If you’re American, I was “on the trail” today. If you’re British or Irish, I “went for a walk”. And what a walk too, through some of God’s creation that’s Epping Forest.
It’s a place I’ve neglected for some years although I’ve been putting that right recently. It’s good to see Mother Nature hasn’t also neglected these glorious woods. They’re as thick, dark and lush as I remember. You see, dear reader, your humble correspondent pretty much grew up in this place. When I were a nipper I’d usually be fishing the lakes or tearing around on my BMX. Little did I realise I was gaining an education every bit as valuable as anything taught in a classroom. It’s here that I learned how to use a map and compass, site a camp, erect a shelter, make a feather stick and build a fire, use a bushcraft knife, set a snare, identify wild food, camouflage techniques, tracking and all those other ancient and wonderful things boys should know. I still remember it all and the great times we had in learning them. Most of what a teacher ever said to me has long gone.
But … no, I’m sure social engineers are right. Learning how to score drugs and get pregnant must be more “socially relevant” or something. Strewth, half of what we got up to in Epping Forest is probably illegal now.
Even so, if you have children then opening the door and dragging the little darlings out probably won’t do them any harm. That’s eight miles, a million trees, a secret valley rediscovered, some muntjac spotted, a few rabbits, a pair of tired legs – and a few beers coming up.