has found it and handed it in. It was a very bright (think Neo or something like that) with a head-strap and rechargeable battery pack on it. Not sure how he lost it the size of it but there you go. It was almost brand new so he’s a bit gutted he lost it! - Tim Cartwright,

If anyone picked them up, could you contact me and I will make arrangements to get them back to their rightful owners.


Click here to read some feedback from competitors.


And Finally:

Next year is our 60th Rodings Rally, and as such will be a special event, on Saturday 19th/Sunday 20th November 2016. Because of this, the rules for entry are going to be tightened up a bit, as we had a few issues this year, and I am fairly sure that the anniversary event will be quite popular. Spaces will be on a first come, first served basis, so no asking for an early slot unless you are backing up that request with a completed entry form, properly filled in (mind out all of you I had to chase this year for various details, for example what distance you want to compete over) and with the finances taken care of. As usual, you can pay by bank transfer or cheque, and if you do use a bank transfer, please, please let me have a receipt/screen shot of the payment. Every year our poor Treasurer tears her hair out as we go back and forth trying to work out what belongs to whom, so for her sake if not mine, then have your receipts at the ready. We will also be moving the date for last e-mail entries forward by one day, to Wednesday 16th November (postal entries will close on Friday 11th November. Please make sure your entries are in before the 16th as demand for slots should be high.


Where did you come? Click Here and look for your team’s number in the event down the left hand side in the distance you covered.




Ladywell to Forest Hill - 8th November

This was the 7th section of Pam's series of walks following the “Green London Way”. Pam mentioned in the programme that this section of the walk takes us through parks and along "prominences". I wasn't sure what she meant by prominences, especially as she'd put whatever they are into inverted commas. Anyway, she had said “along prominences”, so that didn't sound too onerous.

Ladywell Forest Hill 151108 06563artThe very start of the walk at Ladywell ParkShe also said “a few hilly bits” - not like the last walk in the series when there was nothing but hilly bits. So, five of us met at Stratford, and two went straight to London Bridge Station where we all met up to catch the train to Ladywell. It got there just before 11am, and as it was Remembrance Sunday that gave us time to walk into Ladywell Park, find a quiet spot, and observe the two-minutes silence. We then went to the nearby St. Mary's Church, which is much bigger on the inside than on the out, where we were invited in and even got tea and biscuits without having to stay for a service.

There is a tomb in the churchyard to which Pam referred us, of an Irish poet none of us had ever heard of, the inscription of which is totally eroded away, and is un-signposted. We did find it, but I don't quite know why. The parasol mushrooms were slightly more spectacular.

Ladywell Park is very pleasant, and on a remarkably warm Autumn day was a pleasure to walk through. The Ravensbourne River is really the reason for the park, as it comprises the flood plain and has been re-landscaped to not only enhance the river but to provide for any potential flooding. We looked in vain for a very special tree that is mentioned in the guide book and elsewhere on the internet. It is an elm, known as the Lewisham Dutch elm, and is supposed to be unique. It is either unique or extinct, because we couldn't find it.

After Pooh-sticks on the bridge, we left the park and soon got to Montacute Road where Pam regaled us with a story about Edward 2nd, Edward 3rd, William Montacute and a red hot poker, a group of which we'd just passed in someone's front garden. At this point I was also beginning to realise that “prominences” might also mean hills and we weren't actually walking along them but up and down them. This was somewhat reminiscent of GLW Section 6, and reminds us that Essex is really ever so flat compared to south London suburbs.

Ladywell Forest Hill 151108 06569artAtop Blythe Hill FieldsBlythe Hill Fields was the next summit. Another of those open spaces that were fought over and demonstrated for to protect against development. From here there are some great views, particularly trending northwards to encompass – to the right – the Canary Wharf complex, and – to the left – the City. Between Canary Wharf and the City we could even make out the Epping Forest ridge, though because it is in Essex and it was also a bit overcast, wasn't very prominent.

After we left the open space there was bit of confusion as to where the road called Brenchley Gardens was, but it turned out that – as a couple of girls told us – it was miles away because Pam had turned over two pages of the route instead of one. We made our way through streets, passing Honor Oak station, downhill and then uphill, to the entrance to One Tree Hill. It was disconcerting that there were lots of trees, more so that there were lots of steps, and even more so that the people coming down the steps kept saying, “It's worth it when you get to the top”. Sort of at the top, there is the Honour Oak itself, or rather a replacement of the original which Elizabeth 1 picnicked under whilst out a-maying. We picnicked out a-sitting (or standing) nearby with another grand view towards London. Being as this was south London, the view was odd, too, with a St. Paul's Cathedral almost centrepiece, but looking somewhat alone from the rest of the City buildings.

Ladywell Forest Hill 151108 06567artThe RavensbourneWhere there is an up there is often a down, and in this case more steps, covered with almost as many leaves as my garden. This lead us to Brenchly Gardens, which – of course (see earlier) was miles away. Brenchley Gardens should be famous for its Ginkgo trees, including ones that produce the disgusting-smelling seeds, which I demonstrated by breaking open the soft flesh. Surprisingly, the enclosed nut is edible, but I have never tried that.

From Brenchley gardens we crossed to Camberwell Old Cemetery which we traversed to reach the uphill roads and then a downhill footpath between the houses leading to the Horniman Nature Trail. This is the oldest nature trail in London and was formed along part of the disused railway track, originally the Crystal Palace and South London Junction Railway and later the Nunhead to Crystal Palace High Level line. This was built in 1864/5 but closed in 1954, and the nature trail was opened in 1974.

Ladywell Forest Hill 151108 06573artMusical interlude at Horniman ParkOdd musical sounds were coming from our left as we walked the embankment, and their provenance became apparent only after we'd entered Horniman Gardens where, in a position on a slope, there was a selection of sounding devices to play on. These consisted of drums, tubular bells, xylophones and the like. We duly chased the children off and took over – just to spoil things.

Our final effort for the day, before getting the train back from Forest Hill Station, was to have tea and cakes in the cafe at the museum itself. Most of us paid homage to the walrus, some of us enjoyed the badgers, some the okapi. The woman almost centre of the remarkable mosaic on the outside wall of the museum looked to me as if she really were going to pay homage to humanity.

A pleasurable, if hilly and prominent, walk led by Pam and enjoyed by Dave, Fozi, Fred, Ken, Lynne, Sue. S., and myself.

Paul Ferris, 10th November 2015