We really enjoyed visiting friends and family, but after a week spent mainly driving or sitting and chatting, we felt the need to stretch our legs. The weather on Friday 11th August was bright and sunny, so we had an early lunch and set off on a walk, which gradually morphed into our Friday night ‘pub crawl’.
We walked up through Keep Hill Wood, took the footbridge over the M40, and explored footpaths and country lanes that were new to us. In Little Marlow we found the King’s Head – a pub with a large garden, where we remembered having a drink on our silver wedding anniversary – but it had since closed. But just around the corner we found the Queen’s Head, and slaked our thirst there. We walked down to the river – by this time sadly the sun had disappeared – and along to Marlow, where we had a cup of tea/coffee in a café and something stronger in a pub we’d seen many times but never visited. Then up to the Harvester (on the southern edge of Wycombe) where we had dinner and took the bus home.
Since there was nothing interesting on at the cinema, we did another, shorter pub walk on Saturday. The following Tuesday we went to the Marlow Folk Dance Club’s annual dinner – good food and good company. And then it was time for another visit from our grandsons.
The boys are back!
Charlie and Oscar arrived on Wednesday morning. They were to stay with us until Monday evening, but the weather forecast for the next few days was not good (just for a change – when will we ever get anything that could be called summer here?). Still, we found plenty to do. We went bowling, swimming and to the children’s cinema, where we saw Diary of a wimpy kid – quite entertaining. When it was at least fine, the boys played on the green outside, with some friends they have made here. When it was raining, we played games indoors – chess, scrabble and other board games – and made a start on a 500-piece jigsaw, though we did not get very far.
According to the forecast, Saturday was to be the best day during the boys’ stay. We thought a boat trip might be a nice change, so we took the bus to Maidenhead and then a boat to Windsor. We know this stretch of the river well, but we had a different perspective from the water, and going through two locks was an interesting experience. We landed in Windsor at 12.35, and walked along the river bank to a picnic area, where we ate our lunch. Unfortunately, the weather did not live up to expectations – it stayed fine, but the sun often disappeared and there was a cold wind blowing much of the time.
We briefly explored Windsor and Eton, and then caught the boat going back. This time we sat inside, so at least we were warm. BUT there was a long queue to go through Boveney Lock, so we landed in Maidenhead almost an hour late, and had missed the last bus back to Wycombe. Thank heavens for taxis!
We’d tentatively scheduled an outing for Monday, since the weather was supposed to be reasonably decent then. But on Sunday morning it looked unexpectedly bright and sunny, so we decided we’d better go then instead. We took the bus to West Wycombe – not far at all, but we don’t often go there. First stop was the Hellfire Caves, which we’d visited once before, many years ago. Our vague memory was that they were not very exciting, but we thought the boys might be interested. The caves were dug out in the 18th century, when chalk was needed to build a road between West Wycombe and High Wycombe. They were later used by members of the Hellfire Club, hence the name. You walk down a passage looking in individual small caves where there are model figures illustrating the caves’ past history, and stories of ghosts. We were not terribly impressed, but the boys enjoyed it.
Emerging from the caves, we walked up the hill above them. We ate our lunch by the mausoleum and the boys had fun rolling down the hill. We then went round to St Lawrence’s Church, and climbed the tower. You can no longer go up into the Golden Ball on top, but you do get to see it close up, and get great views over the surrounding countryside.
Next we went to West Wycombe Park, which strangely we’d never visited before, despite having lived in the area for many years. We explored the grounds, walking around the lake and detouring to see the various small temples scattered around. Towards the end of our walk, we came to the house; we did not go in, but discovered there were lots of people sitting on the grass listening to a brass band. We joined them – Sandie and Ian sitting on the grass, Charlie and Oscar perched in a tree behind us – and enjoyed the music until it was time to go and catch the bus home.