Much Hadham & Much Moore

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We were welcomed to Much Hadham by a hysteria of wisteria, as though a single vine had united the genteel facades in a euphoric May bank holiday communal hug. Its root system spread throughout the village, linking the houses with its benevolent infrastructure. Or was that just my imagination? Continue reading “Much Hadham & Much Moore”

Frames of reference

Art & Life (& Memory)

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This painting by Ben Nicholson, titled c.1930 (Cornish Port), features on the cover of Art and Life 1920-1931, the catalogue for the exhibition at Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge, examining the artistic partnership of Ben Nicholson and Winifred Nicholson in the 1920s and their friendship and collaboration with Christopher Wood, Alfred Wallis and the potter William Staite Murray. Continue reading “Art & Life (& Memory)”

Frames of reference

Return To Hampstead Heath

Rembrandt_Self_Portrait_with_Two_Circles_detail

Rembrandt returned to Hampstead Heath last November, back home again to Kenwood House after a holiday whilst the decorators were in. Self Portrait With Two Circles travelled to New York, Houston, Milwaukee, Seattle and Arkansas whilst Kenwood House was closed for over a year for maintenance work. I always like to call in to say hello whenever we’re passing so it was good to catch up. Continue reading “Return To Hampstead Heath”

Frames of reference

Staverton Thicks

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In July I posted Elizabethan Oaks about the ancient oak trees of Hatfield Park, which prompted comments recommending Staverton Thicks, a dense, primeval woodland with the oldest oaks in East Anglia. I was intrigued. I’d not heard of it before. Continue reading “Staverton Thicks”

Frames of reference

Banstead Wood & Mayfield

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In France in early August we’d been too late to see the famous Luberon lavender, but back in England it’s not harvested until September. We went down to Banstead in Surrey to visit Mayfield’s lavender farm. The flowers bloomed in the late August sunshine and the fragrant fields buzzed with intoxicated bees and butterflies and other lavender enthusiasts. Continue reading “Banstead Wood & Mayfield”

Frames of reference

The Fields Of Fyfield

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I’m getting behind. Too many posts and not enough time. This one’s long overdue. We walked this way a month ago or more. It was another suggestion from Christopher Somerville. We printed out the map and the directions only to find when we arrived in Fyfield that I’d left the map at home. The directions were good but occasionally a map would have clarified things. It led to a few differences of opinion and a few trial and error wrong turns and turnarounds. 7½ miles turned out to be more like 10. Continue reading “The Fields Of Fyfield”

Frames of reference

Grand Union @ Wilton’s

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The world’s oldest surviving music hall can still – just – be found…No theatrical facade: just a door set into a peeling wall.

It did take some finding but that’s part of the fun. Once found it’s a place for many happy returns. Wilton’s Music Hall is a fragile survivor, in need of restoration but not too much; it’s shabby chic is a big part of it’s charm. Perhaps stabilisation rather than restoration. Continue reading “Grand Union @ Wilton’s”

Frames of reference

In Epping Forest

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On May Day, a public holiday given over to celebrations of fertility we went looking for maypoles and morris dancers. We went out to Epping Forest and parked by Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge. Straightaway, even before leaving the car, there were grand old characterful trees springing back into life, bursting with new born leaves. Maypoles and morris dancers proved more elusive. Continue reading “In Epping Forest”

Frames of reference

Chequers

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Suddenly last weekend there was unexpected sunshine. I fancied the coast, Sue wanted to go west, we wasted time weighing pros and cons and set out later than we should have. We finally settled on the Chilterns, Sue’s homeland and we began our walk from Butler’s Cross at the foot of Coombe Hill, site of geography field trips to the trig point at its summit. The surrounding hedgerows suggested snakes & ladders as much as chequers and the soundtrack was the song of the skylark. Continue reading “Chequers”

Frames of reference