The weight of history is upon Jon Tyler’s broad shoulders as one of the last producers of watercress in the Chilterns. Located in the beautiful Chess Valley that links Chesham in the Chilterns with Rickmansworth just inside the M25, E. Tyler & Son’s Crestyl Watercress farm is something of a novelty; in a high tech … Continue reading Tools of the Trade
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.
Meet the vintner who reaches deep into the South African soil and history, who like a good wine, has blended ancient rocks, sunlight, the smell and memories the soil holds, Cape honey bees, Cornish tin miners and black magic. All of which have cast a spell over me! The hot summer night air was conducive … Continue reading The Vintner with Rocks in his Pockets
The United States national parks celebrate an impressive 100th anniversary year in 2016 and what a privilege it was to re-visit some of the national parks over the summer. Living on an island that would easily fit into some of the American national parks, I had forgotten about the space, big skies, sheer spectacle, that if you don’t have a … Continue reading United Selfies of America
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
On a recent visit to Belgium, I was both challenged and surprised with what I experienced; a restored heritage village whose retail offer was just a bread vending machine, enjoyed gourmet food, drank Leffe abbey beer, visited a castle haunted by a KKK look-alike ghost, had breakfast with pensioners visiting the many scenes from the famous … Continue reading The great Brexit debate
Forget the Taj Mahal, Tutankhamen's Tomb or even Tower Bridge: all grand in their own right, statements of wealth, status, conquest and achievement of the privileged elite and their contribution to society. Head instead to a place that is the ultimate leveller, a place where death insists the great and good spend eternity lying cheek by jowl with the infamous, … Continue reading When a man is tired of London, he should head to Highgate Cemetery
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
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!