What could be more quintessentially British than a ramble in the forest on a rainy Bank Holiday Monday? Well, nothing really, and it was exactly what I, a library-weary student, needed! A relatively short journey on public transport from East London gets you to Epping Forest – a proper forest which it is possible to get lost in, in the manner of Winnie the Pooh, as we proceeded to demonstrate.
The company of the Matryoshka Haus gang was, as always, wonderful. We also had the delightful addition of the Jordan clan, with six offspring plus two mini friends meaning that the kids almost outnumbered the adults! Fortunately it was not my responsibility to check that they were all present and correct, although I did enjoy following six of them up a tree.
Despite emphatic suggestions that we needed to continue in a north-westerly direction, our party meandered through the undergrowth willy nilly. At one point, we supposedly circumnavigated a pond in its entirety, but I was enjoying catching-up with everyone too much to notice or care! We finally reached the Bikers’ café we’d been aiming for – wet, disheveled and very much ready for hot tea and bacon rolls.
After a good rest and lots of gazing at maps, we were off again, minus the kids (and their respective ‘responsible adults’). The sun finally came out and there was a bit less moaning (Liz’s supply of chocolate biscuits helped) and a lot more marvelling at the beauty of the forest. Taking slightly fewer wrong turns we looped back round to the town where we rewarded ourselves with a nice glass of wine and rested our feet. Content with our Bank holiday dosage of countryside and fresh air, we returned to the city, with our ruddy faces and muddy shoes, where the feast that Rachel N. describes below awaited.
– Sarah Jones