A spin off road, taking my chances between showers. Riding down a track near Binfield Heath, not far from Henley, I was struck by a fold in the land and the way the fields in front of me weren’t visible from any roads; that I couldn’t see any roads, houses or people. It’s not wild; the fields are farmed; there are telegraph poles across them – but even so, they’re that bit away from where many will ever go.

Further down the same track there was a plank over a ditch leading off into woods.

It all made me think of adventures, that thrill that comes with exploring, the wonderful way that you can just walk a few yards off from the world you know and feel like you’ll be away from nearly everyone.

Or, rather, it made me regret that I can’t rediscover that sense of adventure ‘hidden’ fields and paths leading off into woodland would have once evoked. It’s just age; you get to know too much and to understand too much.

Perhaps it wasn’t even regret. Perhaps it was just nostalgia. Either way it’s real, in that I did explore fields and woods once. Talking about it with Charli, she said her childhood was the same.

I don’t know if young kids can get that thrill now. They seem to both know too much and to be shut-off and cooped-up at the same time. Perhaps that’s a media myth but perhaps it’s not – I’m always struck by how few people under the age of, say, 18 that I see when I’m out. Perhaps they’re just more stealthy than I was all those years ago. I hope so.

A hidden fold in the land

A fold in the land …

A plank across a ditch, a path to adventure?

A path to adventure …