Sunday, 28 March 2010


Film of the week, at least until I go to see I Love You Phillip Morris tomorrow, is Seraphine de Senlis. The beautifully drawn out portrait of the naive artist has won a stack of awards, well deserved.This article in the Guardian draws the obvious modern parallel. I was certain I have seen her work before, but have I? and where? Maybe it just fits with the current retro revival. Anyway I would love a poster! And a funny thing happened. In Michael Morpurgo's book War Horse he describes a pair of Haflingers but I am not sure I have ever seen one. In Seraphine there is a scene with two little horses and I straight away recalled the two little Haflingers in the book as if I had seen them in the flesh.That is what a writer can do. Just finished 'The Girls' by Lori Lansens, recommended. Walked today and celebrated the Spring, determined to soak up every moment.

Friday, 26 March 2010

First butterfly

Spring really sprung last weekend when I saw the first butterflies of the year, Brimstones, on the wing. It is impossible to photograph them in flight, like fluorescent leaves tossed by the breeze. These March butterflies are adults that have overwintered and are now in search of a mate. I wondered that they can find nectar at this time of year but found this picture of one on an early orchid and we have lots of hellebores so maybe that is what attracted them. Later in the week, a warm wind brought rain and spring smells. There are tiny buds on the beech, daffodils in full bloom and tulips just in bud. On Sunday we finally gain that extra hour of daylight: best day of the year!

Wednesday, 17 March 2010


Wish I had taken my camera out tonight! A calm, hazily sunlit evening, still light at 6.30 pm. The grass is bleached but in the woods the first bluebell leaves are showing and on the hawthorn a faint green veil is just visible. As dusk fell the slightest rim of crescent moon appeared, laid on her back and smiling. 
The woods were full of birdsong: blue tits, great tits, long tailed tits, woodpeckers, robins. Fat lambs stared from the fields and there was a faint whiff of woodsmoke on the air. It must have been the warmest day of the year so far but as soon as the sun disappeared a pleasant slight chill struck the air. Amazing grace to be in England in springtime; only 10 days until British Summertime and the long, light evenings again.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Chiltern Hills

Great Missenden at the head of the Misbourne valley is an attractive small town, with a long curving High Street of half timbered and Georgian shops, a graciously proportioned Baptist Church and a number of traditional pubs. Within a short stroll of the station is the award winning Roald Dahl museum which was established in 2001 with the aim of setting up a centre to tell Roald Dahl’s life story, to care for his archive and to promote a love of creative writing in everyone.This great little family-friendly museum features two fun and fact-packed biographical galleries, and a fantastic interactive Story Centre. While half of the museum tells the fascinating story of Roald Dahl’s life, the other half focuses on the process of creative writing.Departure station: London Marylebone.

Back blogging and about time too. What to do when the days are grey and every other blog seems more interesting than your own? Well ANGER has finally stirred me. Lord Adonis (you can already tell he is a complete 'banker' with a moniker like that) is promoting a high speed rail link through the heart of the Chiltern Hills. I already know what a rum lot they are in the Department for Transport re my road tax application last year. It took almost 6 months to process, I was threatened with legal action, spent hours online and on the phone and received no apology when they finally conceded that my car tax had been applied for. Letters to the Lord were ignored. I know I went a bit over the top but doesn't bureaucracy drive you crazy?
Anyway, today  he announced that our beautiful Chiltern hills will be trashed for a high speed rail link to Birmingham. Lovely little market towns like Wendover, pretty medieval high streets like Amersham and - oh travesty - the peaceful churchyard resting place of Roald Dahl our best loved storyteller, will be sacrificed for a 45 minute journey to Brum. This is the pretty picture and blurb that British rail uses to promote days out in Great Missenden - guess they just want to cart the people in faster.......will the trains have time to stop?
I have to say I have thought of visiting B once or twice mostly because the city gallery houses a fine collection of Preraphaelites but I always thought better of it and waited for a showing at the Tate or RA. I certainly won't be using the link. There is a perfectly good line that could be improved running through Berkhamsted and MK. And for the first time in my life I won't be voting Labour because they don't give a monkeys about anywhere south of Brum anyway and seem to have a pathological hatred of anything remotely rural. I hear the beautiful house at Chequers is hardly used anymore as Gordon prefers to spend his w/ends further north. Stay there mate!