Julie's Jabber - This week with London LDWA

Julie's Jabber - This week with London LDWA
Julie's Jabber - This week with London LDWA

Julie Cribb and Julian White of the LDWA's National Executive Committee are working hard to keep us all engaged during this barren month, starting with the LDWA Coronavirus Challenge. The object of this exercise has been to log on to a spreadsheet how far you walk (or run) during what was, until last week, your permitted hour of exercise. My time outdoors has largely been spent jogging to various supermarkets and hauling back unfeasible amounts of shopping for our three-person household, plus taking our dog Morty out for his daily constitutional (also known as his Poo Promenade). What I have discovered while social distancing during these expeditions is that what's normally a 5k trot is now 6k because of all the extra zig-zagging that has to take place because of having to keep my distance. I have become petty about this to the point of misanthropy, the targets of my loathing being People Who Don't Know What 2-metres Distance Means. These types include the couples walking hand in hand, thus occupying the entire pavement and obliging me to step out into the road, because their love is more important than not infecting anyone with coronavirus. Even more frustrating is that as I'm wearing a mask they can't tell I'm glaring at them.

But anyway, thanks to them I am, at this mid-point in May, already past the 84-mile mark and will arrive at the Coronavirus Challenge Finish some time on Wednesday. Sadly, there will be no round of applause as I stagger in. On the other hand, neither will I have been floridly hallucinating for the previous twelve hours and will not be tilting to one side. Every cloud, etc., etc.


st peters way in a day

St. Peter's Way in a Day, 2018
No social distancing necessary on this sunny August day when we did Essex & Herts's classic 45-mile walk from Chipping Ongar to the ancient chapel of St. Peter's on the Wall at Bradfield-on-Sea. This was our lunch stop at Purleigh. 




Meanwhile Julian Pursey, our Exmouth Correspondent, tells me that provided he has interpreted correctly the latest rules - i.e. that in England we can now do unlimited exercising as long as we maintain social distancing - he will be taking part this coming weekend in the Virtual Y100 Sir Fynwy . Exmouth seafront is two miles long and he is aiming to walk that fifty times. He tells me that his shoes are 'a bit clapped out' but that he is hoping they will last the course. All entrants to this event will be issued with a tracker, and Julian is planning to send to post some photos on the LDWA Facebook en route. Are any LDWA London members going to give it a go? If so, Jabber would very much like to hear about it.


Cookery nook

It's good to report that at least one London Group member enjoyed last week's recipe, Mr Pursey's Wild Garlic Soup. Susanne Waldscmidt writes:  'I can definitely conform that it's delicious, and the main ingredient is free so more to spend on wine! However, you don't have to go all the way to Exmouth to get wild garlic.There are two types and the second, also known as three-cornered garlic or spring garlic, looks like a white bluebell and is a streetwise urban type that likes to take over gardens and urban spaces given half a chance. It is slightly milder than its country cousin and the long, three-cornered leaves can be used in stir-fries as well as soups. It also makes a delicious pesto.'


Susanne's Wild garlic pesto


Handful wild garlic leaves

Clove garlic

50 gram pine nuts

50 gram grated parmesan

100 ml olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

salt and pepper


Blend ingredients and spoon into jar.


Susanne adds that plenty can be found in spring from February onwards but around the beginning of May it begins to fizzle out, so it looks as if this is one to save for next year - assuming we will be allowed out to forage by then. 


three cornered garlic wild

Three-cornered garlic



LDWA London Silver Jubilee


In September, London Group will celebrate its Silver Jubilee with two wonderful events. On Thursday 10th  (the official foundation date), there will be a party in central London, preceded by an afternoon walk finishing at the venue.  

On Saturday 12th, a circular walk of about 14 miles from Gomshall will visit the tree that has been planted near Pitch Hill to commemorate the group’s founders, with lunch at the Hurtwood Inn in Peaslake. Colin Saunders (one of the founders) is organising both events, and would like to hear by email (cswriter@btinternet.com) from members with suggestions for a venue for the Thursday party.  It should preferably be a pub or other licensed premises with a private room that can cater for about 50 people seated. All this is subject to lockdown restrictions having been lifted by then!



memorial tree bill daisy

Bill Thompson and Daisy, pictured late in 2019 with the memorial tree. How much will it have grown by September?






Memory Lane (or footpath)

Speaking of founders, Gordon Parker has posted on LDWA London Facebook some very old, very lovely photos of Shere and the surrounding countryside, a lot of which is still trodden today on the Founders Challenge. This event, of course, celebrates the memory of Alan Blatchford and Chris Steer, who created the LDWA. The two photos below were, like the others, taken in 1936 with what Gordon assumes was his mother's Brownie box camera.  


friday street in thirties

Friday Street


gordon mother lily thirties

Lily Favi
Gordon's mother, aged 23


And finally...



observer group photo me



I have to admit that unlike Gordon't mother I was, at the age of 23, about as likely to be spotted taking part in a healthy countryside walk as a unicorn. I had just joined the Observer and the only rambling I did was in and out of the pubs that lined Fleet Street. The photo above was taken at a farewell lunch for my first sports editor, Clifford Makins. He's the chap in front with the ill-concealed glass in his hand, standing between the Hon. David Astor, then the editor-proprietor, and Ron Atkin, who was later to suffer the fate of becoming Mr Julie Welch. The office totty next to him is me. 

A lot of the Observer's great and good are also present in this picture, and sports buffs of a certain generation may recognise three of the sporting giants who wrote for the paper during that period - Sir Len Hutton, Chris Brasher and his wife Shirley, who as Shirley Bloomer won three Grand Slam tennis titles.  

But the point of mentioning this occasion now is that it took place in 1972, roughly around the time that Alan Blatchford and Chris Steer were founding the LDWA. Little did I know then what that would come to mean to me.



London LDWA - http://www.ldwa.org.uk/London