The day (Friday) turned foodie, quite unintentionally. We actually meant to have a healthy outdoorsy day in the woods, and we did start that way.
Oxleas Wood is one of the few remaining areas of ancient deciduous forest in Eltham in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, in southeast London. Some parts date back over 8,000 years to the end of the last Ice Age, the Younger Dryas. It is part of a larger continuous area of woodland and parkland on the south side of Shooter’s Hill: other parts are Jack Wood, Castle Wood, Oxleas Meadows, Falconwood Field, Eltham Common and Eltham Park North.*
We had been told that Oxleas is a lovely ancient wood, and well worth a visit, so off we went on the train (2 or 3 stops) to Falconwood, where we took a wrong turn from the station. Which was fine, we just had a longer walk to get there than necessary, but we saw more too. It was all very pretty, but it felt more of a park than a wood, being full of people and well maintained paths. This was the first time since we got here that I realised how spoilt we are living in Scotland, where you can disappear into a forest for hours, and see no one. The one thing I’ve never found close to home though is
enough fruiting blackthorns to make sloe gin. But here was a whole hedge pregnant with fruit! So we did what we do, and picked a bag full.**
Once we had enough D said he’d like to spend some time by the river, find a pub, have a pint and sit for a while in the sunshine. So I suggested Richmond, home of the original Hogarth Press and, thus, the Woolfs, where it’s a little more rural than, say, the Southbank. He agreed, so we set off on the train to London Bridge (the first to arrive) to get the tube. But at London Bridge, once we were on the right underground train, crammed like jelly babies in a jam jar, we had to get off again because someone had set off the alarm and the train taken out of service. Rather than wait for the line to be cleared and the next train to arrive we wandered up to the surface, and there was Borough Market.
Where we gorged, with our eyes as much as our gullets.
We bought a huge loaf of sourdough that is actually sour, and a cheese and olive baton we ate as we browsed. I had the best ice-cream I can remember – cherry and almond, made with goat milk; the best pistachio baklava I’ve ever had (and I’ve had a lot!); and we had lunch – Boureg for me, with a glass of Lebanese rosé; and a wonderful spiced potato stew and a glass of beer for D – in a charmingly staffed place called Arabica. And, of course,*** we bought cheese
most of which we ate with thick slices of sourdough when we got home.
I’m going to have to do some serious walking next week if I’m to keep wearing my favourite trousers.
*Taken straight from Wikipedia.
**Now in the fridge, today I will get the gin!
***D is a cheese addict.