I went to the Heath in the late afternoon today to meet my old chum Ted, his girlfriend, Gersende, and her lovely friend, whose name I've forgotten because it was French and a little unpronounceable! How awful and English does that make me?
We had a lovely time. Gersende and I walked across the middle of the Heath looking for Ted and the lovely French lady, but when we reached the other side, we discovered they were back at the exact place where we'd started!
They're still digging up the ponds. The place looks like a horrible mess, with great big steel fences and piles of brown mud lining pretty much any water source. I think they're creating drainage solutions in the very unlikely event that a catastrophic rainstorm, focussed on the Heath, leads to the ponds bursting their banks.
As unlikely as it seems, there was a major weather event in 1975 which caused all the streets in Gospel Oak, Southend Green and the Vale of Health to flood rather terribly. You can hear all about it the next time the Fleet Singers perform Songs About The Weather! The flooding was so bad that people were said to have drowned in their basement flats! They said then that the likelihood of it happening again was, like, a million to one, but the UK climate is changing so I suppose they're taking no risks.
It was lovely to catch up with Ted, and I've become a massive fan of his Mrs to the extent that when she pulled out a bottle of champagne from her back pack I was really hoping it was going to be followed by a lovely little announcement. It wasn't. Apparently we were simply toasting the sunshine. I'd have been happy to toast the fact that Gersende had cycled all the way up to the Heath from Dulwich in just an hour!
The Heath looked glorious in the evening sunlight. It was packed full of revellers, many of whom seemed to be smoking dope! Huge wafts of the stuff were floating over us as we sat by the boating lake watching the sun going down.
We walked up to Highgate in the evening for a drink in a pub. The famous Flask was ram-packed, so we went to the one which sells Thai food and backs onto Pond Square, which Ted and the girls absolutely loved. I forget sometimes quite how special Highgate is... Sadly, none of us saw the ghost of the frozen chicken which is said to haunt those parts. That's right: the ghost of a frozen chicken!