A Walk from Bayford

efog hertford 20220313 001 br

On a dull Sunday 13th March, seven of us set off from Bayford, near Hertford, for an 8.3 mile walk recommended by the O.S.

The route was well marked and the local landowners strident notices were carefully observed. Spring is definitely in the air and all round the route we could hear the chiffchaffs making their distinctive call. It seemed to me that the route was constantly ascending but the group ignored the panted complaints from the back. Eileen was setting the pace and that was the way it was going to be!

efog hertford 20220313 002 brI noticed the usual English habit of having unusual place names as we passed near Great Stockings. Three or four miles into the walk we passed a church at midday and a couple of us confessed that we did count the number of chimes, just to check.

The Georgian folly, Stratton’s Tower, was passed by and I took the opportunity to stop, get my breath back and take a photo. Essendon was reached and we turned for home. We stopped at The Five Horseshoes in Little Berkhamsted for a drink – Greene King IPA for me if you want to know – and the pub were very good as we apologised for our boots. Eileen had promised mud and there certainly had been some boggy stretches but we had jumped in puddles and scraped carefully so we didn’t make much mess.

It was after our stop that the directions seemed to be a bit confusing, around the Bucks Alley area, and we had to operate on the basis that if in doubt, keep going straight ahead. It worked. At last I found some downhill stretches and bounded on, energy restored – or was it the IPA? We eventually arrived back in Bayford, tired and hungry, the walk having taken about five hours.



Brian U., 14th March 2022


Valentines Mansion Visit

A chilly but sunny Sunday 27th February 2022 saw a number of us turn up at Valentines Mansion in Valentines Park to be given a tour round the property by Eleanor.

valentine mansion 200227 brianThis building, originally built around 1696 for the widow of the Archbishop of Canterbury, was modified by various owners over the years and eventually acquired by the council in 1912. Eleanor gave us her usual informative talk (she volunteers there and has done since the Friends took over its management), spiced with her usual nuggets, this time being the origin of the expression “daylight robbery”.

We had a short walk around the immediate grounds, admired the ornamental lake and settled down to have a drink and snack at the Gardener’s Cottage Café. Eleanor promised us the café garden would be a suntrap and so it proved. What a little treasure virtually on our doorsteps!

The photo is outside the front of the house with its big porch area.


Brian U.  27th Februry 2022


Quiz for St Clare Hospice

Sue arranged for 10 of us to take part in a quiz on behalf of the St Clare Hospice, to be held at Theydon Bois village hall on Saturday 26th February 2022. Looking at the assembled team it was difficult to think it could be any stronger. I must confess I worried who Pam might have met on the way to the hall (we all remember the last occasion) but she turned up alone.

efog theydon quiz 200226 8559cAfter 3 rounds we were 4th (out of 15), a couple of points behind the leaders. We were all struggling to understand some of the questions due to the unique pronunciation of the caller and it seemed that other tables were in the same boat. Macgillycuddy’s Reeks caused endless entertainment as various tables made the caller repeat it and spell it time and again before he was understood. Gradually our immediate competitors fell away until only one table was ahead. And that was how it remained, we came second by one point.

All the way home the talk in my left ear from she who must be obeyed was how we could have eliminated this or that mistake and thus secured the win. Still, second is not bad, 4 of the table won raffle prizes and St Clare Hospice made several hundred pounds to assist in their good work. A good evening’s entertainment.



 Brian U.  27th February 2022


EFOG Extra Quiz Saturday 26th February

It was rather surreal travelling to the wilds of Theydon Bois. I hadn’t been out “properly” for some time. How many people would be there? What do we do now about sharing our snacks? Will anyone be wearing masks, social distancing? At least I’d tested negative earlier, so should be safe to sit next to – hopefully! Would I get lost, even with my Sat Nav? I did, of course – but Val was at the end of a phone …. so I made it on time. I just about had time to admire the stars before going into the village hall …. Inside was like stepping back in time: a full hall, lots of buzz, smiling and chatter, snacks and drinks on tables. A Raffle Table invited you to buy tickets – unless you were too late (like me). Was there excitement in the air? I think so.

Great to see my EFOG friends again, as always. Just managed to exchange warm greetings before the quiz began. Our joker round (Food & Drink) was quite early on – we were one point short of a full score. We did even better on some other rounds. All good selections. Did you know there are gates named after Margaret Thatcher in London or what anniversary is traditionally associated with pearls or what gives Drambuie its distinctive flavour? We were definitely in tune with the quiz designer when it came to (old) films and Disney cartoons – even the young(er) ones among us. Some of us were struggling to remember the tables printed inside our school exercise books when it came to definitions of measures even older than us. But we did well. We came second (thanks to a challenge on scoring accuracy earlier by the redoubtable Kathy (backed up by super-efficient Trevor).

Best of all, it was estimated that the quiz, including the raffle (4 EFOGers won prizes) has raised about £1000 for the St Clare Hospice. Not a mask in sight but plenty of hand sanitiser and people did seem to be pretty much keeping to their tables. It didn’t feel scary at all. Many thanks to Sue S for organising this event on our EFOG calendar. It was a great. Good fun. I do hope we have now travelled back to a more “normal” future – with more nights out to come.

Pamela,  28th February 2022


Upminster to Cranham Walk

Having been thwarted by TfL from doing my originally planned walk, a super sub. of a walk was needed. Hence eleven of us met up at Upminster Station at 11-ish o’clock (some more “ish” than others!), on Saturday 12th February.

cranham 220212 val 01 The first mile was along main roads, until we reached a narrow road leading to All Saints Church (possibly named after the well known girl group?). From here we headed along a track, past horses and fields, until we reached Cranham Marsh Nature Reserve, which is managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust. Entering the reserve we followed a path through a wood, eventually reaching an information board with carved wooden posts

cranham 220212 val 02We then crossed over a river (well, a small stream, actually) to grassland, and continued with the old flood-marshes to our left. Eventually we left the reserve and stopped for a rather late elevenses break. We resumed our walk along more field edges before climbing a small slope to cross over the railway line and then enteed the Thames Chase woodlands, heading through the trees to the Visitor Centre, accompanied by the gentle roar of M25 traffic (I love that road!)

We reached the Centre and enjoyed a lunch stop before starting on the last quarter of our walk, heading westwards around and across more fields and passing back under the railway line, and heading back to the church. Following another path to houses, we returned via quiet residential streets, before hitting the main road five minutes walk from the station to complete the walk.

It had been a good walk with warm sunny weather, the paths were not very muddy and no-one got lost or left behind. Finally at the station, heading through the car park, some of us spotted a fox, quite happy among all the many vehicles.

Trev ('Pathfinder') Eley 17th February 2022

Photos by Eileen. 12th February 2022