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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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A weekend in pictures [20101004|16:31]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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I managed to get up at 7:00 AM on Saturday morning so I could head down to London to walk a new 10 mile section of the London Loop from Uxbridge to Moor Park with [personal profile] djm4, [personal profile] yoyoangel, [personal profile] palmer1984, sashajwolf, shadowdaddy, J and R. (Can you guess how I met these people?) I haven’t walked the Loop since 2005, so I was pretty excited, even though my body was busy fending off a hangover with ibuprofen.

The fog was still clinging to the park near my house when I left Cambridge. It lifted to reveal a glorious morning.

I arrived at Uxbridge 15 minutes early and settled on a bench in the sun with a large tea. Once the others had all turned up, we headed off to the first part of the loop, which followed the Grand Union Canal.

You can just make out [personal profile] yoyoangel and [personal profile] palmer1984 in the lower left of the top image.

Lots of teenage swans and ducks were flapping about the canal, setting the theme for the day as Birds.

This parrot attracted our attention by wolf-whistling us. It then proceeded to do a number of machinery imitations, including a very convincing “engine ignition on a canal barge”.

This peacock lives at a house about 100 metres from the parrot.

If I were a whimsical billionaire, this house would now be mine.

We stopped at The Coy Carp for lunch. The food was plentiful, the ale frothy and we ate our meal surrounded by attentive ducks. As a result of these distractions, we failed to notice the clouds rolling in. Above, R is watching the antics of the ducks as they scrambled to get to the bread some passersby tossed off the bridge to the pub garden. (The wonky crop on the second photo is entirely due to the photographer giggling about the duck getting stuck in the fence.)

The persistent drizzle that slowly drenched us as we resumed our trek to Moor Park forced me to stow my camera soon after this picturesque dead tree.

Our reward for slogging about a mile up a slippery, horse-poop-dotted bridleway were these Amanita muscaria, otherwise known as fly agaric. Pretty and psychoactive!

None of us were in the mood at the time, but if you ever are, Exotic Dancers can be viewed at the Prince of Wales in Rickmansworth from 2:30 to 11 PM. But only if you’re over 21. License plates have been blocked out, just in case anyone wasn’t supposed to be enjoying the company of Exotic Dancers.

We finished the Loop section at about 5 PM and scrambled onto a fast Metropolitan line train to central London. I ate a pasty at Kings Cross. There’s nothing so divine as hot food when you’re hungry and cold.

The bloke picked me up from Cambridge station. Hot baths, pizza and silly films were the order of the evening.

Strangely, we woke rather early on Sunday. We needed to pick up my birthday painting from the exhibition where he’d bought it. It happened to be near the Ickworth estate, a National Trust property that we hadn’t visited previously, so we hopped in the car to go for a long walk.

Ickworth Rotunda

In the walled garden

The church (& grounds) are under repair

Not a great photo, but Three Great Tits

Sheepy regard

The last photo was taken from the far end of the estate from the rotunda. That’s a couple of miles away. I was pretty tired of walking by Sunday night.

We bought some fudge at the shop and hopped back in the car. At the exhibition, we were told to come back at 3 PM to pick up the painting. After several miles of walking, we were pretty hungry so we got directions to a pub that served us massive portions of roast (him) and chili (me). We admired the produce from the local onion-growing competition that had been fetchingly arranged at a table across from us. Just as we were paying the bill, the awards ceremony got underway, so we were further entertained while two ample-framed gentlemen shared all but one of the prizes. Categories included Best Novelty Onion and Best Presentation of Three White Onions. We were on the edges of our seats, I tell you.

[User Picture]From: lesyeuxouverts
2010-10-04 16:49 (UTC)
How do you know those people ? My friends circles have just collided again and my head feels a bit 'splodey !
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-10-06 09:41 (UTC)
Well, I didn't know most of them before the walk. I met djm4 when I went to a pub meet-up organised by miss_s_b, who was visiting London. They're all lovely, though - will definitely walk the Loop with them again!
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[User Picture]From: anthrokeight
2010-10-04 17:11 (UTC)
That is the least sexy, or even tawdry location for Exotic Dancers I have ever seen. For real. The locale looks like the Exotic Dancers should do... I dunno... milkmaid routines maybe?
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-10-06 09:43 (UTC)
It's not a very Exotic locale, Rickmansworth. I can't believe how long they make those poor Dancers perform for. They must be exhausted by 11 PM.
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[User Picture]From: shadowdaddy
2010-10-04 17:29 (UTC)
You hid the hangover well!

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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-10-06 09:43 (UTC)
Hee. I can generally count on my natural American perkiness to carry me through.
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[User Picture]From: andgracetoo
2010-10-04 20:36 (UTC)
great pictures, I especially like the mushroom and the sheep.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-10-06 09:44 (UTC)
Thank you. That sheep was a little ominous. There was no small degree of warning in that stare!
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[User Picture]From: sanat
2010-10-04 22:00 (UTC)
Lovely photos as usual!

(heehee, great tits...)
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-10-06 09:44 (UTC)
Aw, thank you! I wish I had more of my companions but as I didn't know them well, I didn't want to shove the camera in their faces.
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[User Picture]From: bowtomecha
2010-10-04 23:53 (UTC)
OMG how long have you been hiding this for?

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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-10-06 09:47 (UTC)
Daphnis is good at hiding. It is very small and not at all eccentric.
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[User Picture]From: cosmiccircus
2010-10-05 04:06 (UTC)
How come the bloke didn't come along on this adventure? What I love about you is that you always get out of the house and explore the world...!

How do you know the ducks and swans were teenagers? Were they just hanging out aimlessly and texting one another?

Speaking of the ducks, did the one duck get unstuck from the fence?

You know, if I was Prince Charles, aka the Prince of Wales and married to Camilla, I'd probably open up a strip joint too!

What does the rotunda look like inside?
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-10-06 09:50 (UTC)
The bloke was having a boy's night out on Friday & was busy snarfing a full English breakfast at his friends' house when I started the adventure.

It was the scruffy complexions and awkward posture that gave the teenage birds away.

The duck managed to wiggle out of the fence. Eventually, R gave them a little chase and they remembered that they could, you know, fly over it.

We didn't go into the rotunda! At some point we'll go back and visit properly, tour the house and make a day of it.
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[User Picture]From: nimoloth
2010-10-05 12:05 (UTC)
I am quite jealous that your guy actually likes (or at least, is willing to go) wandering about stately homes and their estates!

And also, England can be so much more pictureque in it's tamed countryside than Scotland. Here, it's either much wilder (which is good) or a bit run down, or in some cases, downright scummy (which is bad). Take almost any canal in the central belt, for instance - half submerged shopping trolleys, bikes and car tyres, neds, neds on bikes, broken bottles, empty syringes, and, in Maryhill in Glasgow, actual ned pirates. England's canals generally seem to be surrounded by quaint pubs, nice people, no rubbish, and no pirates.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-10-06 09:59 (UTC)
It's usually his idea! He's the one with the National Trust membership.

I wonder why that is. Perhaps the entity responsible for maintaining the waterways in England is more vigilant?
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