Anyway, back to our stroll to Carshalton. We walked past a few small parks on our way there, and one is particularly interesting. There is a football-field-sized pit dug right in the middle of the park, and left abandoned for many years. According to Elizabeth, there was a wealthy man who once owned this piece of land, and decided to build himself a mansion. The pit was dug for the foundation of the mansion, but before he managed to complete his mansion, he went bankcrupt. His land was sold, well, so was this pit. There was a dog running playfully INSIDE this pit when we passed by, but it was too deep down and all I had was this digital-zoom-only w800i. *grumble grumble* ^_^
The first sight that welcomed us at Carshalton was this canal that ran across the town. We were surprised to find seagulls in the canal, but Elizabeth explained that the place is quite near to the sea, so the seagulls love flocking to this place to have fun. Then she told us the stories about the White Cliffs of Dover which faces the French canal. It has been the main frontier of defence which has witnessed and survived many attacks and battles. When she spoke about 'seeing the white cliffs signifies home-coming for the warriors', there was this faraway look in her English eyes, and I somehow felt her burning patriotism deep in her heart.
We took a stroll along the streets in Carshalton, and I noticed that there are quite a number of antique shops here. Elizabeth told us that some of their furniture actually come from these shops, and people love to shop in such antique shops. You never know what you would get! (Yes indeed, another friend actually picked up a 100-year-old china plate for merely 5 pounds!)
We walked along the canal, listening to the chirps of birds and quacks of ducks, the flapping sounds of wings, and the rustling sounds of leaves. After letting us savour the peaceful sight at the canal, Elizabeth led us to another corner of the town, and brought us to a large tree looming high before us. There was a plate on the ground that says, "This London plane tree as measured by the Forestry Commission in March 1964 is 123ft tall and has a girth of 20ft 11in at a height of 5ft above the ground level. It is the tallest London plane tree known in Britain, and is one of the very few trees of any kind to exceed both 120ft in height and 20ft in girth. The age of the tree is not known with accuracy, but is likely to exceed 200 years." We gaped at the tree which looked hauntingly old. Compared to us, it is old; but compared to the age of nature, this is nothing.
Walking and talking with Elizabeth is never a bore. She always has a lot of stories to tell, and a wealth of knowledge to share. At her age, she's still so fit and active, and is always full of ideas. She loves young people, and we love listening to old people's stories - so this trip is enjoyable for all of us. :-)
On our way back, we saw this squirrel camouflaged amidst the leaves, and Elizabeth started telling us about the red and grey squirrels, how the grey ones threatened the population of the red ones, and how the people tried to save the red ones. I haven't come across the red ones so far, and she said she herself has only managed to see some at the Lake District.
Well, that's it for the sunny afternoon, and we headed back to her house. Lovely stroll, with lovely people. I will keep this in my memory box. Thanks Elizabeth!