We have not done so much walking over the past two weeks – partly because Ian has had work to do and partly because the weather has been less than inspiring. We’ve only managed one long walk, but we have done a few evening excursions. Although we have lived in Wycombe (on and off) for over seven years, we are still discovering new footpaths, bus routes and pubs. We have been surprised to find how quickly you can walk to surrounding villages, once you know the right way to go!
A circuit from Berkhamsted
Many years ago, we bought a book called Discovering Walks in the Chilterns: directions for ten walks of 8-12 miles. We had done nine of the ten, some more than once, but there was just one we had never tackled, so we had to put that right! Last Tuesday we took the bus to Chesham, and another bus to Berkhamsted, where the walk began. After a coffee and our usual quick tour of charity shops, we set off on our 11.5 mile walk.
Fortunately, we picked the best day that week in terms of weather: fine all day, and more sun than cloud. The walk was enjoyable, with varied scenery. Two miles out, we came to a country pub and had a drink in their garden. Later we passed through small villages which had no pub but did have a church (we ate our lunch sitting on a bench in a churchyard). We also passed a Buddhist monastery – not something you expect to see in Buckinghamshire!
In the afternoon we reached the Bridgewater Monument, which we were not able to climb as it is now open only at weekends. There was an adjacent tea shop, however, where we were able to get refreshments before continuing our walk. The final stretch was along the Grand Union Canal, back to Berkhamsted where we met Claire and the boys, who had come to take us home.
A family reunion
Last weekend the whole Schagen clan had a get-together, something that happens rarely. On Saturday Paul and Alexa came down from Manchester, for the first time since last October. Maggi also came over from Bussage, and six of us had a very pleasant evening: dinner at Chutney (our favourite Indian restaurant), drinks at a pub which specialises in craft beers, and games at Claire’s house until the early hours.
Andrew and Ellie were not able to join us that day, as Isobel was having her birthday party back in Faversham. However, they drove over on the Sunday, so there were 12 of us for lunch, including the four children. Too many for Claire’s house, or our flat! We’d decided that if the weather was good we would go to the Gate, a country pub popular with our family because of its garden and an excellent playground. The weather obliged, so we set off in three cars. But when we got to the Gate, there was a sign saying they could not do any more lunches (except those pre-booked) until 3pm.
We tried another pub nearby, but they could not cater for our large group. On a surprisingly warm Sunday, everyone had decided to eat outdoors! We did at least have a drink in their garden, and then returned to Wycombe, to a pub in the Wetherspoons (cheap and cheerful) chain. No garden there, but by putting three tables together there was space for 12, and we did get some good food!
The moving saga continues
Wednesday 22nd July was the last day of term at Marsh, Charlie’s school in Wycombe. There was a picnic in the school grounds as the headteacher was leaving. Charlie was also leaving, and was given lots of farewell hugs, and a big card from his class. But… he may be back.
Claire’s move was due to take place in June – three times a date was fixed, but then there was another complication, causing a delay. On 8th July we were given good news: a necessary document had arrived, we would soon be able to exchange contracts, and move during the week beginning 21st July. This would have suited us well, but it did not happen. The document proved to be insufficient and now everyone in the chain is waiting for a revised document to come from the Land Registry. Last Thursday Sandie went with Claire to Bussage, to try to get more details and to look at alternative houses in case our current deal collapses. It transpired that one of these was next door to the one we are buying!
Our vendors are on holiday for two weeks in August. Our best hope now is to be able to exchange contracts before they go, and for Claire to move soon after they get back – just in time for the start of term at Charlie’s new school. But there are no guarantees. The alternative is to back out of our planned purchase, and make an offer for another house. But if we did that, Charlie would certainly not be able to start at the new school in September. So he may be back at Marsh – but we hope not.