Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Weekend Adventuring

I mentioned in my post on Sunday that I've been spending a lot of weekends outside of London - partly to relax, partly for some fresh air, and partly to escape my flat. It has been lovely and I've realised that perhaps I don't need to rely on London as much as I do. There is life outside of the city!

Last weekend I was in Essex staying with Mike. We didn't really have any plans for the weekend, but felt like doing a bit of exploring around the local countryside. Contrary to the 'Essex' portrayed on television, proper Essex is beautiful. Lots of endlessly rolling fields, villages tucked into the countryside, quaint pubs, and some really stunning architecture (including a windmill or two). On Saturday, after a quick trip to Pets at Home, we set off in the direction of a village called Finchingfield.

We went there with only one goal in mind: to get a cream tea. This goal was achieved pretty much on arrival, much to my stomach's delight, so we then began to amble around the village, stopping to take the occasional picture, and hoping to burn off at least a portion of the giant scones we'd eaten.

Finchingfield is, for want of a better word, picturesque. It's got the tea room, the cosy pub, the war memorial in the middle of the green, the windmill, and the higgledy piggedly houses. There were ducks and geese lounging on the grass and plenty of people out for an afternoon stroll with their pooch - just what you'd expect from village life.

We were following the path to the windmill, stopping to admire a westie out on his walk, when my WW1 senses started to tingle. Unbeknownst to us, we'd ventured to Finchingfield on the exact weekend that they were hosting a WW1 memorial day in the village hall. I adore serendipitous moments like that.

Having found our way to the Guildhall we were met by an assortment of characters - an injured soldier, a Red Cross nurse, an army chaplain - all in character and all there to talk about their role in the war. Now, I'm sure you can imagine how excited I was by this. I was even more excited when it became clear that they were happy for me to talk with them for near enough twenty minutes each!

I love days like this, when you go out with no intention of doing anything particularly special and stumble upon something amazing. It happens relatively often in London, but I'd never thought it was possible in a sleepy village in the depths of Essex - I must stop making assumptions.

Have you ever stumbled upon something wonderful? Any recommendations for places to explore around London/UK?

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