Bracknell

The dinner last night was a bit of a damp squib. It promised a lot but fell short on the delivery. There were two Malaysian dishes on the menu. A laksa soup dish and a rendang curry. I wanted to ask if the chef was Malaysian but refrained. He/she is either Malaysian or someone who has been to Malaysia in their travels, I decide. I do not like Malaysian food but wondered whether I should give it a try. After some deliberation and discussion with the waitress I opted for the laksa noodles and as expected it was a failure. I think probably this was how it was meant to taste. Creamy coconut, sugar and spices mixed with seafood and chicken. A rich calorific dish which was not to my taste. I enjoy food from around the world but not food from my country of birth. I am making up for it at breakfast. A full English, porridge and fruits. A whole day’s meal in one go. 

After breakfast and checkout we walk to the nearby Pope’s meadow and take the rambler’s route. My head is still not quite right. I feel like I’m paddling in the murky waters of my own tiny swimming pool searching for clarity. It is only a minor version of a migraine headache but will only leave me when it is ready to go. It doesn’t take us long to circle the meadow. Not far from here are a group of villages which feature in a TV crime drama series called ‘The Midsomer murders’. Quaint picture perfect cottages with the most beautifully tended gardens giving the impression that the residents live the most idyllic life you can imagine and yet like an Agatha Christie murder mystery they keep dropping like flies. It is up to Inspector Barnaby to solve the puzzles and find the culprits. We decide to follow the trail of murders and visit the villages. First stop is the historic market town of Marlow which forms the heart of Midsomer. The entrance to the town is over a couple of centuries old suspension bridge. Combined with the looming spire of the parish church next to it, the two form an unforgettable striking welcoming image. Next we park the car near Hambleden lock and walk towards it. At the Lock we cross the river over a metal weir. A couple of men strapped down in their dinghies are trying to paddle against the strong currents created by the weir as it diverts the flow of water. They seem to be enjoying their quest as they try to keep upright but the current is too strong for them and they can only manage a few minutes each time. 

The walk along the weir takes us to a spectacular riverside walk. The path beside the River Thames runs in either direction for miles. We don’t have enough time to walk the whole route but opt to walk along the Henley path. It is a cold day but we are adequately covered. The breeze is cool and refreshing. On our side of the river the field extends as far as the eye can see sloping up into gentle hills lined with all manner of trees and bushes. On the opposite side a few houses can be seen interspersed with fields. The autumn colours are starting to appear and the shades varying from copper to crimson break the monotony of the vast greenery. A couple of youngsters and some elderly men are practicing their rowing skills. The older men are taking their time but the young ones are trying to improve their techniques and timings. The quietness is broken by the soft humming of a distant Boeing. I realise that my head has gone quiet and I am basking in a sense of calmness. The voices this morning, mainly ideas and topics crowding my thinking have gone. The clarity is returning. I am at one with nature and there is no better feeling. 

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