As a prize for working very hard and not fighting during Felix’s moving into my house we went out for a walk around Wittenham Clumps in Oxfordshire.
Earlier in the year I bought Felix a book called “A Brit Different” (I cannot resist bad wordplay) which is a fun book about all the daft things us Brits get up to outdoors in the name of fun. It turns out that the World Pooh Sticks competition is held on the Thames, just beneath Wittenham Clumps in March every year. Felix and I decided to get some early practice in – you know, spotting the fastest flowing water, working out the optimum stick dimensions, all the usual things to give us an edge in the upcoming contest.
FOR THE AVOIDANCE OF DOUBT: I should make it clear that Pooh Sticks is not an Olympic event and to the best of my knowledge will not be featuring in the London 2012 Games …well not officially, but you might spot a group of walkers gleefully leaping from side to side over the edge of a bridge on the Itchen near Winchester
The hills provide a wonderful vantage point across the Oxfordshire countryside. They have featured in my walks along the Thames Path with my friends from Lambeth Council, and also on Felix’s A4074 walks. Radiohead recorded their video Faust Arp up here:
…and an earlier artist (Joseph Tubb) carved a poem into a tree, recounting the local history:
The colours are amazing at this time of year with reds, orange, yellow, greens, blues – most of the rainbow, and the low sun creates dramatic shadows, through which you can glimpse all the little creatures frenetically gathering food to see them through the winter.
Most of the animals moved too fast for my photographic reflexes but there was one woodland creature that seemed to be trying out different shelters that you may recognise…