Metropolis, city, country

I’ve been overwhelmed with work, and illness, lately, so little time to write and reflect, but here are a few highlights from the last week…

1. A hugely and unexpectedly stimulating and excellent guided walk across the city of London with my friend A. We were led past Mansion House – and treated to a coincidental view of the decrepit Lord Mayor of London and his consort stepping out of their immaculate Rolls Royce Phantom (registration LM 0), followed by various nonagenarian friends hobbling out of taxis in their finest livery; and on through winding lanes of the city, punctuated with a great deal of history that, despite considering myself fairly well up on London history, knew nothing of. Also visited another old city wine bar (claiming to date from 1663, but this may be spurious – certainly early 18th century anyway) which I had no clue about – and a lot more authentic than the Jamaica Wine House.

2. A very enjoyable walk around the various buttercup meadows of Oxford with H., although feeling ill and therefore not at my best. Saw the ruins of Godstow nunnery, and failed again to determine the exact site of the ancient mound on Port Meadow.

3. A cycle from Salisbury to Coombe Bissett and back, plus a walk and pub lunch around that area with G. & S. Very good short walk: a quiet country lane, a stretch of Roman road (albeit not entirely clear at this stretch) and a riverside path (the River Ebble, yet another tributary of Salisbury’s Avon) forming three sides of a triangle.

This Roman road is part of the one running from Old Sarum to Badbury Rings, near Wimborne Minster: known in mediaeval times as Ackling Dyke, the stretches south of where we were are apparently some of the best preserved in the country: the raised agger strikes clearly across the fields south of Sixpenny Handley. I’m hugely keen to walk this stretch soon, as I’ve yet to visit such a clear Roman road across fields, and this one has the added advantage of an enormous prehistoric cursus running near it. Hopefully a visit soon.