Sunday, August 31, 2008

London Greenbelt - The Ingrebourne Valley

Hello There! My name is Mr E Ed, the silent horse! Welcome to Dagenham. Thank goodness we have a glorious summer's day today, Saturday, the second last day of August. I was getting tired of chomping around out here looking at skies that were greyer than my coat.

Oh yes, of course we're still in London. Nope, you aren't in the Green Belt yet, but this is the last valley, the Beam River, before you get there. Oh I know, my parents told me that there used to be loads of other horses about, all the way into London, because even poor people used to be able to keep horses on waste land. And I won't be here for long, but here I am for now. My mane and tail might be full of burrs because I haven't had a brushing for days, but what do you think I am, some sort of spoilt rich kid's silly obese pet horse? Nope, you know the folk around here don't have money, but they still love animals and nature, even though most of them used to work at that horrible car factory founded by that damned American, what's his name? ... Something to do with river crossings. Oh yes, Ford! My great, great grandparents called him Satan, because he might as well have been eating horses, so evil was he, making all those nasty monster metal machines, that put us out of jobs, and setting the 20th Century on an irreversible course so that now YOU are just a bit of rust in the Global Human Economic Machine.

So you came along the Wantz Stream, I see? Nice bit of work they did there, didn't they? And what did you think of those gravel pit ponds and lakes in Mayesbrook and Parsloes Parks? Those ponds are the only things decent in those parks, eh? Did you see that heron drying its wings in the sun on that little island? Oh yes, that heron comes over here sometimes to visit me. I can't get over this fence, so he has to fly to me.

Well you better carry on your journey. You want to go to Hornchurch Country Park, which is in the Ingrebourne River valley. Oh they aren't big rivers, because they flow into the Thames, but they're nice. Bye! And if you see any of that Ford fella's children, kick them for me, would you?

Hornchurch Country Park - lake.

Coprinus Comatus, the Shaggy Inkcap, not uncommon, but I've never seen them in a wide open grassy field of a park before.

These mushrooms were growing amongst the needles under a young Scots Pine. The ring on the stem was very prominent, and notably was not continuous all the way around (did not join, but overlapped). The larger specimens, like this one, had 11cm diameter caps. Gills were chocolate brown,closely spaced/crowded. Agaricus Silvicola or Agaricus Abruptibulbus? I'm no expert! It probably is something totally different.

Also did the Ingrebourne Valley, Thames Chase, Dagnam Park, and then I ended up sleeping outside in a cornfield. Not very well, because it got cold and foggy, and I wasn't well prepared. (Meanwhile just imagine all those spoilt fat humans sleeping comfortably in huge suburban houses, or even small flats, whom have never experienced English condensation under the stars.) Nice to know that when the time comes, one only has to go out to a cornfield, even in August, and be killed by the elements, instead of rotting away under some pseudo-Christian palliative care regime.

I also can comment from personal experience now on the lack of invertebrate life in the soil of what must be a chemically farmed cornfield. To its credit, it did at least have a few broadleaf weeds that were a few weeks old, so the farmer was either being stingy with the herbicide, or careful about not using more than necessary.

And that was all the summer we had in August, because the fog and cloud was Sunday's weather. To Hainault Forest, where one had to thank the people in history for saving a few old trees in England (although their countrymen then had to go and chop down all the old trees everywhere else in the world where they claimed Empire). I wondered if in 50, 100, 150 years time, there will be people standing there giving thanks. Unfortunately it is a tiny woodland, and you cannot help but hear the endless jet traffic flying into Stansted Airport, (the Macrophages feeding pathogens into the lymph nodes of the Global Human Economic Machine?).

But the last thing I have is one of those symbols of hope, an example of a sustainable fusion of Man and Planetary Ecosystem. Yes, it is a picnic table, and note amongst other things how it uses natural sections of the tree trunk instead of planks.

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