Monday, 14 February 2011

Newport (Circular) – (Essex) – 13/02/11 – 9 Miles – IVC

One regular reader of this blog at least will know that I have taken on a new fitness fad known as kettlebells (or specifically Kettleworx). This consisting of 3 x half hour workouts per week. So I am now four weeks into the initial six week program (although week one did get expanded into two weeks), and the results thus far are: I appear to freewheel more on my bicycle these days then actually turning the pedals, my knees both now have permanent toothache, and my girth has expanded somewhat. However on that last bit, I am sure that is because as my stomach muscles get bigger and stronger, it leaves the fat nowhere to go, and thus pushes it outwards (so that’s a good thing right ?).

Anywhere the relevance to this particular outing is that my legs felt shattered before I had even got as far as the tube station. Fortunately by the time I got to London Liverpool Street, I had forgotten all about their aches and pains, after I bumped into one of the walking regulars at Starbucks. Mindful of this expanding girth however, I decided to forego my usual cappacino and chocolate pastry twist, and settled instead for a hot chocolate with a shot of caramel (Mmm found my flavour) with fresh cream topping, and a raspberry and coconut slice.

Now this walk was led by a husband and wife couple, who took us on a circular tour of Widdington, skirting round the Essex end of the Chilterns. Given the squelchy conditions I made sure I had my gators on before starting, and before long the cold driving mizzle had me putting my waterproof trousers over them as well (and of course taking them off again about ten minutes later). So yes it wasn’t a great day weatherwise, although the forecasters had said it was supposed to be a lot worse.

Presently we arrived at our lunch stop in Widdington which was the Fleur de Lys (village pub ?). Suffice to say with a name like that muddy boots were definitely not welcome inside, and apparently the cold wasn’t either as we were told to keep the door shut as we were taking them off. Anyway we had our own table booked, where apart from drinks they would take our order at the table (so that meant a tip of course). The girl did try to charge me £4.70 for a pint of cider, however once I pointed that out, she corrected it to a far more reasonable £3.70 ! Anyway the food was quite impressive, with myself partaking of the mixed grilled fish, with creamy mash sauce, baby potatoes and assorted veg, coming in at a more reasonable (in comparison to the cider) £13. However one glance at the menu prices again, and even the regular pudding scoffers decided to give the deserts a miss this time round.

Now it never ceases to amaze me with walking groups, that those people who would never set foot inside a church to go to mass, cannot pass one on a walk without having to go inside and explore it. Well fair enough we all had a look round the first one we came across in the afternoon, but a mile further on and some of the group stopped to explore another one as well. If that wasn’t sufficient by the time we reached Newport, a third church had been passed necessitating yet aother breakaway group.

Anyway long before that I had made myself unpopular with the two leaders, after complaining that they were putting my personal safety at risk. It all started for me when we passed a sign warning of ‘falling branches’, only to shortly afterwards pass another sign warning of an ‘electric fence’. Well if that wasn’t bad enough we then had to cross a field used by an organisation called ‘Battlefield East Anglia’, who used that space for paintballing contests (alright there wasn’t any taking place on this occasion, but that’s not the point). Needless to say both leaders looked at me as if I had a hole in my head (perhaps I did from an unexploded paintball). Thus when I later passed another sign saying ‘danger of death’ next to an electricity sub-station, I decided I would take all future complaints direct to our president. I also made a mental note that on all future walks I lead, participants will have to wear hi visibility jackets.

Presently we arrived in the small village of Newport where the male part of our leadership team pointed out the various olde coaching inns, jail and toll bridge, while his better half went off to put the kettle on. Thus our walk ended back at our leaders house where we able to partake of: tea, coffee, scones with jam, scones with cheese, fruit cake, coffee and walnut cake, or any combination of that little lot (nobody better expect similar treatment on any walk I lead). Anyway that was all very pleasant, although some of us were left with a social etiqutte dilemma of scooting off for the 1713 train (and thus leaving a little too quickly) or staying on for the 1813 train (and thus outstaying ones welcome). As such four of us scoffed what we could and legged it, whilst the other five stayed on for second and third helpings.

Anyway my GPS just about crept up to the nine mile mark, on a walk that really needed better weather to make the most of the mainly flat course. So that’s it for this edition of my food and beverage blog, with more to come next time.

Walks since last blog entry:

1 x 5.75 mile – Osterley Park – Helen
1 x 7 mile – Osterley Park/Grand Union.
1 x 5.5 mile – Osterley Park.

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