Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Annual Picnic, Wittenham Clumps, 9th August 2014

This was the day of the annual Green Gym picnic. Originally held to celebrate the shared birthday of Ursula and Eleanor, it has now become an annual event.

This year we decided to go to Wittenham Clumps where we had been three years previously. We met in the car park and, having eventually all found the same car park, we set off for the Earth Trust Arboretum.

Despite predictions of showers earlier in the week, the day turned out fine though breezy. We had a very pleasant walk around the arboretum, where the groups of different trees were all labelled. We then retraced our steps but this time, climbed to the top of the hill, where we had an excellent view of the surrounding countryside including the Thames, the lakes at Dorchester and the three remaining cooling towers at Didcot power station. There is a useful marker here showing what can be seen at all points of the compass, and the information that here was the boundary between the ancient kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia.

We descended the hill back to the car park, where we began the serious business of unloading and setting up the picnic. Fortunately the one picnic table was free and with the help of the folding chairs we had brought, everyone could be seated. Barry had also brought a folding table where we could place the drinks and cakes.

Everyone had contributed something and we settled down to a feast of cold chicken and sausages, salads, rolls and focaccia baked by Robert, crisps and cheeses followed by cake and fruit, not forgetting the wine and fruit juice. The only thing we had to be careful to do was to keep hold of plates, napkins and plastic cups, which the frisky breeze threatened to blow away.

We ate and drank with gusto, accompanied by the occasional raucous bovine bellow from behind a thick hedge and the envious glances of the walkers and climbers setting off from the car park. Having rounded off our feast with coffee or tea, it was time to pack up and set off home. Here's to next year's picnic.

The remaining three cooling towers of Didcot Power Station viewed from the top of the hill

The picnic commences

Enjoying the feast!

At the Arboretum

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