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A Walk in the Woods ... and Fields ... and Caves ...

One of the things we didn't get to do in Africa was to take a walking safari. The SD-6.5 extraction team came in and whisked us away before we could hike through the bush, accompanied by our Masai guide and an armed guard ... you know, to shoot Mr. Macomber if he got out of hand.

I wondered if the armed guard would have bullets or tranquilizer darts in his gun, but we never got the chance to find out.

Anyway, I ticked the walking tour box today. Eduardo and I both have a copy of Time Out's Country Walks Near London (vol 2). For several months we've been talking about going on one, and today was the day. Walking ten miles around West Wycombe beats writing African holiday adventures any day.

Who knew? You don't have to fly eight hours to see expansive fields and assorted wildlife. Today's sightings included deer (relatives of last week's impalas), hawks (not unlike hawks and vultures), dogs (related to hyenas and jackals only much more jolly), horses (zebras without the stripes), and butterflies (pretty much the same in both places, to my untrained eye).

Saw plenty of Masai sheep last week, which looked more like goats, but who am I to quibble? Today we saw proper English sheep. One particular field was full of lambs as well. So adorable. As we walked up the field, we noticed one little black and white guy on the other side of the fence, bleating a little and trying to get back to his flock. We found his escape route, but, bless him, he couldn't quite figure out how to get back through.

Did you know that if the Masai call you a sheep, they're saying you're stupid?

We crossed the stile over to the lonely side of the fence just me, Ed, and the baby bleater. I think we made him nervous, 'cause he tried running through any gap in the fence, only to realize he simply wouldn't fit. Eduardo (now dubbed Sir Sheep Saviour) picked him up and showed him the way home. He then started looking for his maa-aa-aam. We waited a bit to see if they connected, but apparently she wasn't fussed.

After saving the sheep, we went on to explore the Hell Fire Caves, which may or may not have been the site of 18th-century satanic debauchery, complete with wanton women and a monkey. We had the pleasure of hearing the recorded yet none-too-pompous voice of Sir Francis Dashwood, and got to watch a young blonde lad bound outside the tea shop exclaiming "I'm going to set the world record for sucking ... sweets."

We wished him all the luck in the world and know that his mother couldn't be more proud.

Then we were off to the Dashwood Mausoleum and the St Lawrence Church, home to one of my new favorite graveyards. One of the couples there were named Slaughter and Fryer. Isn't that gorgeous? I hope they were in the poultry business.

Two miles later and we're back at the Saunderton train station, ready to head home after our country stroll, and looking forward to the next one. Perhaps Hastings to Rye, or Dover to Deal.

A perfect spring day ... especially for the lamb.

Now then ... what to cook for Easter dinner?