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  • Writer's pictureBen Thomas

Bo Peep Farm

Hot. I’m sitting on a knee-high section of black plastic tubing and my arse is burning. The super-heated tube I have found myself using as a bench is scorching through my trousers. It’s a cloudless day and it’s been soaking up the sun’s rays. I’m near my new house – which is on a new-build estate, the tubing must for the equally new sewage system. Luckily, there’s no sewage about yet, I’m already suffering from a bout of hay fever – I don’t want my nose disturbed any further. I am on my way to a place called Bo Peep Farm – exactly three miles from where I live. A trip devised to apply my psychogeography skills in the field before I embark on a walk along the A12 later this year. I drew a circle with a radius of three miles on my OS map and Bo Peep Farm was situated exactly on the line, a perfect point to aim for. The name stood out to me – it sounds very delightful and quaint. But does Little Bo Peep live there? Perhaps I’ll find her sheep somewhere along the way.

As well as my scorched arse, I have been nipped at by stinging nettles whilst on my way here – my shins the most targeted. The country path I passed along – which runs parallel to the Oxford canal – has been consumed by weeds considerably since I last walked it. Nettles, wildflowers, and thorn bushes are beginning to overwhelm the gravel pedestrian pathway designed for ramblers. My list of discomforts continues to be added to. Combined with my allergic rhinitis, my eyes are suffering from dust whipped up from an earlier passing car - a large Jeep-type driven by a middle-aged woman the culprit. I didn’t think I’d come across any motor vehicles today, being mostly down pedestrianised areas – so the presence of one, I assume heading for the building sites, caught me off guard.

From my vantage point, I spy groups of people enjoying picnics in an adjoining grassy recreational area. I see them sipping from Heineken cans and plastic litre bottles of cheap cider. This reminds me that I haven’t had a drink – alcoholic or not – in a while. I open my backpack, grab my bottled water, and gulp a large amount down. I must keep hydrated on a day like this. I wipe the dampness from my lips and take another glance around. I hear music coming from a boombox belonging to gang of shirtless lads playing football nearby. Canal boats churn – passing underneath a raised bridge on their way to berth. A Cessna plane buzzes overhead – drowning out the music for an all-too-brief moment. I did not intend to walk this route – in fact, I wished to avoid the canal in favour of somewhere different. However, I’ve been following easily accessible footpaths on my OS map - currently opened out next to me on the black tubing – and I ended up leading myself to this point. This looked the easiest path to find Little Bo. Although, my failure to be a bit more adventurous and head in a straight line has resulted in my find of a memorable resting spot. I take my notes and close my map, ready to head onwards – wagging my tail behind me.

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