Posts Tagged ‘ sissinghurst ’

Canal(s) +

It’s been far too long since my last post (in my opinion at least), so here is a small selection of edited highlights from the grim month of January. A short trip to Amsterdam takes first place – the first time we’ve been away together for other than work purposes for years.amsterdam

The (amazingly comfortable) night boat from Harwich was followed by a train journey across an icily beautiful Netherlands. As ever, lovely things seen but not photographed from the train windows; fixed in the memory that morning were the windmill covered in perching cormorants, and a white cat walking delicately across a frozen canal. We stayed in the Boutique Hotel View which fully deserves this plug – perfect in almost every way.

the view from our room - could you ask for more?

We did the things one does in that lovely city – the Rembrandthuis, of course, and the Rijksmuseum – and other galleries – and eating – and drinking . . .

Rembrandt's studio

Rijksmuseum - Fishing for Souls (Adriaen Pietersz van de Venne, 1614 - detail)

Other events – the candle-lit launch of Ian Marchant’s excellent new book Something of the Night. Funny, moving and filled with wise and correct observations on sex, religion and politics among many other matters.

ian marchant

Another local nocturnal event was the annual Wassail – health and safety happily not in evidence as the blazing globe of the Sun flew over the heads of the onlookers

wassail

An advance copy of Gardens of Cornwall landed on the mat – publication due on March 1st

gardens of cornwall

And finally another reminder of spring and summer – remember summer? – with the publication of a cover feature on Sissinghurst in the February edition of The English Garden

sissinghurst

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Life continues

A lot going on these last few days. First to Stratford to see a really good Antony and Cleopatra, a generous and appropriate birthday present for someone of my advanced years, the play dealing as it does with middle-aged passion. (School parties in the audience could practically be felt resisting the temptation to go ‘yeuchh’). Next up, the (possibly) world-famous ‘Tour de Presteigne’, the world’s only rally dedicated to the electric bike.The culminating fancy-dress parade (five high speed laps of the town) made up in mad inventiveness what it lacked in fashion sense, or indeed any other kind of sense.

Under starter's orders

Then it was off to Sussex to start shooting a couple of gardens for our next book, Great Dixter and Sissinghurst, both looking wonderful as expected and gloriously different from each other.

Finally to the election. I hope – how I hope – that I’m being pessimistic, but the words that spring first to mind are, of course, from the closing lines of Animal Farm – “the creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which

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