The Forest Of Bavella

High in the mountains of southern Corsica, on the road above Zonza and the Hippodrome de Viseo, described as Europe’s most elevated racetrack, we came to a hamlet of stone shelters with corrugated iron roofs, a collection of summerhouses and sheepfolds nestled beside the pass. We left the car at the Auberge du Col de Bavella, with the promise of a hearty meal upon our return. Read more

Frames of reference

Patience (After Sebald)

This modest, immensely enjoyable documentary is about one of my favourite books, ‘The Rings of Saturn’ by the German poet and critic W G Sebald, who was born in 1944, taught for much of his adult life in this country, mainly at the University of East Anglia, and was killed in a motor accident in 2001. It was first published in German in 1995, translated into English three years later and is an account of a walking tour of Suffolk, the people he meets, the places he visits, and the historical and literary reflections prompted by what he sees and senses, taking his mind around the world. Suffolk becomes a sort of palimpsest for his eloquent, precise, lugubrious, often drily witty meditations about war, death, destruction and decay, about memories and continuities and the feeling that nothing entirely disappears.

Grant Gee’s film should make anyone want to read ‘The Rings of Saturn’ and the rest of Sebald’s relatively small but exquisite oeuvre, some eight or nine books in all.

Philip French

Frames of reference

In Sebald’s Footsteps

I found this thread on Twitter, from Francisco Cantú. I asked to share it here and he said ‘Of course!’

I spent the last 3 days walking 24 miles across East Anglia, following the footsteps of W.G. Sebald in THE RINGS OF SATURN. It was strange, sad, and wonderful, like living inside a dream about your favorite book. For fellow Sebald fans, here’s a thread with some of what I saw.  Read more

Frames of reference

Iford Manor

It was a chance discovery, and a beautiful surprise. We were in Bristol for the weekend, looking for a day trip. We consulted the National Trust handbook and Westwood Manor near Bradford on Avon seemed promising, but when we got there we found it was closed. So we carried on down the road, a narrow single-track lane that became evermore enclosed by trees, swallowing us up into its holloway and finally spitting us out into the valley of the Frome river. Read more

Frames of reference

Tita

Trio Da Kali & Kronos Quartet – Tita, the first song on their debut album Ladilikan.

‘Tita’ was one of a series of songs that emerged around the time of independence in Mali and Guinea, encouraging the youth to follow their hearts, rather than their elders’ wishes. In this version, the leaders of this movement are the griots themselves, who have ‘fallen in love with love’ – even if it leads to malicious gossip and beatings. The word tita and titawati represented the swish of cloth as a couple danced in ballroom style – a true sign of modernity in Mali of the 1950s!

Trio Da Kali & Kronos Quartet

Frames of reference

A Small Forest

A new window display at The Rowley Gallery by Christopher Corr. We asked him to paint a few trees. A Corr forest, or simply a Corr fest. And each of the four free-standing trees have a painting on each of their four sides, so maybe it’s a fourest of Corrs. Four corrners of the fourest. I’ll stop now. Read more

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Dancersend

May Bank Holiday weekend, on Bottom Road between Tring and Wendover, a single-track road winding through green tunnels and burrowing deep into the Chilterns. We drive the full length of it searching for Dancersend Nature Reserve, without success, and without meeting another vehicle. It’s a quiet secluded stretch of bucolic country lane, absorbing us into its depths and hollows, where overgrown signposts are easily overlooked. Eventually we turn around and head back. Read more

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Gamlingay

Further on down the road we came to Gamlingay, a familiar sounding place, its pretty name once heard and hard to forget. We got lunch at the Cock Inn while villagers hung out flags for St George. And I remembered that the church of St Mary is renowned for its medieval graffiti. Read more

Frames of reference

Hayley Wood

I’d sent out a request via Twitter saying we were planning a weekend in Cambridge and could anyone recommend a woodland walk nearby. I received an intriguing reply from Steve PocockOh, check out Hayley Wood to west of Cambridge. That was one of Oliver Rackham’s stomping grounds where he did a lot of his work on medieval woodlands. Features in his books. Read more

Frames of reference

In Cambridge

As we walked into town we passed the back wall of Emmanuel College, overseen by the great Oriental Plane tree, Platanus orientalis, growing in the Fellows’ Garden. We tried to get a closer look but since neither of us are college fellows we had to be content to view it from a distance. Read more

Frames of reference