Dungeness: dropped from the back of a lorry

This was once a lonely, forgotten place and people who came here did so because they wanted the lifestyle that went with it: private and elemental

Under the looming geometry of the power station, small shacks were dotted about untidily, as if they’d been dropped accidentally from the back of a lorry.  In recent years, the millionaires had arrived.  Some huts had been rebuilt as luxury houses with big glass doors and shiny flues.  Others still looked like they were made from scraps pilfered from a tip.

The Birdwatcher (William Shaw) Continue reading “Dungeness: dropped from the back of a lorry”

The View from Here: Dungeness

The panorama is surreal, alien, unique
The view from here is harsh and it takes no prisoners

I may have been eager for what has seemed like an especially long winter to end, but a small part of me has been glad we have had to wait for a run of reliable spring days, because I have been writing about Dungeness in winter.  A task which doesn’t sit easily among vistas of skipping lambs and primroses, soft blue skies and playful breezes. Continue reading “The View from Here: Dungeness”

In Praise of Trains

High praise from me for trains and train staff of all ages and all eras

I made another trip to Sussex in mid-July, primarily to bring back Mum & Dad for their first visit to us.  To make the trip as productive as possible, and to give Mum & Dad as much independence as possible, we agreed that I would come up the day before to spend time with my friend, Caroline, and the following morning they would manage the first leg of the journey themselves, with us meeting in London.  I left home bright and early in promising sunshine. Continue reading “In Praise of Trains”

The View from Here: vanishing valley, vanishing view

The brume abounded and I abandoned all domestic demands and entered into a quiet, parallel universe

The first third of July passed in a whirl of fatigue, car problems, family dramas, unexpected arrivals, fog, mist and dimpsey days.    Continue reading “The View from Here: vanishing valley, vanishing view”

Half of the Hall Walk

I wonder what thoughts were passing through her mind: what hopes, dreams and expectations. She probably didn’t huff and puff as much as I did

Karina arrived last night.  A whirlwind of enthusiasm and energy, ours is a friendship of opposites.  We met when she enrolled her son at the school where I taught; and in time she became a member of staff herself. When the school closed our friendship continued to blossom.  I like and admire her for her forthrightness, her spirited independence and her passion.  Where I am reticent in revealing my feelings, Karina wears her heart on her sleeve and can be no other way.  It was a joy to welcome her to Highfield. Continue reading “Half of the Hall Walk”

The view from Here: under the tree on a sunny afternoon

For a while a single buzzard owned the space between the earth below and the heavens above, framed by the branches over my head which arched so I felt like I was watching this scene from a silent, vaulted cathedral

I have a picture in our bedroom: Roses by Peder Kroyer, painted in 1893.  It’s of a woman wearing a long white dress and she is reading – sitting in a garden chair in the sunshine with a large floriferous white rose in the foreground.  Continue reading “The view from Here: under the tree on a sunny afternoon”

Boys on the Beach: Millendreath

I might even be prevailed upon to paddle next time

Before I stopped working, I worked with several people who knew this part of Cornwall well.  They have been a real help in offering advice and giving us the lowdown on places to see, shops to visit.  And on this occasion, in suggesting beaches for children.  Continue reading “Boys on the Beach: Millendreath”

The View from Here: we made it to the far side

The view from here is priceless

Evan and I went exploring in the field.  The field slopes fiercely.  It’s lumpy and bumpy.  There are – or were – no paths.  A wild wonderland for an intrepid boy with an imagination. Continue reading “The View from Here: we made it to the far side”

The View from Here: first visitors

… up the hill behind the house and beyond – where the steep climb is rewarded by a view over the countryside that leaves you feeling you’re on top of the world

A key reason for choosing this house was to entertain.  This is quite a contrast from the quiet life we were living in Mixbury when visitors were relatively rare.  Here the plan is to have many visitors, with space to spread out and freedom for people to come and go and enjoy this lovely corner of Cornwall (as well as our company!) Continue reading “The View from Here: first visitors”