We stop to tickle the horses’ noses and listen to the birdsong along the valley before cutting up to walk back through the chocolate box hamlet of Latimer and the extraordinary Boer War memorials on the green that hints of battles fought and lost in a far-off land and a horse's heart buried in Latimer.
Forget M&S orchids, manicured to within an inch of their pampered lives and head instead to the nearest Chilterns summer meadow. The footpath glistens underfoot as it cuts through the drooping wild grasses, my wet boots and trouser legs a magnet for seed dispersal. The daisy petals are splayed under the relentless June rain, which … Continue reading Simple Orchids. Simply Beautiful
Part of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site, Avebury is the more intriguing spectacle; a mishmash of the quaint, medieval, neolithic monuments, ditches, hedgehogs and druids. Thousands of years of chalk dust, stirred up by the tread of leather along the Ridgeway and around the ancient stones and mysterious monuments that dot the Wiltshire … Continue reading Who knew Hedgehogs could dominate the landscape?
For all the summer crowds, we were so surprised to have what seemed like the place to ourselves, if the killer seagulls weren't going to peck us to death first. I dug out the shoe-box of yellowing holiday snaps to remind myself of where we had been and what we had done on our last … Continue reading Cornwall really does what it says on the tin
It’s not about bagging bucket-list miles, or even bragging about bagging holiday sights, it’s about stopping and looking for the clues that point to natural and man-made structures - or subtle signs of earlier lives that are integral to a locations ‘sense-of-place’ so often missed in the quest to capture that grand vista, or complete that big trek. The Chilterns … Continue reading I am no longer just passing through this landscape
“The Rose Garden was described by designer Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe as a vegetable form, like a cabbage, with each bed intended to envelop the visitor and draw them deeper into the garden,” explained Cliveden head gardener Andrew Mudge. Much like the entire National Trust estate at Cliveden, drawing you in up the drive as you … Continue reading Inspired Chilterns’ Landscapes at National Trust Cliveden
It’s not very often the men in suits upstage a Roman antiquity. I was invited to the special opening of “Predators and Prey: A Roman mosaic from Lod, Isreal” at the splendid Rothschild mansion of Waddesdon Manor in leafy Buckinghamshire, a short train journey north west of London. The reason we were there was kept under … Continue reading A rallying cry from London’s Mayor: Let’s put the grout back into Britain!
But hearing a Swedish-Canadian pronounce Norfolk place names is something to savour. Norfolk is not as flat as I imaged. Not quite soaring peaks, but some respectable bumps that know not to out-do those famous big skies and far-off horizons. I had been openly mocked for going there for a long weekend; why not the … Continue reading English is a nightmare. Even for the natives.
“Is this place only full of old people?” is what I hear from younger family members who dig deep to drum up enthusiasm for yet more hunt-the-horses, or count-the-crests whilst we visit another National Trust (NT) property. “Don’t go anywhere, near anything, or see if you can fit into that wardrobe, just in case, god … Continue reading Do Small Children Like to Wear Lavender?
England is full of quaint customs - some funny and others frankly bizarre. Some with origins lost or simply re-invigorated to suit modern tastes and bank holidays. Swan Upping is neither. Firmly routed in the 12th century, it is both necessary for conservation of mute swans and acts as a gentle reminder of just who … Continue reading Mind the Swan Uppers on your way up the river!