A week of late nights and motorway madness – 14 miles around Watton-at-Stone – perfect

A combination of Christmas and Birthdays wearing me down the big sun and blue skies forced me to throw off the duvet, give Duncan a buzz, get that train ticket (train….that’s a first…..ah out in London later I assume…) and head off for Watton-at-Stone Hertfordshire, land of Barratt Homes and would be aristos, pheasant anyone?

No I am not a Herdy, this is Hertfordshire not Cumbria, twit...

At last the 09.26 from Kings Cross to Watton-at-Stone, a name fraught with danger for the less gifted (me): Wooton-on-Sutton, Wooton-at-Summer, Walton-at-Sheen….. thank god for iPhones….”hello, hello, any idea where are we going today….”, ah ticket purchased, disaster averted, Annie happy.

WAIT!!! Good grief you lot get a trot on.....really

Walking, walking, all drifting pleasantly into our personal zones, gorgeous …….aaaaaaaaah….. Duncan, WAIT,  a screech so loud, so piercing that the the whole team, crashing out of their reverie, dug heels in tout-de-suite (posh speak as we are in Herts dahling)….funny to watch….harsh to hear, you had to be there…..

Ade, determined to get the early train home, set off at a pace that would make Seb Coe proud, ….Annie was having none of it though, another first, taking snaps with a fellow traveller she got left behind, unbelievable.

Annie's snap, was it worth it? No.

Phone out, calls made, Nicola, Nicola….are you there….Ade, Ade, Ade…..please answer…., ummm not impressed.  Guessing the route we set off at a jog, no less than half an hour later the team hove into view….not even a backward glance.  Nice, thanks chums, not sharing my apples with you ever again.

WAIT......did not seem to work for Annie

Field-after-field, village-after-village, gun-toting-tweedy after gun-toting-tweedy…..what!  It turns out that our walk took us through the land of the hired gun.  Thousands of pheasants flying high in the sky, dropped like stones at our feet, their corpses hung like coats on tractors that flew past, parping as only the very arrogant can.  “Hear, hear, hear”, “mind out-of-the-way dear”, “good grief we have ducks to shoot”, “hrummph hrumph”, were these the rudest people we had ever met?  Yes I can confirm they were, letters would be written to Woodhall Estate, I am not one to shoot but respect others right to do so if they wish, the foul manners of staff and guests was truly shocking.

Downton Abbey's Lady Mary would not have stood for the rudeness and nor will Annie

This is cracking countryside, though I expect the shades and tones of our winter sun made it more beautiful than it really is, a summer walk might be a bit bland.  Next time I walk in Herts I will take my own tweedy jacket with kill pockets, then I can be rude to walkers too….today’s puffa was not quite the ticket…or was it?

Crispy duck anyone?

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