London Living – A Donkey on the Edge (Escape to the Country)

One of the hardest aspects, and at the same time the best aspects – about living in London is the grey city-fied-ness of it (yes, I’m making up words again, sorry). London is incredible, but on a daily basis to earn the money that keeps you able to travel to lovely destinations, eat scrumptious meals and generally enjoy yourself, you wake up to the alarm, do your work-day trudge, work, go home, complete chores and then sleep, ready for another day to begin. This is most definately a “first-world problem” as some of my Twitter buddies chat about, but after awhile sometimes the mad rush and coporate ladder can get you down. To be honest, living in both Auckland and Wellington, in New Zealand I used to have the same urges, but it’s easier as in New Zealand you’re never more than a 3-hour drive maximum from beautiful beaches.

I’ve found (and much to my delight, I’m not alone) that every so often I have to see some greenery, get some fresh air in my lungs and hear nature. Leah, a Twitter buddy puts it beautifully, and slips in a Shrek reference – score, here in a post on her blog Naturally, Leah (go, it’s such a well-written blog) – calling it the ‘Donkey on the Edge’ feeling. Hubby doesn’t seem to get the same urge, but happily lets me drag him along where ever takes our fancy.

This evening satisfied my Donkey on the Edge need quite by accident, as we were taken to a pub with quite the most beautiful view I think I’ve ever seen so far. Set up on the side of a hill, The Orchard in Harefield is quite something. A busy, well staffed Gastro-pub with a resident Basset-Hound we were really pleasantly surprised – it really seems to have it all.

The below images really don’t do the scene justice – I’m going to go back, soon, with my proper camera, and try to capture the beautiful lakes and Grand Union Canal better.


The Landlord even knew how to make a Vodka Lemon, Lime & Bitters with Angostura Bitters (though a half point deducted as we were later served by one of the other bar maids, who had never heard of Bitters). Heaven in a glass. The boys in our party can vouch for the beer being kept beautifully, and the owners really seem to have a passion for the beautiful pub and it’s roaring fires.

That’s another facet of London life I love though, when you do get the urge to get out and away, it’s so easy to jump on a train/bus/car/tram/cable car/whatever is near and more often than not it can take you to green pastures, running canals and amazing English countryside. This place is a little harder to get to for Central Londoners by public transport – from Marylebone Station it’s a train to Denham (about 20minutes) then a 30min walk/bus, but it’s totally worth it.

The continuously updated  menu-du-jour alone looks like it’s worth another trip, that and to see the pub dog. Such a friendly fellow.

I am no longer a Donkey on the Edge. For now.

Where do you go to escape? Is it as simple as a window box or backyard, or do you like to mix it up and make your breaks more stimulating? Have you got any recommendations for me?

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