Memories are made of this. It was all very Brief Encounter. Clouds of steam on a quaint platform. A whistle. A chug of the wheels and a prolonged hiss, as train 31806 came to a halt. I should have been wearing gloves and a hat. I was transported back to a time when travel was slow, genteel and convivial; shared flasks of hot tea, pork pies … Continue reading The Age Of Steam.
Toiling up and down coastal cliffs from White Nothe to Durdle Door was breath-taking in more ways than one. But it was a piece of cake compared to what came next. Spectacular views come at a price – at least for us – up and down, up and down, ‘and when they were only half-way up they were neither up nor down’. I felt like … Continue reading More Summer On The South West Coast.
The English non summer didn’t stop us getting some walking in. Tully and Harley didn’t care about rain or grey skies and nor we decided should we. As Ruskin said there is no such thing as bad weather – just bad clothes. Besides the South West Coast path ran almost in front of the door, and it would have been a crime to miss it. … Continue reading Summer On The South West Coast.
We spent the British summer (grim, grey and shower after shower) in Weymouth, looking after the gorgeous Harley and Tully, and Batman the cat. (I cannot think of Batman without that soundtrack running through my head). The dogs were gorgeous cocker spaniels; so pretty with ruffled ears like flowing locks. Tully, small and nimble, golden like soft brown sugar. Harley, always with a lopsided cheeky … Continue reading Oh, I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside.
It’s well known that the English are eccentric. ‘Only mad dogs and English men…’ and all that. Nothing expresses this national characteristic more than the passion for folly building. Aristocrats with more money than sense set up turreted towers, sham castles and ornamental gateways on hill-tops, in gardens, and in the middle of nowhere, for no better reason than that they could. These places are … Continue reading Foibles and Follies.
The padlocked wrought-iron gates barred our way. In the inner courtyard, a flock of twenty-something pigeons took flight as one, filling the silence with a flutter of wings, and the emptiness with a scratch of charcoal grey. In the eastern cemetery a skinny fox sauntered amongst the tombstones, turning to look back at us, tongue lolling from the corner of his mouth, before he disappeared … Continue reading Highgate Cemetery. Fairyland With An Edge.
‘Well done. The kids will be delighted’, she said as she turned to face us, trowel poised mid-air, ‘We were a bit short-handed this year, we didn’t have time to put out the explanations.’ It was the music notes that gave it away – although, I admit, not to me, but to Jim. Those, and the big fat moustache. The trowel plunged downwards again and … Continue reading ‘Excuse Me, Is That Elgar?’
Our latest house-sit in a converted Georgian chapel was going to be all about relaxing – watching Wimbledon, (and the test match for Jim) – writing, reading and cooking for me. The dogs are Spotty – a Jack Russell her owners say, but she looks more like a Chihuahua; and Dag (short for Dagley) a Heinz 57 variety (he does look like a Jack Russell!). … Continue reading The Best Laid Plans…..
The farm nestled in a bend on the road – less of a road, more of a lane – narrow, leafy and green. The white-washed stone cottage sat hidden, surrounded by trees, fields, woods and wild flowers. I pushed open the metal gate, and Sally appeared on the doorstep as Merl and Mia, two cocker/springer spaniel crosses bounded towards us. Sally was a stranger, but we were … Continue reading Carmarthenshire – Coast And Castles.
February. We’d arranged to look after Sophie and Bobby in the New Forest. Two labradors. One golden. One chocolate. Both gorgeous. Sophie is nine. A dog with selective hearing. Always hanging back, rolling in something unsavoury, eating something disgusting. She’ll come back when she’s ready, tongue lolling, looking up at me as if she’s laughing; sticking her nose into my pocket hoping for a treat. … Continue reading Out of Season. Out of Time.