Saturday, January 15, 2005


My wife's a member of the Rambler's Association but frankly we haven't really been out on one of these mad dashes across the countryside as yet. Not as a family + them (those ramblers in their latest outdoor weather gear ready to benefit from any landowner's right of way). They send her this 'literature' all the time, monthly newsletter and stuff (she gets reductions at Millets and that sorta thing).

So, my grand idea for a day out today was to find our way by public transport to Glastonbury from Oxford. Erm, I don't think so. Getting to Castle Cary is relatively easy (takes two hours through Reading) then you hit the big problem. Castle Cary - Glastonbury. I mean wha? how? there's NO PUBLIC TRANSPORT between these 10-mile distant towns. Yep, we could very easily take a taxi - but that's not public transport in my eye.

So, instead we followed a less likely Rambling course through, wait for it, Central London. It was a great 6 mile walk. We took the X90 coach from Oxford to Bakert Street in London. There we took a Tube replacement because the Jubilee line was closed for some reason to Swiss Cottage (yes, there is actually a quaint and rather stunning Swiss Cottage there at a prominent fork in the road).

We wandered down over the Primrose Hill with its glorious vista. Down past the London Zoo then onto the canal (where we met my wife's ex-headmaster at the school where she works. A nice man called Phil - I'd never met him before. It's a small world.) We took the canal all through town to Piccadilly Train Station. Up London Street. And there it was.

The Beefeater Restaurant where (it seemed like so many years ago already) I was lucky enough to witness that great American writer 'polycarp kusch' in full flow - asking this dumb-faced waitress to not put "too many onions" in his dry Martini. I'd never heard of THAT expression before. And evidently, neither had she. It took us like fifteen minutes to order our drinks and she ended up giving polycarp a free shot of vodka when he demanded Stoly (a brand neither of us had heard of). He then went on to challenge the taxis in the middle of the road right outside the Beefeaterie. Fabulous fun, a great drinker for such a skinny man and a great writer to boot.

We ended up down at Marble arch having wandered into Hyde Park on the eastern side and doing a circuit of the serpent. Knackered now and looking forward to my chips and cheese.

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