So a couple of weeks ago I had a spare couple of hours, in between customers, around lunchtime and seeing as I was not too far from a nice woodland that I visit periodically I decided to have a little wander through its trees and find a nice clearing to have my lunch.
To gain access to this particular woodlands you have to walk across a small open field and then slide down a steepish ‘valley’, not a real valley but I am not too sure what to call it, jump across a small stream and them clamber up the other side. The woodland side is harder to get up as it is steeper with not many good footholds to help you up. Usually there is only ever a very small, narrow body of water trickling through the ‘ravine’ when I have visited before but this time there was a proper flowing stream running through the woodland. It was probably because we have had quite a lot of rain recently and this small drainage stream runs from the higher ground of Ramsden through to the lower area where the River Crouch flows.
Once I had scrambled up from the stream I wandered through the trees to find a suitable clear area to have my lunch. Along the way I found a few windfall Birch trees with lots of Birch Polypores growing on them, as well as one bow which had a scattering of acorn shells resting on it, so I reckon this was probably a squirrels favourite spot to crack open the nuts it had collected and have a feed. I also noticed that there was some fresh green shoots starting to show through the leaf litter, possibly snowdrops or bluebells I’m not too sure which.
After 5 minutes or so wandering around beneath the trees I found a nice place to ‘make camp’ and quickly set up my little chair and got my lunch gear out of the rucksack. First job was to get the stove lit and start to boil some water for my coffee and also for my Pot Noodle, don’t judge me for this as it is a guilty pleasure I indulge in every so often. I had brought my little twig burner with me, which I was hoping to use but unfortunately everything was pretty damp so that would not off worked too well, as well as a small alcohol burner similar to a Trangia. This is what I set up to use and it was not long before I had my steel cup full of water sitting over the flame nicely heating up. It took longer than I had thought to bring the water to a boil, I usually use my gas stove when I am out and about but want to use different cooking methods this year, but after 10 minutes or so I had enough boiling water to make my Latte and fill my Grot Poodle.
I sat and ate my lunch and drunk my coffee with nothing exciting happening, just the peaceful calm of a truly beautiful woodland, just what I needed. I did actually have a squirrel scurry across the leafy woodland floor and sit on a stump some 10ft away from me before hopping off and shooting up a tree, that was nice to see. Lunch finished, coffee drunk, rucksack packed and I was away back to the van having spent an hour and half just relaxing in nature. A lovely way to have my lunch and one that I plan on doing more often.