Wednesday 5 August

Walking in Kent, starting at Fordcombe. This was a circular walk, we have completed most of the local linear walks. Today was sunny and warm but also very breezy. We started off on the Wealdway which is a walk we have done before, but the views over towards the Ashdown Forest are magnificent, and it was extremely clear. I think the air pollution levels are not quite as dire as before, the air seems to be clearer and cleaner. Though more aircraft going over than a few weeks ago.

We walked past Groombridge Place, which is a 17th century moated manor house with 200 acres of parkland. It is open to the public, and today we saw in the distance a birds of prey demonstration, with many people sitting in a field watching. They do displays at 12 and 3pm I read. A very fine place to visit I guess.

The villages in this area are very pretty, tile hung cottages in many cases, roses round the door, archetypally English. We passed The Old Laundry, various farms, oast houses typical of Kent, though very few hops are grown here nowadays.

This is the pub at Groombridge, which has reopened, although not as we were there: probably good, as I can’t walk very far after a pint of beer. Lying down for a snooze in the sunshine suddenly appears infinitely preferable.

We walked through woods, across fields, by the River Grom, past dried up streams: the drought is very noticeable now. We seemed to have an extraordinary number of stiles to cross today: tempting to express the ribald comment as to how difficult it is to get one’s leg over.

I love these crazy notices. Is it please slow down, there is a duck crossing? Or there is a very slow duck crossing? In fact there is something obliterated after duck: if it was the plural, then I think there must be a few ex ducks. Or perhaps it was ducklings.

Strava told us that we had walked 9,5 miles, a considerable achievement on a hot day I feel. On the drive home, I noticed a great deal of debris on the roads: leaves, twigs and in some cases quite large branches. On a narrow road, on the opposite side, a lady had got out of her car to wrestle with a large branch which was obscuring her windscreen. I was going to stop but then saw that immediately behind me was an AA van, so I thought, well he’ll stop and do something useful, more easily than I can. Vain hope. The fourth emergency? You must be joking.

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