We remind ourselves that Britain is still a maritime nation, a favoured land, ‘This sceptred isle….This precious stone set in the silver sea’.
Like Alice’s Wonderland bottle labelled ‘Drink me’, this inviting style seems to say ‘Step over me and explore’. Beyond, off the beaten track, adventure beckons.
Graceful ancient trees like these are part of our nation and culture. They’re a reminder of that ‘tree-delighted Eden’ (C.S.Lewis’s phrase) that lies in the back of our collective memories. They’re living histories, with a story to tell written into their annual growth rings. Continue reading “Treasure our Trees”
What does it take to be an adventurous gardener? Now we have moved into the long warm days of high-summer my cottage borders are a riot of vibrant colour. Am I an adventurous gardener? I’m certainly breaking some accepted garden rules ! I can think of one person who might have approved but also of another who might not ! Continue reading “An Adventurous Gardener”
‘And that will be England gone, the shadows, the meadows, the lanes….. all that remains for us will be concrete and tyres’
On holiday recently, passing mile upon mile of road-side verges sprayed with weedkiller, I couldn’t help thinking of these ringing words from Philip Larkin’s disturbing poem ’Going,Going’. Even back in 1972 he was warning of the way we are trashing our environment. Those sprayed verges are understandable as part of essential high-way maintenance yet, in a way, deeply disturbing. With the road-sides looking like a ‘scorched earth’ policy it raises the question ‘Where have all the wild flowers gone?‘
The Ford at Eynsford in Kent
When we lived in Kent, a favourite short day trip was to the nearby village of Eynsford in the Darent Valley. The valley carves out its graceful course through the hills of the North Downs. This was hop growing country and some is still grown here. It was here that I last heard a cuckoo.
The mood has changed and things have moved on. Spring, which has been ‘all in a rush with richness‘ has now calmed down and settled into the warmth of the ‘lazy days’ of summer. Summer verdure is everywhere—a glorious season of lush growth, beautiful flowers and fruitfulness. Distant views are now masked by the more restrained greens of summer, giving us a feeling of being comfortably embraced by foliage. We’re closed-in with a sense of security and well-being as we enter these cool leafy summer lanes. Continue reading “Leafy Summer Lanes”