Monday, January 29, 2018

Moor Park to Hatch End

Yesterday, given a partly cloudy day and several hours of free time, I tackled what I thought would be a fairly easy 3.8-mile segment of the LOOP, from Moor Park to Hatch End in northwest London.

It turned out to not be so easy. For one thing, getting up to Moor Park was a challenge because the Metropolitan Line was down for a "trackside fire" (!) and then the train I took stank of smoke. It was pulled out of service a few stops shy of Moor Park, so then I had to wait for another train.

And then, once I finally got on the trail, it was mud-o-rama! I sort of expected that, since we've had a fair amount of rain lately, but I didn't anticipate it being this bad. I was ankle-deep in a few places and for every step forward, it seemed I slid a half-step back.

I came across some blooming gorse -- apparently it flowers year-round. According to my LOOP guide, there's an expression: "When gorse is out of blossom, kissing's out of fashion."

"Pat's Bird Table" was laid out like a smorgasbord in Oxhey Woods. I didn't see any birds, but of course with me standing there, they were probably steering clear.

The path went through a horse farm -- and I mean right through. I was walking past the barns and stables and the trailers and the trash heap, where I saw this little bedraggled hobby horse sitting on top.

And then I passed Pinnerwood House, from the 1700s, the former home of Victorian novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton. He's probably best known for being the true author of the famous opening line, "It was a dark and stormy night..." A contest is named for him in which entrants deliberately try to compose a terrible opening sentence for an imaginary novel.

The final part of the walk involved crossing a pasture that was so slippery and full of water that I exclaimed "Oh Lord!" at every step. I felt like Eddie Murphy's aunt falling down the stairs. "Oh Lord! Oh Lord! Oh Lordy!"

Anyway, it was all more challenging than expected and when it was over, I was quite happy to blunder muddily into a pub in Hatch End for a hamburger!


Yorkshire Pudding said...

"Oi! Yank! Ye can't come in here with those muddy boots on me old cock sparrer!"

As for "Mud-o-rama", I thought it was a celebrity TV show in which grinning celebrities beat the "Lord" out of each other in a quagmire!

Now you know what life was like in the WWI trenches!

e said... mess I'm glad I could never risk...Glad you didn't fall in the muck. That blue sofa is something...someone must've had a truck!

ellen abbott said...

it still amazes me that these walking paths still exist. love that last photo.

Ms. Moon said...

I think that "It was a dark and stormy night" is a great first line! Otherwise, no one would remember it, even to make fun of it.
Okay. Literary comment over.
That sounds like one hell of an adventurous walk. Will your shoes ever be the same?
You are amazing, Steve. You are persistent!

Red said...

That was unpleasant all the way around.

Linda Sue said...

Laughing heartily, this post is hilarious- and oh my, I would have saved that little hobby horse, I think. Glad there was a pub nearby, where you could gather your dignity and thaw from the muck. Nice sofa! Nice for critters.

Sharon said...

I bet your shoes were caked in mud by the time you got to that pub. Pat's bird table is an unusual sight but, I'm sure it's much appreciated by the local flying friends. I'm not sure why but, I think it's rather fun that you got to see the home of the author of such a famous line. I'm glad you photographed it to share with us.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a crazy interesting muddy walk. You do get to see some wonderful things even in the messiest of circumstances.

Catalyst said...

It was a damp and muddy day to take a walk, Steve. I think the blue couch is there to provide a respite for walkers as intrepid as you. Did the pub appreciate your muddy shoes or did you clean them off somehow? A curious mind wants to know.

Marty said...

Those of us who are sitting at home mud-free and enjoying this post thank you for soldiering on.

Anonymous said...

What Marty said. I love seeing your walk photos. I laughed aloud at the image of Eddie Murphy's aunt. Thanks for taking us along!

crafty cat corner said...

I love the first picture of the gorse Steve, lovely.
At least you didn't leave your boot in the mud, lol. I've done that in the past. lol

37paddington said...

Such days make you happy to get back home!

The Bug said...

I thought Bulwer-Lytton sounded familiar - & your next sentence explained why. I love that contest. And I totally laughed out loud at the image of you going "Oh lordy" through that pasture. Ha!

jenny_o said...

Not an overly pleasant walk, I'm sure, but you sure made me smile at the image of you going "oh, Lord" every step!

Pat's Bird Table looks like the stump of what used to be a very, very large tree. I bet the birds enjoy that feast.

I remember reading some of the entries for the "dark and stormy night" contest. They are a lot of fun. Isn't it Snoopy who likes to use that line to start his books, too? :)

Steve Reed said...

YP: I'm not sure what a "cock sparrer" is, but surprisingly, I didn't get chastised for my muddy shoes. (I cleaned them off as best I could before I went inside.)

E: I find the weirdest things dumped in the woods!

Ellen: Definitely one of the best things about Britain -- the historic walking paths.

Ms Moon: Well, that's a good point -- it IS a line everybody knows, though I suspect that's more because of Snoopy than Bulwer-Lytton!

Red: Well, hopefully reading my post wasn't unpleasant -- but yes, the walk had its challenges!

Linda Sue: I love the hobby horse too! I've saved him in a virtual sense by photographing him.

Sharon: They were pretty muddy but I scraped them off as best I could, and fortunately the remaining mud layer dried into a clingy film, so it didn't fall off onto the carpet!

Robin: There are surprises around every corner!

Catalyst: Yes, I did my best to clean them off. I think pubs just expect people to be a bit muddy at this time of year!

Marty: You're welcome! :)

Barbara: That's one of my favorite Eddie Murphy skits. I literally thought of it while picking my way across that field, exclaiming at every step!

Briony: Surprisingly, that hasn't happened to me yet -- but I've come close!

37P: Absolutely! I was thrilled to reach a sidewalk and walk on a hard surface!

Bug: Yes! That contest is always good for some laughs.

Jenny-O: Yes, that tree must have been HUGE! And yes, Snoopy made that line famous. I wonder how Charles Schulz knew it, to put it in the comic strip? I'll have to look that up!