194: around Hertford

OS Explorer map 194, Hertford & Bishop’s Stortford: Buntingford & Clavering – I do not own this map, and had not visited it until now. Visited for this post 12th December 2017.

This will be my first “proper” post, since this is actually somewhere I had to travel to get to rather than just living there. Furthermore, this is my first post about visiting a map that I have never visited before the occasion about which I’m writing.

So I went to this part of Hertfordshire because my dear friend Millicent invited me, along with Vesper, Queenie, and Erithacus, to come to visit him at his home – term ended over a week ago and so Millicent was back with his parents. [1] While Queenie, too, had gone home, and so was coming up from the south coast, Erithacus, Vesper and I were getting the train together down from Cambridge.

I believe the other two walked to the station, but I spent too long writing the last blog entry, and so was going to be late unless I got the bus. The bus in question was the new Cambridge U bus, which starts off at Eddington, the University’s latest building project that is effectively an entire new village on the edge of the town – it’s very exciting, and I recall spending a happy hour earlier this term reading articles about how it’s apparently a wonderfully innovative piece of town planning. From there the bus goes past the University’s Sidgwick site, where it picked me up on West Road, and continues into town, down Trumpington Street, before going across to the railway station. (From there it continues, using the Cambridge Guided Busway, and eventually goes to Addenbrooke’s and places like that.) I was quite happy, having never used that bus before, and when I finally met Erithacus and Vesper at the train station, I realised that I should really use it more often, as it goes from near where I live to practically right outside their house, to which I go rather frequently, usually by walking for twenty-five minutes, plus it only costs £1 for University members.

I arrived at the station and bought my ticket from the ticket machine before also purchasing my favourite M&S sandwich (Egg, Tomato and Salad Cream – Brie and Bacon is a close second). There was a little confusion via text when Vesper interpreted my “which station are we going to” text as asking which Cambridge station we were meeting at rather than which Hertfordshire station we were travelling to; I wanted to know so I could buy the right ticket! We soon got on our train, where we ate our sandwiches and admired the still-snowy fields outside, and later began to play cards.

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Erithacus, Vesper’s nose, and card-playing on the train, with snowy Cambridgeshire or Hertfordshire behind

Arriving at our destination we awaited Queenie in the “Deli Stop”, and soon met Millicent’s father, sent to meet us; fortunately Millicent’s description of him as wearing a blue jumper driving a red car was sufficient. Thus we were kindly ferried to the house of Millicent’s clan, soon to meet not only both of his parents but also his dog, Reo, [2] and his very creatively named cat, Kitty, both of whom became our companions for a lot of sitting about and received, according to Millicent, rather more attention than they had in a very long time.

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Kitty and I had a brief falling-out

This part of Hertfordshire had rather more snow left from the fall of three days previously (Saturday 9th) than did Cambridge, and so we decided to go out and have a play.

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Vesper, Erithacus, Queenie, Millicent and I in the snow! (Not visible is the swan that was facing us in the little river.)

The snow was thoroughly crunchy and solid due to its age, but we discovered the advantage that it could be sculpted into a very attractive hat.

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Vesper models the snow-hat.

Millicent’s mother cooked us some wonderful dinner and we spent the rest of our day generally sitting about enjoying each other’s company; we did not in the end watch Moana despite an initial ambition to do so; instead conversation of various kinds took us unwisely until about 2am before we finally went to bed on something like the fifth try. A further notable occurrence was that the four others that evening thought of their nicknames as used on this blog!

The next morning, Erithacus, whom we have always believed looked like a cellist despite having only ever played the violin, finally got to inhabit her alternate cellist self by having a go on Millicent’s old cello. She, Vesper and I also messed about with the piano a little, reminiscing about our musical pasts, until such time as Millicent’s mother returned and kindly took me and Erithacus to the train station (the others were leaving later), since our attempt to book a taxi failed. From there, Erithacus and I got the train to King’s Cross, on which see the next post!


[1] Cheremy was invited too, but alas, Wales is rather distant and so he couldn’t attend.

[2] I was very surprised several weeks ago when I found out the spelling of Reo in a text from Millicent, having previously heard it only spoken and assumed it would be 〈Rio〉. Vesper was imparted this information on the train and found it similarly startling.



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