As it happened I was meeting my good friend, glamour photographer Mark Page (the link is to his site - NSFW!) in nearby High Wycombe for a beer or two so I took a cab into town and then shot some photos around the High Street. It's a nice old county town although its proximity to London - about 30 miles to the East - means that it's starting to look more like a suburb now. All the old 'Mom and Pop' shops that existed along the High Street when I first moved to the area in the early 1990s have been decimated by out-of-town shopping villages and a huge new centre-of-town shopping centre called Eden. Now the High Street is just pubs and pound shops and the inevitable fast-food joints while the shopping centre is all about mobile phones and clothes. All the bookshops have gone except for one small Waterstone's tucked right at the back. It's all very sad. All the things that attracted me to come and live in this area are gone. I may as well have stayed in Wembley.
Three or four pints later I went home, grabbed Farty Dog and went for a nice long walk through the beech woods behind Hughenden Manor, once the country seat of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. Early bluebells and primroses were everywhere adding some lovely colour and the trees were all budding and popping with new growth. High above, the ubiquitous red kites were circling on warm rising thermals like vultures in a Beau Geste movie. Glorious.
Days like these make you glad to be alive don't they? However, a cold front is moving in and there's even talk of snow next week. Snow?! That's going to bugger the bluebells. Sad face.