Category: Places and Prose

In the gardens of Coughton Court…

Coughton Court in Warwickshire, fifteen miles from Stratford-on-Avon, is the ancestral home of the Throckmortons, one of the UK’s oldest catholic families and a place of great intrigue during the time of religious persecution. It still possesses some of the best concealed ‘priest holes’ in the country. It also boasts a beautiful walled garden, worth visiting in its own right… The name Coughton (pronounce … Read More In the gardens of Coughton Court…

Orderly and Aligned?

There’s an old aphorism in the field of teaching mysticism: that if you endeavour to do something of significance; something that requires careful planning and even more careful resourcing, then you will be surprised how ‘testing’ the ‘final approach to the event will be. Moreover, the difficulties thrown at one may- humorously – be taken as a reflection of the event’s importance. The word’s … Read More Orderly and Aligned?

Enduring Magic of the Stone Jetty

The great Victorian steamers that used to take excited day-trippers across Morecambe Bay to glimpse the still distant splendour of the Lakeland fells are gone. Much later, old and tired ships would be chained to the north side of the industrial dock and broken up for valuable iron; to be re-smelted and given new life via giant and ‘satanic’ furnaces in Salford and Sheffield. … Read More Enduring Magic of the Stone Jetty

Light in the Park

It’s not a park in the usual sense of the word. Levens Park is the ancestral home of the Bagot Family who maintain a footpath along both sides of the often turbulent River Kent as it winds its last mile out to join the vast expanse of Morecambe Bay. The ‘park’ is the perfect place to walk the collie. A round trip from Sedgwick … Read More Light in the Park

Blossom in the Park

We all love blossom, and the time of year with which it is associated. That visceral feeling of renewal is a deeply tangible thing. It’s difficult to photograph, in my experience. Ideally, you get yourself beneath the tree and point the camera upwards – becoming wrapped in the soft light beneath the floral canopy. No such luck with this one, taken at Grange-over-Sands, yesterday. … Read More Blossom in the Park

ButWhatIsIt? #5

Badly out of pocket in Limoncello after the eagle-eyed spotters of last week’s ‘groyne’ image cut through my deviousness, I’ve upped the ante with this one… The cunning clue: you wouldn’t want to get caught the wrong side of it! ++++++++++++++++++++ Answer Time ++++++++++++++++++++++ There were no fully correct answers. Audrey Driscoll came the closest, but I’m going to be magnanimous with this one … Read More ButWhatIsIt? #5

Dictators way

Devoid of real feeling, the Dictator treads his lonely way along his chosen, barren path. All around him is life, in its shared love and simplicity, but he stays true to the vastness of his egoic channel, long baked by hate into clay that will not sustain growing things. Behind him, the mountains of ambition keep him focussed on the goal, which he thinks … Read More Dictators way

That early January feeling…

It was the Christmas tree outside the Booths supermarket that triggered the thoughts… Now pale against the bright January sun and the crisp cold, its icy beauty was somehow less than the real thing, a warming image of a Christmas now gone and packed up into the storage boxes under the eaves. Ahead of me, the Kendal district of Fellside climbed up in the … Read More That early January feeling…

Childhood’s end?

Some experiences are tiny and subtle; you don’t expect to remember them. But, days after, I was still thinking about that line of writing on the wall, in the last of the summer sunshine… I’m a north-west lad; deeply Lancashire in my roots, though well-travelled from a business perspective. But one of my favourite parts of the UK is the North-East coast, from Whitby … Read More Childhood’s end?

Wootton Rivers

We’re spending a few days in the Wiltshire village of Wootton Rivers. Set in the middle of the ancient Vale of Pewsey, its fertile farmland has a documented history going back to the Bronze Age. But we’re not here for the history… It’s a long way from Cumbria. The clue to why we’re here is the village’s proximity to Avebury, home of Britain’s largest … Read More Wootton Rivers

Two journeys, one destination

I remember listening to T. S. Eliot reading his poem The Four Quartets for the first time. The words held me spellbound: “We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time.” My wife and I had first travelled to Inverness four years ago, we came … Read More Two journeys, one destination

Brave acts, Books and Buns…

Mum had begun to look restless. She’d spotted something… We’d skipped breakfast, and were hungry, but had been assured that our destination was more than capable of feeding us. Overhead, an old steam engine thundered – way too fast – towards a bend in the track. I would have studied its doomed motion had my mother, who, at ninety, has dementia, not just wandered … Read More Brave acts, Books and Buns…

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