Finchley

18 Jan. Checked out of the Hotel Abyss, NW5, and headed north, to Finchley, to ruralize.

I was delighted by a kingfisher racing round a bend in the Dollis in a blink of blue and orange. I heard a woodpecker, too, but didn’t see it. It might after all have been an Enfield supporter, gagged and tied to the top of a hollow tree, who had managed to release an arm and was signalling for help the only way he could.

Followed the river by Fursby Avenue allotments (“best kept small allotment in Barnet 2015”) and playing fields to a fork in the river and took the left one.

At this point the green corridor is a few hundred yards wide but thanks to some mature trees and much scrub it feels like countryside.

I had forgotten in my despondency last week that that there are more ways than one to dry a muddy path. Lingering frost is a pretty good one. It has the advantage over heat that you don’t have to wait until June for it.

I didn’t walk round Darlands lake where Lord Lytton used to write in a rowing boat and ring a bell for his tea, but instead climbed a dizzying 400ft through old farmland and an older lane to Totteridge village. From there I followed another alley, partially blocked at the top, down to the Dollis again, skirting Barnet through the park by the Underhill Stadium.

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