Walking In The Woods (1)

I’ve been suffering woods withdrawal, I’m yearning for a dose of the green stuff. It seems like such a long time since we ventured more than a few miles from home to go for a walk in the woods. So I’ve been scouring the archives for unposted photos, stashed away overlooked down the back of the sofa or hidden in the depths of a forgotten rucksack. Epping Forest has been out of bounds because of COVID-19 restrictions, but I managed to find a few photos we took earlier, before lockdown. Continue reading “Walking In The Woods (1)”

Frames of reference

Hatfield Forest

Another Covid walk, this time back in early September last year. We’d been wondering about returning to Hatfield Forest for months, but each time we checked the National Trust website we were discouraged from visiting. The car park had to be booked in advance, and whenever we tried it appeared to be full. You will be turned away if you arrive without booking. So, in the end, we decided to drive to the nearby village of Hatfield Broad Oak and walk to the forest from there. Continue reading “Hatfield Forest”

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Pantalica

Sitting here on lockdown, having earlier walked our prescribed exercise route, carefully plotted through burgeoning local parks and side roads, the trees and hedges heavy with blossom and alive with birdsong, more-so it seems than ever this year. Strange contrast with the quiet tragedy unfolding around us, the closed doors and closed curtains and the quiet ambulances in the streets. I’m itchy to be away from here but there’s nowhere to go. So I’m looking back through old photos and I find myself in Sicily, two years ago when we were free to go wherever we pleased. We were staying in Syracuse, on the island of Ortigia, and each day we went off in a different direction. On this day we headed inland, due west to the ancient prehistoric site of Pantalica. Continue reading “Pantalica”

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A Walk In The Nebbio

We’d picked up a little brochure of local walks from Tourist Information in St-Florent, and this one was just up the road from the spectacular black and white church of San Michele de Murato. It was listed as Balade dans le Nebbiu (stroll in the fog). The Nebbio is the region of Corsica inland from St-Florent, a hinterland enclosed by an amphitheatre of hills, that takes its name from the heavy mists that descend in winter. Today was not sunny, but thankfully we were not enveloped in clouds. Continue reading “A Walk In The Nebbio”

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Epping Forest x 3

Three walks in Epping Forest, all within the past few weeks. This time of year I can’t get enough of its green light to escape the city. I never lived in a forest but this place always feels like home. Maybe I did in a previous life, maybe we all did, maybe this is the nearest thing to a prelapsarian London. Continue reading “Epping Forest x 3”

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Le Chêne Vert

This little painting hung on the wall of our house in Calvi. It looked like the campanile of one of the churches we visited yesterday, perhaps in Calenzana or maybe Montemaggiore.

The Genoese… besides tending their gardens, they built churches, so many over the centuries… that the region was called ‘holy Balagne’; today their bell towers charmingly punctuate the landscape like a series of mild exclamation marks.

Corsica: Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

But when I took it down I found Église d’Avapessa handwritten on the back. Continue reading “Le Chêne Vert”

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In The Bleak Midwinter


A bright window packed with small beauties for these dark days, a fast-moving festive feast for the eyes. As works sell they will be replaced by more in an ongoing ever-changing pageant of delights.  Continue reading “In The Bleak Midwinter”

Frames of reference

Knepp

Karen had just finished reading Wilding and was recommending it to everyone, saying it was the best book she’d read in ages. It’s the story of an experiment to rewild a West Sussex farm, restoring the land and its wildlife. It’s written by Isabella Tree who, together with her husband Charlie Burrell, is the owner of the Knepp Wildland Project. Dominic said he’d visited Knepp Castle many years ago, so as a surprise, whilst he was away in Spain, we arranged a works outing for when he returned. Continue reading “Knepp”

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Filitosa

We came to Filitosa by a circuitous route from Propriano via Sollacaro, a handsome old village perché of granite houses that almost seem to have sprouted organically from the terraced mountainside. As we descended into the Taravo valley we passed what appeared to be pumpkins hanging from the olive trees. I stopped the car and we got out for a closer look. We discovered bundles of cheesecloth tied to the branches. Perhaps it was a local cheese, a speciality of Sollacaro maturing in the olive groves? Continue reading “Filitosa”

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At White House Farm

White House Farm at Great Glemham in Suffolk has 120 acres of historic watermeadows, arable land and woodland, home to a fine collection of ancient oak trees set in parkland grazed by the farm’s flock of Alde Valley sheep. The farm also hosts a continuing succession of residencies for artists, writers, makers and musicians, and each year the Alde Valley Spring Festival shows off their work. This year the festival theme was Quercus & Co, a celebration of the English oak, and featured an exhibition of paintings and drawings of veteran trees and woodland by Jelly Green. It was not difficult to find. Posters of her Puzzlewood painting led me from the A12 down the country lanes to the farm. Continue reading “At White House Farm”

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