A Walk From Hawkley

These ancient yew trees are in the churchyard at Hawkley in Hampshire. I’d discovered them via the Ancient Tree Inventory. We’d come down from London to meet Howard Phipps who was coming up from Salisbury with a windowful of wood engravings in the back of his car. And surprisingly we got there first, so I went looking for trees. Continue reading “A Walk From Hawkley”

Frames of reference

St Paul’s Walden & Around

Another Sunday church, another country walk. This was June last year, and another from the Hertfordshire Walks website. We started out at the church in St Paul’s Walden. I guessed it must be called St Paul’s, but when I searched online just now I found All Saints Church. And I also found its vicar is Canon Stephen Fielding, who we knew from St Mary Abbots in Kensington. What a small world! I wish now that we’d stopped to say hello. He had introduced a Living Advent Calendar to Kensington, so that the windows of local businesses became part of a borough-wide Christmas countdown. We had twice taken part at the Rowley Gallery with special window displays by Joseph Silcott in 2016 and Susie Freeman in 2017. Continue reading “St Paul’s Walden & Around”

Frames of reference

Little Berkhamsted & Essendon

St Andrew’s Church at Little Berkhamsted is, like so many village churches, a place of worship surrounded by trees. Ancient trees are often found in churchyards. I imagine they’re vestigial survivors of the original forest, before it was cleared for farming and agriculture. Or planted as replicas of the Garden of Eden. A woodland glade is a naturally consecrated place. Continue reading “Little Berkhamsted & Essendon”

Frames of reference

From Ayot St Lawrence (Again)

Earlier this year (it was April, a week after we’d walked from Aspenden), and a walk that went unrecorded, in waybegone daze, that seems more like eight years ago now than just eight months. How can one year feel like so many more? We’d returned to Ayot St Lawrence again, but this time we’d been spun off in a different direction to last time. Continue reading “From Ayot St Lawrence (Again)”

Frames of reference

In Siracusa

Long ago and far away. 2018, in the back streets of Ortigia. Before Brexit and before Covid, when holidays were not so unusual. I’m looking back at old photos as a kind of vicarious vacation, an escape from our day to day to yesterday. We’d been here for a couple of weeks, exploring the island and the countryside round about. On this day we walked from Ortigia back into mainland Siracusa to discover the Latomia dei Cappuccini and the Catacombs of San Giovanni. Continue reading “In Siracusa”

Frames of reference

The Armada

I drove to work early but I arrived late. I’d forgotten about all the extra school-run traffic. It was 9:30 when I got to Notting Hill Gate and my ticket was for 10 o’clock at Piccadilly. I walked through the park, dodging cyclists, dazzled by trees, energised by the green space on our doorstep that I so often overlook, thinking I must do this more often, but knowing I wouldn’t. I should’ve been working. It was 10:10 when I got to the Royal Academy. Continue reading “The Armada”

Frames of reference

Silton Oak, Dorsetshire

Engrav’d by J.Greig for the Antiquarian & Topographical Cabinet
from a Drawing by J.Fenton Esq.

When this engraving was first published in 1810, the Silton Oak was already considered to be an antiquarian and topographical curiosity. Over 200 years later and it still charms us with its stoic endurance, a vigorous but shrinking survivor of a once much larger millennial oak tree. Continue reading “Silton Oak, Dorsetshire”

Frames of reference

A Holloways Walk

We came to Symondsbury for breakfast, the best coffee and bacon roll in months, then down past the church and up the hill to Shute’s Lane. We were staying under Eggardon and we’d already driven down a tunnel of green lanes to get here. This one was closed to traffic so now we were on foot. Continue reading “A Holloways Walk”

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Deep Lanes & Holloways

We were in West Dorset at last and I was elated. I’d long wanted to drive these roads. We were in a maze of high banks and hedgerows, hidden from the wind, burrowing back down to earth, gone to ground. Continue reading “Deep Lanes & Holloways”

Frames of reference