Category England

Great skies at night

I grew up only 50 miles from London, in a village which was connected to the rest of the world by a bus, and not very much else. Living far from school meant that we quickly developed a degree of independence which I think is probably unusual in children today. Every day, from the age […]

A seventeenth century convergence

The diamond-pattern box parterre at Ham House in London is filled with Dutch Lavender. This forms part of extensive and beautiful seventeenth century gardens just a short walk from the River Thames, and barely changed in 300 years. It’s a lovely place to picnic. I am linking this post up to WordPress’s photo challenge on […]

The #Flying100 Family Holiday Challenge

My son J was nearly seven when I met him, and the last thing on my mind that first blissful summer was flying off into the sun. Just the opposite in fact. He’d had a very difficult start to life and had spent four years in foster care. So we stayed put so that J […]

Where danger lurks

With adventure comes risk, but these photographs were taken not in a war zone or in a scientific compound, but on the street where children are free to walk. What kind of world have we created for ourselves? I am linking this post up to WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge on the theme of Adventure.

Weekly photo challenge: Texture

My son J and I are walking the length of the South Downs Way together, a distance of 100 miles or 161 kilometres, between Eastbourne and Winchester in the South of England. This journey travels the spine of the chalky Downs, sometimes following coastal paths, but mostly straying far inland. This post, on the theme […]

Flow’rs of middle summer

      Hot lavender, mints, savory, marjoram; The marigold that goes to bed wi’ th’ sun, That with him rises weeping; these are flow’rs Of middle summer, and I think they are given To men of middle age.   There is nothing …. and no, really I mean nothing….. that I would rather do […]

Weekly Photo Challenge: Room

The toilet tent is one of our more important pieces of kit. It is only ever put up for our longer Woodcraft Folk camps – so those which last a week or more. One of the adult campers has responsibility for emptying the chemical toilet, keeping it clean, stocking up the supplies of toilet paper, […]

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument

A challenge for all you non British readers: name this monumental artwork. There are clues to the location in my description of our long distance walk of the St Cuthbert’s Way. You need another clue? The same artist created a Field of 35,000 individual terracotta figures, each between 8 and 26 cm high in 1991. […]

Our first camp

Our first camp together was in Spring 2006, a cool and damp long weekend in fields near Danbury in the Essex countryside. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that when I look back at photos of our Woodcraft Folk camps, they somehow all look the same. We’ve put up our Force 10s all over the […]

Northumberland, UK: Long distance walking, the St Cuthbert’s way

There is something very stirring, romantic even, about the idea of walking across an unmanned border from one country into another. For me, scenes and tunes from the Sound of Music certainly play their part, but there are other more profound resonances. My mother, not long before she died, wrote about her family’s escape from […]

Hailsham, England: Winter skiing on a budget

I suspect that most of us are both cash-strapped and time-starved at this time of the year. My teenage son J tried out the dry ski slope at Knockhatch in East Sussex last winter and loved it! Just close your eyes and think of Austria… […]