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Showing posts from September, 2015

Season of mists

I think it is safe to say that the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is now here.  A glorious walk this morning confirmed that.  It couldn't have been better. There was a robin sitting on the top of a plant in the brussel sprout field.  I thought the combination of robin and sprout would have made a good photo for a Christmas card, but the little devil flew off before I could organise myself and my camera!  The leaves were looking fabulous anyway, shimmering in rainbow colours and bejewelled with droplets of dew. Earlier in the year I posted a photo of some blossom, which I attributed to blackthorn.  At the time I wasn't sure that was right, because the flowers were a bit too big.  When I was walking along this field edge last week, I saw the fruits below, and then realised they are bullace.  Too big for sloes, but still excellent material for a bottle of bullace gin.  They weren't plentiful so I will add some blackberries, to make up the quantity.  I th

Grand tour - Sissinghurst Castle

The next destination on the grand tour were the gardens of Sissinghurst Castle, in Kent.  They were laid out in the 1930s by Vita Sackville-West and her husband, Harold Nicolson.  She was a poet and wrote a gardening column for The Observer.  She was also a fringe member of the Bloomsbury Group. The history of Sissinghurst is far too interesting and ancient to even begin describing here.  You can find a potted version on Wikipedia , but it would be much more worthwhile to read Vita Sackville-West's grandson, Adam Nicolson's book ' Sissinghurst ', where he charts the history of this amazing place, and how it sits in the Kentish landscape.   I had forgotten about the photogenic Kentish oast houses.  It's many years since I have been in that part of the world.  Kent was famous for its hop fields.  Once picked, the hops would be dried in these distinctively shaped buildings.  These are the ones belonging to


I can't remember the last time I slept through the night in one go.  I was probably a teenager!  Waking up several times a night is the norm for me.  When I heard that there was going to be an epic 8 hour live performance of Max Richter's composition Sleep , 'a lullaby for a frenetic world', taking place on Radio 3 overnight last night, I was resolved to tune in.  It started at midnight, and before long I was lulled to sleep.  I woke, as usual, at regular intervals during the night, but each time the lullaby just washed over me, until I fell asleep again.  It was comforting, and wonderful. You might have time to dip into the performance here , or better still, tuck yourself up in bed one night, and play the piece in its entirety, as the composer intended. It will be available, wherever you are in the world, for the next 30 days on iPlayer.  It's magic.

Going, going

Thousands of people came to watch the twin chimneys come down.  Cars lined up along the A1 and the coast roads, car parks were crammed.  Nobody paid and displayed.   Onlookers stood along the beaches, and precariously on the rocks jutting out into the sea!  Chancy, with an incoming tide! Fishing boats lined up, a safe distance from Cockenzie Harbour. On the dot of 12 noon, the two chimneys lurched towards each other, in a fond farewell, Two loud explosions, and the twins were gone. POST SCRIPT Monday, 28 September 2015   The view just isn't the same.  There's definitely something missing!

Just for the record

The two coal towers of Cockenzie Power Station will meet their end today.   At high noon.  Whoosh!  They will be there one minute, gone the next.  News of their demise has even featured in the national press.  It's an interesting article, and worth a read. At 149 metres high, they have featured along the East Lothian coastline since 1967, when the power station opened, .  It is fair to say they do dominate, but theirs is a presence I have developed a huge affection for.  I know I am not alone and it is hard to explain why.  Maybe it bears out the adage that beauty is in the eye of the beholder! A couple of years ago, I spent a day trying to draw the two chimneys, and the series of buildings around them, with part of the little harbour at Cockenzie in the foreground.  It's a crude attempt, but it's