These furrowed and grassy fields, each with a sort of personality given to it by its capricious hedge … these are the mother tongue of our imagination, the language that is laden with all the subtle inextricable associations the fleeting hours of our childhood left behind them.
April has been a month of profound contrasts. Remarkably warm days a couple of weeks ago have brought wildflowers, garden blooms (many tulips have come and gone) and fruit blossom out much earlier than usual.
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 […]
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.
Meat used to be a matter of confidence and pride. Every market town held its own local fat stock show and sale in the weeks before Christmas, where farmers would compete to present the best-finished beef animal and butchers would vie to outbid each other to secure the champion beast and the honour of offering its meat […]
For the uninitiated, the Plaxtol sign can appear baffling. What could a woolly goat standing proudly upon a mountain crag possibly have to do with a parish spanning the Bourne valley in decidedly lowland Kent?
Plaxtol has ghosts. How could a place of 1,000 years’ human habitation not be haunted by memory and myth? Many of the legends are well-known: Sir Harry Vane, pacing the pleasure grounds of Fairlawne with his severed head in his hands; or the spirit of a murdered man which frequents Sheet Hill in the form […]
Not strictly inspired by Plaxtol, but I have come to realize that the books I love best inform my writing, elaborate my understanding of wildlife, landscape and history, and affirm my sense of place. Here are the ones which come most readily to mind.