Monthly Archives: September 2012

waltham abbey lock

graham by the lock

Graham and I cycle up to Waltham Abbey and lunch at the Olympic white water rafting centre. En route we pass the Waltham Abbey town lock.

Now that the Olympics are over the centre is open to the public. It cots £50 a head to experience the white water rafting and, as we saw, the event is popular with stag parties.


Pole Hill

Cycled through the early autumnal forest to Pole Hill. This is where T E Lawrence had a hut which, years ago, I tried to trace with Paul Bourdais.We only found the concrete base but later I discovered the hut in the Warren where the Epping Forest Keepers and Conservators are based.

Paul Bourdais

Beautiful scenery and weather. The leaves are just starting to turn orange and yellow and beginning to fall but it is still summery with clear, blue skies. Saw the city skyline from Pole Hill. A great bike route, with lots of possibilities for diversions and not arduous or far. Must do again.


the view of the city approaching the top of Pole Hill

the Shard in the distance

an obelisk set up to commemorate my bike journey

the autumn sun – on the way down from Pole Hill




lostwalks locks


I cycled past these locks some years ago when I biked from Stanstead Abbotts to Ware. This time, though, I passed them in more romantic fashion steering Melvyn’s narrow boat, Artanis. See Lostwalks for more detail.

across to Banbury

I go for a bike ride in the afternoon and set off, again, from the Gunpowder Park. This time I cycle south along the river Lea towards London and eventually reach the North Circular Road by Banbury reservoir before returning. The towpath follows alongside the King George V and the William Girling reservoirs.

It’s interesting when you no longer follow the conventional routes – by car and tube – how areas link up and make connections that you hadn’t realised. It wasn’t until I got back home and looked at the map that I was aware how close I was to IKEA at Banbury reservoir.

Cycling along that river Lea meant moving through an industrial landscape that include “solid waste incinerators.” But it wasn’t ugly and I began to understand what the Impressionists were doing and how they saw beauty in the mundane and prosaic. And, after all, the sun shines on both castles and factories.

ponders end lock

picketts lock

birds at picketts lock


enfield lock

The Atlantic winds were tough though and I hadn’t realised how hard it can be to cycle into the wind.

My route:

diabetes management review

After 8 months, and some of it a very hard slog, I feel that I am comfortable and managing my diabetes. I rarely get “hyper” and my vision is more or less OK and wee-ing is not always so frequent.
The process of management is a bit like steering a supertanker in the ocean: you say turn left and two days later it does. But, I begin to understand this now.
I still don’t know why I get readings in the low 7’s regularly in the mornings. But they nearly always become 6’s and 5’s for the rest of the day.
Also I don’t know why I seem so sensitive to sugar.I keep away from it but when I rarely try a small piece of cake, when maybe Danae or Louisa have made one, I do get an adverse reaction – usually a hyperglaecemic bout. But Phil and Gerry, for instance, both appear free to eat and drink without comeback. They are on medication and also claim never to have had any serious symptoms other a bit of tiredness and weeing a lot.
Perhaps I am “insulin resistant” and should check this out sometime.

Gunpowder plots

It has been one of those quintessentially English summer days: hot, blue cloudless skies, no wind and time going by slowly and quietly. Absolutely heaven. I take the bike to the Gunpowder Mills Country Park, which I think is separate from the main Gunpowder Mills, and cycle around them down to the Lea Valley canal, through Enfield Village and up to Waltham Abbey. And then back via the “pits” in the Country Park.

looking south from the bottom of Enfield Island Village

Enfield Lock on Enfield Island Village

Ramney Marsh Lock – below Waltham Abbey

This means I have now biked the Lea Valley towpath from Ware to Enfield.

the pits

The cycling and the area were a revelation. The day was long and beautiful and the scenery amazing. A wonderful, quiet day of English summer. One of the best this year.

Five go Mad in Norfolk

I didn’t realise it until Danae pointed out that we were fulfilling one of her lifetime ambitions: that the family would be doing some activity on holiday all together. But we were. All five of us cycling down the roads of Norfolk and along the towpaths of the Broads.

This was our route:

And this was us!