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New Meetup: A Right Royal Romp through Runnymede and Windsor Great Park

From: Rich
Sent on: Monday, January 18, 2010 12:15 AM
Announcing a new Meetup for The London Walking and Pub-finding Group!

What: A Right Royal Romp through Runnymede and Windsor Great Park

When: Saturday, January 30,[masked]:45 AM

Price: GBP3.00 per person

Waterloo Station, near main ticket office opposite plat 17
York Road Lambeth
London SE1 8SW

'Twas 15 June 1215 - a Monday, I remember it well - when, right royally peed off by King John's tax increases to fund his unsuccessful wars in France, a group of barons forced him on an island in the Thames known as Runnymede to accede to wide-ranging restrictions on his power. The resulting document, the Magna Carta, was - according to the definitive account of English history, 1066 And All That - "the chief cause of democracy in England, and therefore a Good Thing (except for the commoners)". Since then, generations of schoolchildren have intoned the catechism "Magna Carta 1215, Battle of Waterloo 1815, Lunch 1.15"*.

Our next walk will take us from the delightful dormitory settlement of Egham past this historically resonant and contemporaneously delightful setting. A pub will follow. In the afternoon, we will meander into Windsor Great Park, loop round Virginia Water, in its time England's largest artificial lake, and finish with the long walk down the appropriately named Long Walk to the foot of Windsor Castle. Apparently, you see, whatever happened that day in 1215, the monarchy is still alive and well.

Along the Long Walk we will have ample opportunity to reflect on the foolishness of King John's descendants in building one of their main domiciles right under the main western approach to Heathrow. We shall end our foray - total distance let's say 10 miles - in one of Windsor's many entirely charming pubs.

* This witticism, courtesy of the late bon viveur, raconteur and dogfood commercial star Sir Clement Freud, is in fact only the second-best Magna Carta joke. The ultimate accolade goes to the equally late Tony Hancock in his peroration as foreman of the jury in his version of "Twelve Angry Men": "Does Magna Carta mean nothing to you? Did she die in vain!?". Thenk you very much.

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