The Ridgeway is one of our more accessible long distance paths, a neolithic flint trading route that snakes its way along the crest of the Chiltern escarpment from Buckinghamshire, crosses the Thames and then follows the Berkshire Downs all the way to Wiltshire. You can see for miles on a clear day like today from up there, it's a spectacular sight!
Or so I'm told. I wouldn't know, I wasn't there today.
Today we'd planned to take the train to Goring, walk up the Ridgeway for a few miles, then drop down off the hill to Cholsey, from where we'd catch the train home. A perfect walk on a lovely sunny day. We had a minor errand to run, so why not stop off the train at Reading, nip into town, then catch the local train to Goring? Fantastic idea!
We'd forgotten that this weekend saw the Reading Festival. Reading station, when we arrived, resembled a war zone as the massed ranks of disheveled and mud-spattered youths had descended on it and changed mass transit into mass queuing. We could leave the station, but going back in would have meant a wait of several hours. What could we do?
Simple. We went shopping. My wife was particularly pleased to find a shop that carries OPI nail products, even though they were at an eye-popping price when you're used to them in dollars. Rip-off Britain! I think a Desigual top she found in the sale might have helped soften that particular shock though.
People-watching, a favourite pastime of ours. The Oracle turned out to be fertile ground today. The "Did I really just see that?" prize went to a lady in an adventurous cross between a pair of pajamas and a romper suit. You had to be there to believe it.
So when we'd judged that the rock-fans would be long gone we wandered back to the station, which had mud everywhere from the festival-goers' wellington boots. A very successful day for both of us, but not the healthy outdoor exercise we'd planned.
Never mind, there's always tomorrow for that, isn't there!