‘The robin flew from his swinging spray of ivy on to the top of the wall and he opened his beak and sang a loud, lovely trill, merely to show off. Nothing in the world is quite as adorably lovely as a robin when he shows off—and they are nearly always doing it.’
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Chapter 8. “The Robin Who Showed the Way.
An autumn walk around Bateman’s gardens and this engaging robin reminded me of Frances HodgsonBurnett’s The Secret Garden. A childhood favourite book.
Ents are a race of beings in J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy world Middle-earth who closely resemble trees. They are similar to the talking trees in folklore around the world. Their name is derived from the Old English word for giant.
en.m.wikipedia.org › wiki › Ent
I like to think that Sheffield Park Gardens in East Sussex has its own Ents.
Autumn walk and trees and toadstools. Magical season.
We took a road trip recently to Cambridge , England. While there we did a chauffeured punt down the River with local company Scudamore’s Punting: https://www.scudamores.com/punting-quayside. As we sailed the river past the university colleges, listening to our very knowledgable chauffeur, I was reminded of the Romantic poet William Wordsworth’s ‘Composed upon Westminster Bridge September 3, 1802…’ :
Earth has not any thing to show more fair: Dull would he be of soul who could pass by A sight so touching in its majesty: This City now doth, like a garment, wear The beauty of the morning; silent, bare, Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie Open unto the fields, and to the sky; All bright and glittering in the smokeless air. Never did sun more beautifully steep In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill; Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep! The river glideth at his own sweet will: Dear God! the very houses seem asleep; And all that mighty heart is lying still!
The poem was about the river Thames, not the River Cam, however Wordsworth did study at St. John’s College Cambridge, so I felt my connection was valid.
Skegness (Skeggy) is a seaside town in Lincolnshire, England. On the Lincolnshire coast of the North Sea.
I went to the Butlins Holiday Camp in Skegness as a child. My partner played gigs on Skegness sea front in his early band career. Everyone I know has a Skeggy memory- work day trips, family holidays. Just a mention brings a smile to people’s faces.
Billy Butlin’s slogan was ‘Our True Intent is All For Your Delight’
It was originally a quote from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Nights Dream. Butlins feels a long way from Shakespeare- but maybe not. They both entertained the masses.
We didn’t go to Butlins on this occasion, but we were delighted in Skegness.
We spent Bank Holiday Monday at Bodiam Castle on the Kent/ Sussex border. It was built by Sir Edward Dallingridge c. 1385.
Sir Edward was born into the minor gentry c. 1346. Lady Elizabeth, sir Edwards wife, was a key figure in the castle’s history. She was heiress to the land of Bodiam and considerably wealthy to boot! Upon marriage Sir Edward was entitled to her land and money, which helped him to build the castle. A castle the size of Bodiam was large enough to house up to eighty servants.
On a natural note the castle plays host to bats, particularly the largest Daubenton maternity roost in England as well as well as a maternity roost of Natterer’s bats.
The castle stands alongside the River Rother and there is a beautiful walk following the river. The Tenterden to Bodiam railway also runs alongside the Castle stretch. There is nothing nicer than walking alongside the river with the castle on one side and the steam train passing by on the other. East Sussex is diverse and beautiful.
Today we did a rural village walk. Our route around the village of Northiam was taken from East Sussex Walks. In and around the rural villages by Sandy Hernu (ISBN 1857700597)
Our three and a half mile walk was quintessentially English on this late summer day.
An unexpected point of interest was Queen Elizabeth’s Oak. The remains of this huge oak tree is where Queen Elizabeth I chose to sit beneath and rest on her journey to the nearby town of Rye on August 11th 1573. She was served a meal under its branches brought from a nearby house. She then changed her shoes , leaving behind the original green damask ones as a momento of her visit. Apparently they still exist.
For me there is nowhere like India- the vibrant culture, the amazing Himalayas, arid Rajasthan and the idyllic beaches of Goa. I absolutely love it and today is Indian Independence day – fifty three years of Indian Independence.
Which got me thinking beyond my Indian travels to my favourite books with an Indian setting. Here they are:
W.G. Grace, English amateur cricketer who established and popularised the game of cricket . Born: 18 July 1848,Died: 23 October 1915. Test debut (cap 24): 6 September 1880 v Australia.
He was important in the development of the sport and widely believed to be one of its greatest players.
He was good friends with Lord Sheffield of Sheffield Park, now a National Trust property. He played for the Lord Sheffield XI many times home and away.
If you visit the property today you can see the cricket pitch and the foundations of the original players pavilion and the ladies pavilion. Also the original rollers that rolled the pitch and the oak tree that Grace hit ‘full toss’ when hitting a ‘six’ in July 1883.
In Georgian times a day’s stage-coach ride could get you from London to Tunbridge Wells, thus The Pantiles in Royal Tunbridge Wells was a major holiday destination for the gentry and royalty.
The discovery in 1606 of a Spring with distinctive reddish tinted mineral deposits led to the development of the Pantiles and Royal Tunbridge Wells. The practice of drinking from natural springs for health dates back to Roman times and the practice of taking these natural waters for health purposes became more popular among the nobility during the reign of Elizabeth I. Parties would leave the Court and travel to the established Spa towns of Bath and Buxton. Tunbridge Wells quickly became the most fashionable drinking spa as it was closer to London.
Away from Court they took advantage of the opportunities provided to establish relationships with individuals from different social backgrounds and the concept of a holiday as we know it today was born.
As there was no accommodation available at that time, the Royal entourage camped on the Common. It was not until the latter part of the 17th century that the first permanent lodging houses were erected in the area.
Today the Pantiles has a variety of specialist shops, art galleries, cafés, restaurants and bars. In summertime jazz bands play outside on the bandstand. It is a fabulous place to hang out with a chilled glass of white on a warm summer afternoon.