Saturday, 20 August 2016

The unexpected lure of Zone 9

I have now called London home for a grand total of two weeks, which is basically just a holiday to most people. However, it somehow feels like I've been living here far, far longer than that. It's amazing how things like the tube and walking everywhere quickly become routine.

Since the weather has been so nice recently, my housemate Becca and I declared that we were going to take advantage of this by going to a lido. London has a good number of them dotted all over the place but we calculated that the quickest one to get to wasn't in London at all, but out in the far reaches of Zone 9. I didn't even know there was a Zone 9! Harrow is in Zone 5 on the Metropolitan line so instead of taking the usual tube east into the city, we ventured the other way - all the way out of London. The urban sprawl soon thinned out and within fifteen minutes we had views of beautiful countryside. Trees! Fields! Rolling hills! Seeing these on a tube train of all places! My little country girl soul breathed a huge sigh of relief of seeing all the green and open space.

It took about half an hour to get out to Chesham, which is a small market town in Buckinghamshire, near High Wycombe and only cost £1.80. And though it may be on a tube line, Toto, we were not in Kansas anymore. Being a Thursday afternoon, it was quiet and peaceful and hardly anyone was around. It was a pleasant fifteen minute walk from the tube station to the outdoor pool and the sun had started to shine. The lido was just a small outdoor pool, a gym full of guys lifting weights and a changing room. I managed to sneakily get a student price ticket (£2.80) because Becca had her student card. There were a number of families with kids at the pool but it wasn't crowded by any means. The pool was heated - not bath warm but nice enough on the vaguely-warm-but-not-actually-that-warm day (I should be a weather lady). It was so lovely and relaxing to be in an outdoor pool on in the late afternoon while it's still summer. We ate our late lunch by the side of the pool and swam a little more but second time round the pool felt quite a bit colder, so we decided to head home.

The tube weaved through woodland and past winding country lanes. The fields that stretched as far as the eye could see became buildings and the hush of the town became the buzz of the city once again. Even though I haven't been in the city very long, part of me still craves the open space and I feel refreshed when I'm out there. The other part, however, is glad to have shops and amenities within a 5 minute radius. Country girl, city girl indeed. 

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