Undaunted - just - by the continuing bitter winds, I pedalled off this morning, to catch an early train to Cookham: it was worth it to escape the crowds coming in the other direction. There was a scattering of snow on the platform at Stroud as we passed through, but none by the time I reached Berkshire. Ten of us walked off together from Cookham station, passing Stanley Spencer's house before making for the wood that was partly the inspiration for Kenneth Grahame's Wind in the Willows. Despite an attractive few hundred yards of sunken lane and a few big, old beeches, it lacks much mystery today because of ill-management and the dual carriageway below.
Cutting short of Henley, we looped back through an attractive stretch of water meadows, still showing signs of flooding. Hardly any houses of note, I was surprised to observe, and all much more suburban than anything in the Cotswolds. It was a joy to catch a golden sunset from the direction of the Malverns as the train headed back to Cheltenham from Gloucester on the last leg of my homeward journey.