Ollie (Lakshmi) and Epping Forest

Little Ollie has been very good so far. She came into this world at a perfect time for us. A week before and we would have missed it as we were in NYC. A week later and her dad would have missed it. He had to go to Sweden for a poster presentation. The plan was to come back urgently if Kavitha went into labour. He would have missed it as the labour was so quick. Now the 28 day naming ceremony also falls on the May bank holiday Monday. So everyone can make it.

Ollie and her parents stayed with us after coming out of hospital for a couple of days before deciding to go back to their place. We go and visit when we can. They live in Epping about 8 miles from here and the journey takes us roughly 20 minutes depending on the traffic. The drive is through a lovely countryside.

Epping forest and Hainault forest (near us) are partly what is left of the Forest of Essex, which was an ancient woodland. Epping forest now consists of 6118 acres of woodland, grassland, heath, rivers, bogs and ponds and extends about 12 miles between Forest Gate and Epping. Despite living in Chigwell for over 2 decades we have never been to Epping forest. We’ve been to Hainault forest a few times. There are over 100 lakes and ponds in the forest which are all accessible. When Ollie is old enough, we will be retired and we can take her there to play with the ducks and geese.

The forest also has a dark side. Numerous murders including the infamous ‘babes in the wood’ murder were commited here and it was and is a popular place to dump bodies. Dick Turpin used it as a hideout place when the law finally caught up with him. Born in the 1700s Turpin is said to have opened a butcher’s shop in Buckhurst Hill. He joined a gang of thieves and when the members of his gang were arrested he became a highwayman. He is probably the most most famous highway man whose exploits ended up being a runaway bestseller. A TV crew hoping to discover the spirit of Dick Turpin ended up getting lost in the forest live on air.

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