June 2024: The Exton Walk part 2. The men of the cloth are nearby.

By Tony Attwood, commander in chief, Peterborough Rambers, Photographic Division.

In my previous report of the walking from Exton Green to the Great Hidden Lake Behind the Trees (or GHLBT as it is known in the local dialect), I wrote of trees and water, along with footpaths and those upon them.  And indeed such varieties of rural life were in evidence again as we ventured forth once more.

(Of course, we might have seen them earlier if I have got the pictures in the wrong order but I am sure you can work it out one way or another.)

This picture is important as it is a rare capture of two trees “nestling” together as us ruralists like to call it.   It is rare to see them in this state as normally when humans approach they scrurry away at the most fulsome speed.

But now we marched forward leaving behind the glory of the lake, with, as ever the troops stretching out in the distance (as the honourable photographic crew were left to lug their heavy equipment from place to place, attempting to set up before the walkers walked on or the sun set).

But eventually, we did catch up with the majority for they did indeed stop to peer (I believe that is the word) at an ancient sign apparently dating back to the Bronze age. And much amusement did it give the walkers as with a rather jolly sense of humour the plants had deliberately grown themselves in front of the sign in order to change the first word from “Your” to “our”.

Oh what whimsical life forms these plants are and how they do dislike to be called weeds.  At least that is what they told me and the fact that I had previously paused for a moment’s refreshment in a local public house was neither here nor there.

But yes I did find a short cut and was able to ambush those who took the longer route, cheekily leaping forth in order to take a picture of them from the front,  as it were.

And indeed as you can tell they were all quite amazed by my sudden appearance.

But then, and for reasons that will not become apparent at this point, it was time for pause and discussion, as plans were produced as to how we were going to find the way back .

After much debate it was agreed that we would walk back, but not the way we had come, as that would be contrary to the essence of Rambling, and no mistake!  The “Different Route” approach was indeed the order of the day.

And so with propositions proposed, debated thereupon agreed it was decided that walking by the side of the road was the mot juste, although I might not have got exactly the right phrasing on that point.

It was forwards we would walk and onwards would be the direction, although much care would be taken for any residents from the Bronze Age era of habitation who were currently making their way back for tea by car (the Bronze Age not having adjusted to British Summer Time as yet, what with it not having been invented for another few hundred thousand years.)

But I was delighted to find that my contribution to the record-keeping of Peterborough Ramblerrs was now recognised through some hearty hand waving en route.

Of course, not everything was in singlefile as can be seen but sometimes the path seemed to move in mysterious ways leaving us little choice but to take the one-by-one approach as the manual requires.

And it was roughly at this point that I did comment to one of my fellow-travellers how good it was that upon this Ramble we had not been subjected to any of the mysterious  signs that have been left thither and yon by those of previous civilisations.

And yet behold and lo! no sooner had I made the valiant contribution to our conversation than would you believe it, one popped forth infront of an utterly impenetrable hedge.  Much debate followed as to the origins of this sign, and the consensus was that it was of 4th Ice Age origin signifying that the flow of the glacier at this point.

I was urged to photograph it and here is the evidence to prove that I did.

But that was not the end of the signposting adventures of the day. For no sooner had we ventured forth once more than we spotted this monstrosity.

What did it mean?   Did it mean vicars were lurking close by – because if it is a grammatically correct sign that is the only possible explanation.  Or was it a rather feeble error of grammar?  For if the “close” is indeed a cul-de-sac for one vicar it should be Vicar’s Close.  If there are multiple vicars (and we might wonder what they were up to) it would be “Vicars’ Close.”

Thus as we found ourselves back at the cars which were, by and large, where we had left them (apart from those with dodgy breaks which had rolled away), we continued to ponder.

It is hard to believe that a local council, with access to all the money we pay them, could misspell a road name, so it could only mean “Beware there are vicars close by”.

Dear Rambler, I looked, I really looked, but vicar could I not find.  I shall try harder next time.


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