featured, Landscape, Life

On the wing

Yesterday, I saw my first swifts of the season. In Plaxtol’s high street, a faint and much-loved cry made me look up, and there they were: three sickle shapes winging overhead. (I’ve written about swifts before.) There was some rain in the night – the most Plaxtol has had for many weeks – and this morning […]

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Away, Life


With so many words, in all media, dedicated to the repercussions of the UK referendum, I have been reluctant to express an opinion here. But on this morning, the centenary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme, with the blackbird, wren and chaffinch singing in the garden and highly-appropriate skylarks soaring in […]

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Away, featured, Landscape, Life

Gathering thoughts in May

Robert Browning may have craved his homeland in April (and who would not?), but is there any month more urgently, lasciviously, resplendently English than May? The very word drips with subtext; with sappy, fleshy undercurrents of light, warmth and fecundity.

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Landscape, Life


On 15 April I tweeted that I had heard the first cuckoo of the Plaxtol year. As each spring comes around, this moment always reminds me of a newspaper piece I found a few years ago, dating from 1904.

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