please empty your brain below

I discovered another bit of the Thames Chase forest earlier this year at Cranham, when walking from Upminster to Bulphan Fen, London's eastern extremity - as you know DG - and on to Basildon. My OS Explorer map - only a few years old but now out-of-date - didn't have this detail at all. I managed to find a bridge under the M25 and thought I'd managed to cut a good mile or so off my walk, only to run up against a big perimeter fence that stopped me leaving the forest. So it was back to Cranham to find another way round, silently cursing the planners despite all their good work.
Re the swastika; the symbol was commonly used, in various parts of Europe, as a symbol of "modernity" and "progress" in the early 20th century, quite apart from the Indian "mystical" side (and I have some books of Kipling, published around 1910, in England, liberally decorated with swastikas, perhaps sort of combining the two): it was a symbol of the nascent (and decidedly non-nazi) air forces of several European countries in the 1920s and 30s (off the top of my head: Latvia and Finland, but surely others too)...

I must pick you up on saying the benches at Upminster Bridge are unique, though. They aren't (or, at least, were't): Elm Park, which opened at about the same time, has or had a set too.

I've done a fair bit of that walk - underrated beauty it certainly is, for quite a way.

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