Wednesday, 26 August 2009

St Margaret's to Hertford

Another holiday day: another walk - this time from St Margaret's to Hertford to meet up with great mate Ian. It was one of those English summer days that seemed to threaten both storms and hot sun, and the platform at St Margaret's was spattered with rain. But the sun came out as soon as I hit the Lea Valley Way just a couple of minutes from the station.
It's all tow path from here to Hertford, and I aimed to complete the five mile walk in around an hour and a half. There are lots of house boats here, all gently swaying in the waters of the canal.
About a mile on is Amwell nature reserve, born out of a huge gravel pit. It doesn't look like much in the photo, but here be otters! Not to mention loads of birds and insects.
Along the banks, I spotted comfrey, horseradish and this orange/yellow mimulus - otherwise known as monkey flower.
Ware was the next town - Ian had alerted me by text not to talk to the people of Ware. He told me later that this was an ancient animosity between the people of Hertford and Ware...but it's a pretty canal side town.
There are all sorts of interesting riverside buildings, and I loved this horse weather vane.
For a few strides, I was joined by this fearless hiking duck.
Just past Ware, the A10 hurtles over the Lea. Old transport versus new, as this narrow boat came chugging by. The navigator and I exchanged snatched remarks about the good weather as he passed.
I loved this scene of cattle at the waterside, which reminded me of a picture from one of my favourite childhood story books, illustrated in Poland, and a gift from my Polish cousin Jenny.
A mile or so more and I was into Hertford, and the lovely allotments at Folly Island. I spotted some mammoth squash and courgettes.
Then I was into Ian's virtual backyard.
Come on round, said Ian, and in a couple of minutes I was greeted by Ian and the mighty Bollinger, ur-cat and superstar.
Here is the star of many radio programmes in full cry.
Ian suggested a gentle coffee and tea at the Hertford Tearooms, a lovely venue for a thoughtful intake of liquids.
Ian's latte and my Earl Grey hit the spot. Then it was on to Farrow and Farrow, Hertford's excellent deli, to stock up on salami and cheese for our picnic.
We found fennel seed scented salami, Stinking Bishop and Beenleigh Blue cheese for our lunch, then headed to Waitrose for falafel, tomatoes and spring onions.
Then off to a wide green space to munch and put the world to rights. A lovely walk and a lovely day. Thanks, Ian!

1 comment:

peacockshock said...

Hi Fran. It was lovely to see you. What a splendid travelogue. You're the new Michael Palin (or maybe even Jan Morris). Boll says hi, but asked me to remind you not to talk to the Ware people. Ian :)