The First Peace In Nature Walk

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Greetings Earthlings,

You are cordially invited to join us on the very first Peace In Nature Walk, entitled "AROMA THERAPY", to be held on Saturday afternoon 29th May 2004 at around 4pm.

It will be a circular walk lasting around 2.22 hours, of mostly flat easy terrain around Great Offley, with only one hill (down/up). The route begins and ends at Court Cottage and is all on public footpaths/bridleways once we leave the village. Wear long trousers to avoid nettles; walking boots are preferable for comfort, but unless it has been raining lots, the ground should be dry. If it is raining, we can consider postponing to another day. The weather forecast is now looking better than it did; let's hope it stays fair.

[ Field beans (Vicia fabia) ]The primary reason for this first Walk is to celebrate the field of amazing aromatic plants which the path bisects, which I have subsequently discovered (thanks Tina & Steve!) are field beans (Vicia faba or horse beans). This heavenly crop stands about 0.5m-1m high with largish leaves and exquisite white/purple flowers (I photographed it). Quite intoxicating, the perfume is sweeter than a rosegarden, purer than nectar, absolutely divine; I want a garden of it! Botanists are most welcome on this Away Team to discuss logistics of home growing. I first encountered this plant while driving along the A505 from Hitchin when I first moved to Offley in early June 2002, and have subsequently also found it (by aroma) to the east of the road which runs parallel with the A1(M) from South Mimms to Welham Green (at the right turn to the Royal Veterinary College), and also in the large field west of the A1(M) junction beside Tesco in Hatfield - just open the car windows and breathe deeply! Note that the flowers peak for only a couple of weeks, hence the short notice of this message (sorry). If you can't make this day, arrange another time that is convenient, just to catch this sublime scent close-up. As this plant is only usually sown once every six years in crop rotation, it is difficult to predict where it will spring up next year, unless you know a farmer. (Great! I just found another field in the village on the route of the second Walk :-) On the other hand, the bluebells which filled the woods so magically are receding now, but are sure to return next year...

Entities you may likely encounter:

Children and dogs* are welcome and encouraged, so long as they can go the distance and survive without too much whining and dining.

Completing this journey will add the following points: (where n=number of participants)

These points may be used in future drumming and life events.

Successful applicants will be fed at The Smith's table.

* NOTE: Dogs are most welcome on the Walk, but alas cannot enter Court Cottage by order of The Landlord :-(

If you couldn't make this occasion, but are still interested, there will be many future outings, taking in other beautiful places off the beaten track which I've found during my travels around Herts, Beds and Bucks.

A Jolly Jaunt

Jane, Roberto, Helen, Joe, Jess and Tina braved the cloudy, uncertain weather, which luckily held out except for a couple of brief but pleasant showers, and the sun came out at the end. We even saw a buzzard drifting about on the thermals, which was a first for me. Good chat and good food rounded off the journey, and points have been awarded. Tina receives an extra +4 Ancient Wisdom for her superb botanical knowledge pointing out many plants en route, and Jane gets +3 Creative Potential for her fabulous raw salad of Avocado & Mushrooms with lime juice. Ruth was awarded +4 Spiritual Intensity for "being with us in spirit" since she was too exhausted to join us after her morning samba parade. See you next time!

[ Peace Walkers in the field of beans | Peace Walkers in the field of beans | Peace Walkers on the long path | Peace Walkers on the long path back to the village ]

Supplemental: "PURPLE HAYS"

We can't get out there enough! The next day, after drumming, Jane, Roberto, Helen, Joe, Jess, Tina and I persuaded Ian and Melissa who missed the Walk to come out again and enjoy the fine evening. So off we went to see the rhodedendrons in Ponsbourne Woods, a purple paradise not far from Michael's Folly. We set off southwest through the meadows, over Tyler's Causeway, around the golf course to Newgate Street village, down through the wonderland valley of Ponsbourne Park (where Joe photographed us with some friendly horses and Jess got electrocuted on the fence!), finally coming back through picturesquely purple Ponsbourne Woods, through a boggy wasteland and fields (where we even managed a fine rendition of our Senegalese folksong) to Epping Green Stables and then home.

[ Peace Walk 1.5 heading for the purple woods | Peace Walkers outside country hyse | Horses kissing | Jess with Horse, just before electrocution | Peace Walkers amid the rhodedendrons ]

For these spontaneous endeavours, these Wanderers receive an extra points as follows: (where n=9 of us this time)

Joe gets an extra creative point for his photography, and Jess gets a point of courage for surviving her electrocution :-)

© copyright Malcolm Smith 2004-05-18 - last updated 2004-09-28 - links verified 2004-07-31