Ayot & Ayot Again

Three weeks later and we were back again, to begin again, this time from Ayot St Lawrence instead of Wheathampstead. It was early October and the wasps were still browsing drowsy on the ivy. Continue reading “Ayot & Ayot Again”

Frames of reference

Newport, Widdington & Debden

We crossed the footbridge at Newport railway station, over the West Anglia Main Line between Elsenham and Audley End, forty miles north along the route from London Liverpool Street to Cambridge. The track was quiet, the train had just disappeared and taken all the noise and commotion with it. We were left with a few bubbles of birdsong in its wake. Continue reading “Newport, Widdington & Debden”

Frames of reference

Galley Hill Green

A way-sign lost in the brambles, another signpost in the passage of time. The year telescopes down with each remembered walk swallowed up by the next one. The days are condensed, each shorter than the last (now getting longer), summer sunshine stored away to illuminate winter hibernation. Continue reading “Galley Hill Green”

Frames of reference

Paglesham

This was another walk we’d done before, so once again we were going over old ground, but not necessarily knowing the way. We may have already been here but that doesn’t mean we’d left our mark. We were backtracking but we were not remembered and we all look different every time. Continue reading “Paglesham”

Frames of reference

Deacon Hill

We left the car on Great Green by the Motte & Bailey pub in the village of Pirton, not far from our previous walk to Kingswalden Park, attracted back again by the promise of more green lanes and Hertfordshire hedgerows. We left the village and straightaway we were on the Icknield Way. Continue reading “Deacon Hill”

Frames of reference

Selborne

Selborne was the perfect rendezvous, being halfway between London and Salisbury. We came down and Howard Phipps came up and we met in the middle, in a field just off Gracious Street, the car park of the Gilbert White Museum, where we transferred the contents of Howard’s car boot to ours, in preparation for his exhibition in the Rowley Gallery window. But not before a lovely sunny walk around the outskirts of the village. And this map, embedded in the vicarage wall, dated 2 June 1953, is as old as I am. Continue reading “Selborne”

Frames of reference

The Dorset Coast

The Dorset Coast: from Chesil Beach to the Isle of Purbeck.

Living in south west Wiltshire I am frequently drawn to neighbouring Dorset to walk some of the paths along its geologically varied coastline. I like to draw or paint on location, and I subsequently develop a number of my observations into wood engravings or linocuts. Both are methods of making relief prints, the former being a very English art form developed by Thomas Bewick in the 18th Century, where the engraving is made on highly polished end grain boxwood, which on completion is inked with a roller and printed by hand, in my case using an Albion Press made in 1862. Continue reading “The Dorset Coast”

Frames of reference

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

Greensted Church

From Chipping Ongar we followed the Essex Way, a long straight track heading west out of town through fields of barley, towards a distant dust storm. The path was fragrant with chamomile under our feet, and luckily, by the time we reached it, the combine harvester had stopped to let us pass. Continue reading “Greensted Church”

Frames of reference