A hot, heavy day with occasional downpours. Walking between vast reservoirs, deafened by planes taking off from Heathrow, crossing and recrossing the M25. Aroma of camomile rising from soaking fields. The secret life of the motorway margin: pollution control reed beds, teeming wildlife, men in vans belonging to utility fleets lurking in fly-tipped spaces at the ends of lanes.
As has often been the case on this walk, many forms of transport seemed to be braided together – rivers and roads meeting at Mad Bridge beneath the flightpaths while horses look on impassively.
I skirted Staines Common, where commoners once had rights of pannage, and entered the town. Finished up in the George where I scanned the results of the days photographic pannage, over a pint of Loddon Summer Snowflake.
Another few miles done, setting a direction away from London. So no nostalgia-trip to the Edwardian Hotel, no exploration of General Roy’s experimental map fields, no pilgrimage to the Twickenham house of author Oliver Strange (creator of the western series Sudden, which was hugely popular last century, and still has avid fans in India) . Sad, really. But I did explore a stretch of M25, and found a secret rune that might explain everything – the Cream of the Jest perhaps.