Friday, June 26, 2009

Midsummer Walkies

Today Pippa and I went to St Leonard's Forest which is part of the Sussex Weald, near Horsham.

(As ever, please click on pictures to enlarge them.)

This is her idea of a "walk":

With lots of sticks to play with:

We saw the last of the foxgloves:

and the first of the bramble flowers:

And the atmosphere felt like this:

Street pianos

Yesterday my husband was in London and reported to me that there are pianos there now, out on the street, that anyone can play. They have signs on saying "Play me, I'm yours". He played one.

Sadly they're not permanent, they're just in place until 13th July. An amazing idea though. It sounds like the kind of thing we would see abroad and say, "I wish they would do things like this in London but I can't imagine it ever working."

There's an article about it here.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Worcester station gate

This gate is at the back of Worcester Foregate Street railway station. The windows you can see behind it are of the station stair-case.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

In the woods above Worth

Even where I park the car is pretty:

But Pippa wants to run so we set off:

pausing to admire more little flowers:

The foxgloves will be out soon:

From these tall trees comes the loudest birdsong of any of our walks:

The smaller trees either side cast shade,

but where the path broadens out and light gets in, the sandy soil here heats up quickly:

For all its mystery,

This is a working wood, with coppice:

as well as felling of large oaks:

Looking up into the arms of a beech tree:

The vigour of an oak bursting through its trunk:

The South Downs in the distance: we'll go there another day.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Walkies in the Ashdown Forest

(you can click on the pictures to enlarge them)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Pondering English things

A few minutes ago I read a pleasant and enjoyable blog entry about some dances at a cultural festival for spring. This was in the north of England. There were photographs of dances from southern Africa, from the Alps, and from France. There were none of English dances. Perhaps the blogger didn't happen to get a good shot of them; perhaps there were none at the festival. It did make me wonder though why dances and culture from abroad is often of so much more interest to English people than our own. I know we are very porous, very open (in many cases), and that tolerance or even eagerness to absorb outside influence is itself an English characteristic.

I thought briefly of morris-dancing, something I always love to watch but people I'm with seem to find somehow embarrassing.

I feel myself dashing to add all sorts of caveats and explanations here, about not wishing to return to the past, about recognising the fluidity of culture and so on. But instead I will choose to think that readers know I'm not a Daily Mail type. My blog, my thoughts.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

May Day

It is very nearly the 1st of May. I'm so buzzing with excitement, and I find it hard to say why. Maybe I'll blog more about this tomorrow when I have time, and find a few links and pictures.

But in the meantime I wish a fine May Day to you all.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Tea-shops I Have Known

I was inspired by this post from Weaver of Grass ( to jot down my favourite tea-shops. I like a cup of tea at home, and making scones, but going to a good tea-shop also comes a long way up my list of favourite things to do away from home.

The first tea-shop I remember is De Grey's in Ludlow. Very posh, very traditional:

Now I don't know whether it's still the same, possibly not, but when I lived in Malvern, the cafe at St Anne's Well was great fun:

In Cambridge, I frequented a place in All Saints Passage but I gather it's now chagned. They did very nice cinamon-butter crumpettes.

During one long vac I discovered the Bridge Tearoom in Bradford-on-Avon: This place is brilliant. If you like tea, or particularly cake, go there.

On the north side of Clapham Common was another haunt of mine, but it too has changed names. It might still be good for all I know. I remember particularly the almond tart there.

And finally the present. Two or three years ago my husband planned the most amazing birthday for me, which included a day in Wisley, and then tea in the treehouse here:

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I love trains

Seen from the car in north Norfolk last summer. Please click on the picture to see it properly.

Have you seen this?

A couple of days ago I found a new favourite blog, here:

You might or might not be especially interested in old churches, but the ones the author chooses always seem to be special, and he writes with great knowledge and enthusiasm. Have a look.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Retail Therapy

(This post is in response to a suggestion kindly offered by Dirt Princess, who showed pictures of her neighbourhood:

Today I am off to do a spot of shopping. So I leave the house,

and set off up the street:

All of the front gardens are different. Some are modern:

Some more traditional:

At the end of the street there are a vet's, a hairdresser's, a fishing tackle shop, a newsagent, a tiny supermarket, and my destination:

Having made my selection, I walk back down the other side, to see different gardens including this one:

Back home again,

... where my purchase is inspected by the quality control department:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Passing through

During my travels at the week-end I passed through Wellingborough railway station. The detail of the architecture caught my eye.

From Wikipedia I learn that it was built in 1857 (designed by C A Driver). There is apparently a plan to rotate the whole building shortly when that part of the town is rebuilt. Even more uncanny is the detail of an accident in 1898 when a trolley ran onto the track in front of an express train, killing 6 people and injuring 65: a ripple nearly lost in time.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Walk in the Park

Today I went to meet two friends in London. I am happy to report we had a pleasant and totally respectable afternoon.

I took some photographs of my walk from St James's Park underground station to Piccadilly.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wollaton Park

Last Sunday I was very kindly taken to see Wollaton Park, in Nottingham. This is an Elizabethan mansion which has been a city museum since the 1920s, originally solely for natural history. I loved the setting, on the brow of a hill in a spacious country park:

The building has been redolent of learning from its original decoration with heads of classical scholars:

The windows look out to terraces and planting that feel very nineteenth century:

But behind the solid doors,

... surprises are waiting,

And they've brought their friends and relations...

You feel as though the 1920s exhibits remain, and only the attendants and visitors have moved on:

The modern touches are light,

and the next generation is already here:

And after all that it's out for a cup of tea in a very handsome service block:

which is more vernacular viewed from within:

Refreshed, we went for a wander through the park and admired the deer (on a golf course, ha!)

I loved seeing them reflected in this:

which was outside the Camellia House (sadly not open, perhaps because it is full to the brim with plants)

And finally down to the lake, in the last of the afternoon sunshine: