|on the way up, towards Missenden|
Amidst the visible mirth of my mother, I ventured to Wendover to climb Coombe Hill, the highest point in the Chiltern Hills. The Chiltern Society provided marvelous directions which didn't help me at all, and after turning left at the third stile, walking down the lane for 80 metres before following the footpath across the field diagonally and reaching the top of the hill in the woods where I was meant to take the well paved bridlepath, I got thoroughly lost, with only the dog for company in the middle of the most beautiful beech and oak woods. A man with a dog worried me enough that I dug up a large flint and put it in my pocket for self defense (do not forget, dear reader, that I'm an LA girl), but I soldiered on, wishing I were in Hansel and Gretel and could follow a breadcrumb trail. Thank goodness for the compass on my iPhone. The dog was in great spirits and we'd almost forgotten we were lost when we came across a clearing in the trees and the great expanse of downland, full of sheep-bitten grass and gorse, and chalky plains was ahead of us, and the whole world of seven counties was laid out before us. I didn't actually see the Uffington White Horse, but I made sure to tell a woman at the memorial (where they let off a 21-gun-salute for the recent Royal wedding) that you could indeed see it from there. She asked whether it was the same as the Whipsnade chalk lion. No, I said, thinking she'd rather missed the point. It was a Housman moment, only we weren't in the Malvern Hills but the windswept, storm-tossed, slightly blue Chilterns.
|the boer war memorial|
|the sign that told me i wasn't, in fact, lost in the woods|
|oh and did i mention chequers?|
|the view, under storm clouds|