Monday, 12 December 2005


Much mischief was had on Saturday as Rob demonstrated the pleasures and conveniences of living in a city. I was a bit suspicious of going out for a walk with Rob, once when we were flat mates he persuaded me to go to the post office with him to post a letter. For some reason we took a detour to a micro brewery on the way and when we returned some seven hours later we had forgotten to post the letter.

We walked to Barnes and found a pub.
Went to a market, bought a pheasant to cook over the fire on Sunday and then went to a pub.
Walked back to Hammersmith stopping at a pub along the way
Then we found a traditional French market serving local produce? Next door there was a pub.
We went to the Riverside studios to check out the view from the terrace, the terrace was shut due to the filming of CDUK. We saw some pop stars (possibly McFly), lots of teenagers and a very fat bouncer. Fortunately the bar was open.
Mac Donald and Weee man came out, later on so did the squirrel dance.
Ate mince pies and sang Christmas songs.

I bailed out at about 8 in the evening to head back to the woods, there were suggestions that I was not well enough to go back and should stay another night, but I was missing home and was getting the distinct impression that if I stayed much longer I would go soft.

I spent most of Sunday night engaged in my new hobby; coughing. I don't know if you have a hobby but if not I can thoroughly recommend coughing, why it's so much fun that I didn't even sleep that night!

Sunday day time I woke to the usual damp, muddy miserable world that is my life and determined to put in greater effort into finding a more comfortable place to live. I have scouted around a few times but found no where suitable. Sunday was my lucky day, I found the perfect spot! It is absolutely brilliant - full description to follow sometime when I have more time but suffice to say for now that it is just right. Combine this with the fact that I finally buckled (after a mere sic months), went to Cotswold Camping and bought a Rucksack that is suitable for my needs and suddenly Sunday afternoon I felt like a king.

The feeling of well-being was emphasised when I managed to light a fire using the firesteel I got for my birthday! I was very happy as this was proper outdoor skills time, lighting a fire without matches or a lighter - UG Factor 15! For those of you interested I used a combination of Mayan dust, cotton wool and paper thin slivers of wood. The paper thin slivers of wood I remember collecting from a rotten branch and making a note to myself to remember where it was so I could go back and get more once I had run out. I have no idea where that was. Once the fire was burning nicely and I had had a cup of tea I decided to cook the Pheasant, the only difficulty I had with this was the fact that it was back in London in Rob's fridge. I had a Wayfarer boil in the bag Chicken Casserole instead and sat by the fire feeling hugely content (and coughing). I realised as I sat there watching the moon rise that my perception of the woods has changed and along with it so has my understanding of man's relationship with the natural world. I went to bed and thought quite profound thoughts, well they seemed profound to me.

One of the advantages of my new home is the fact that it is flat! Well pretty flat and so I did not roll off the Thermarest self inflating mattress (punctured) last night! I have to say those things are amazing, much more comfortable than the floor! Just right for lying about contemplating big issues, sadly such thoughts were interrupted by a desire to spend the entire night; coughing, feeling hugely off colour and rolling about questioning the wisdom of life in the woods. I eventually got off to sleep at about five in the morning and ended up sleeping till about mid-day on Monday. This is something work might well take a dim view on so I thought it best to come into Oxford to see my Doctor.

Here I am killing time as I wait for my appointment, I might not be in the best of health but I would rather be sitting on the side of a hill watching the Red Kite and listening to the radio than stuck in an internet cafe.


Penny Munn said...

Thank you for an extremely funny account of your weekend DM.I do hope you recover from the flu soon.
Can I pose a riddle while I'm here?
Why is it that in Europe, cooking (and heating) with wood is seen as a solution to environmental problems (carbon neutral according to all the info), whereas in India and Africa it's seen as a health and environmental problem (contributing to pollution and global warming through soot emissions)? I noticed over the weekend that scientists are busily working on solutions to indigenous folks' habit of using wood as fuel instead of coal or oil. I'm a bit mystified and would like to understand.

Sarah Mackenzie said...

Yes. It's true. Here in France if I buy a wood-burning stove I get a tax discount.

Love thermorest. Love boil-in-the-bag anything. Love mince pies. Love Christmas songs.

I spent about 6 months of my life coughing much to the chagrin of everybody around me (who seemed to believe that I was doing it to annoy them) and then discovered that I has asthma. Promptly cured by moving away from London.

Glad you at least know why you are coughing and hopefully Bron Chitis will tire of you and move on.

Have fun on your last hoo ha before Christmas.