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Saturday, 31 March 2007

Men's walk to Aylesford

Today saw a new event for the parish - a walk for men of about eight miles from Hollingbourne to Aylesford along the North Downs Way and part of the ancient Pilgrims' Way. Here we are, having been dropped off at Hollingbourne. Trefor, who in Austria could have claimed the title of Wanderfuhrer, is explaining that the walk is not too hilly.

After about two minutes, we came to the first of the not too hilly bits:

The view was pretty spectacular along much of the way. The Good Lord blessed us with perfect weather and some welcome breezes on the higher sections.

At one point, the path obstinately refused to go along the route that was indicated on the map. Undeterred, Dan demonstrated how to negotiate the barbed wire.

There were a few of those "Lord of the Rings" moments in the wooded sections.

and a few more of those not very hilly moments. Joking apart, Trefor did a magnificent job of researching the route and guiding us. It was a most enjoyable afternoon.

At Detling, Pip, Helen and Caroline were waiting with tea, rolls and home made cake. There was also some good beer to be had in the pub (I had Ruddles, others chose IPA or Old Speckled Hen.) Noticing the lack of ashtrays, I realised that there was probably something awry. It was indeed that most absurd of institutions that will spring up all over the land on my birthday this year - a non smoking pub. As Jeremy Clarkson might say "What's that for?"

Speaking of Mr Clarkson, you may notice that the car parked nonchalantly outside the pub is in fact a Ferrari. When the owner came out and spent some time getting into the vehicle and adjusting various things prior to lift-off, he could not but become the centre of attention. The throaty roar was delayed, however, as he got out again and said sheepishly that he had left the keys on the bar. Never have 14 men had such a missed opportunity!

At Aylesford in thanksgiving for the day, we had Benediction in the charming Cloister Chapel with prayers to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

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