Saturday, March 03, 2012

The open road

Lorraine and I up early and taking the cats, wretched in their baskets, off to Top Cats for booster jabs and a once over. Basil and Brian crammed into basket looking cowed and alarmed once in the car, Calliope complaining continually. The Vet helped us see that their bad behaviour (Brian spraying and Basil pooing on carpets) are due to the evil black cat, the bully of the neighbourhood, and we were advised to get a water pistol. That brazen black fiend is costing us a fortune. Calliope Kenny also got some new eye stuff as her eyes are sore again, and Brian got some species of cat calmers to go in his grub.

Back for breakfast with Betty and after a few household bits, I dusted off my walking boots, rucksack and so on and met Anton at the station and we trained off to Balcombe and did a circular ten mile walk. It had been pouring with rain in the morning, but was sunny and pleasant for us. I was feeling underpowered and labouring up the hills after a springy-heeled Anton who with his A-Plan diet has lost about two stone in the last two months. Felt great to be out in the open again, walking with Anton down quiet country lanes and across fields.

I am fairly sure we spotted a pair of Red Kites too, majestic in the sky above some sheep and dwarfing the rooks that harried them.

Our route took us under the Ardingly Viaduct. I train across this every time I go to London and it is magnificent, and as Anton pointed out it doesn’t detract at all from what is an area officially designated as one of outstanding natural beauty. We pushed on to Ardingly Reservoir. Despite what seems to me to be quite a bit of rain lately we are in for a drought this year in South East England. The reservoir’s emptiness was plain to see, and the ground underfoot was very dry for March.

After our route had returned us to Balcombe, we popped into its pub to wet our whistles with a pint of Harveys. Anton had brought his iPad and we played a game of Risk on it. Then we made off to the station having to run for the train.

Home to a nice hot shower. Lorraine and Betty had been out and about in Brighton all afternoon, and we had to rouse our resolve to go off to Cuckmere village (not too far from where I'd been walking earlier) where a dozen or so of us had a tasty Thai Meal in the back room of the White Hart pub to celebrate Jess’s birthday. I sat between a nice couple: Dave works on flight simulation games and Clare teaches children with special needs.

Home and not needing to be rocked to sleep at all.

Below the joy of the open road, raucous rooks around a copse, the viaduct striping the land with shadows, a random noble horse and the alarmingly empty Ardingly Reservoir.

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