Epping Long Green (2)

We first discovered Epping Long Green a week ago – Epping Long Green (1) – but then realised we’d only seen a part of it, so today we came back to explore its full length. We started from Epping Green and walked west, retracing our steps from last week as far as this fingerpost. Then we turned around and walked back and continued east to the furthest extent before returning to where we started from. But not before a quick figure-of-eight turnaround in the woods. Continue reading “Epping Long Green (2)”

Frames of reference

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”

Frames of reference

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”

Frames of reference

From Saint-Florent

Earlier last year we were in Corsica again, this time staying in St-Florent. Our house was on the edge of the town, with a view eastward across a field to the ancient cathedral and the hills and mountains beyond. This was the heart of the Roman town, before the Genoese new town developed on the coast. Continue reading “From Saint-Florent”

Frames of reference

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”

Frames of reference

La Balagne

For one week in May this was our bedroom window, with its view of the Golfe de Calvi and the mountains beyond, with Monte Grosso 1,938 metres and Monte Padro 2,393 metres, two of the highest in Corsica. Every morning their silhouette was gradually illuminated as the sun rose behind them, projecting fast-moving cloud shadows onto their faces, with every morning a different view. Continue reading “La Balagne”

Frames of reference

Nature’s Vanishing Trick

This from Robert Macfarlane –

My teenage daughter Lily made this short video to try and explain to other young people — and to herself — why biodiversity loss, extinction & vanishing species really, really matter. It’s spoken from the heart. It’s about one of the vital issues of our times. Please share, show, discuss.

The video is free to use by anyone in any setting; no need to seek Lily’s permission or even to credit her. She just wants it to be seen, and for it to prompt discussion, awareness, action and change.

If you do want to acknowledge her, she’s Lily Macfarlane, and the video first went up on my Twitter feed (@RobGMacfarlane).

The video was made with the encouragement and support of Action For Conservation, an inspirational young conservation charity working with 12 to 17 year olds, for which Lily became a ‘youth ambassador’. Find out more about their amazing work at actionforconservation.org

Frames of reference

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

A Wildlife Window

This month our window is home to a gathering of wildlife. There were just a few creatures here to begin with, but as the days go by and word spreads, more and more are turning up to congregate and bear witness and share the spotlight of our communal window. It’s become a wildlife refuge. Continue reading “A Wildlife Window”

Frames of reference

Fonte Ciane

Two days on the island was playing tricks with my head. Maybe it was the heat. But for our first outing we escaped the endless tourist stroll around the streets of Ortigia and headed for Fonte Ciane, and the promise of a gentle walk upstream along the banks of the river to its source. No more aimless wandering, now we had a goal, what could be more simple? The directions were straightforward, it was listed in all the guidebooks, we crossed over to the mainland and followed the signs. Continue reading “Fonte Ciane”

Frames of reference