Friday 13 September 2019


The tall castle was on the edge of the town
“Hey lets have a cup of tea” said Sian
Tim made a drawing of a chapel painted in pink.
This man was enjoying  his ice cream.
The cheese factory was on a farm, here is the cheese making equipment.

Sian and Tim and Rosie the Puppy had been to West Wales before. 

This adventure sees them on a huge beach.
“Hey lets have a cup of tea” said Sian and so they did.
At a lovely café called Tea by the Sea.
Well, Tim had a double espresso as he always does.

Next day they visited a castle and see cheese being made. 
And they try to visit the National Museum of Wool, 
This plan is thwarted, as the car park is full.

In a small town called Newcastle Emlyn the see several chapels.
These are like tiny churches, there are many in Wales.
Tim makes a drawing of a chapel painted in pink.

Tim also takes photographs of chapel asking Sian to park precariously by the side of the road.
“Oh, dear do I have to?” Asks Sian and then calls Tim a rude name.

The cheese factory was on a farm. 
Prince Charles had been there in 2004.
He likes welsh cheese
Just as well though Sian, he is the Prince of Wales.

The castle was on the edge of the town,
It was surrounded on three sides by a river.
It was difficult to capture, only Oliver Cromwell succeeded.
Sian said “Well, nasty Oliver C must have someone on the inside to help him”

It rained all day, it does often rain in Wales and they felt tired perhaps
it was because of the cans of Kronenberg 1664 they drank with their yummy picnic lunch.

The next day was bright and sunny so Tim said 
“Let us go to the big beach again”.
“Oh lets” said Rosie the Puppy
“Oh, alright then” said Sian.

Then they drove home, to Angryland, which is near London, having had a lovely time.

Wednesday 11 September 2019


St Andrews: faces everywhere, looking down.

There are two Oxfordshire churches, both almost in the dark shadow of Didcot Power Station; All Saints North Morton and Saint Andrews Church in East Hagbourne.

One August morning the cousins ventured forth, with Rosie the Puppy, and enjoyed a wonderful time in each. 

In St Andrews, there were delights a-plenty including some extraordinary corbels, three-headed carvings, on the chancel arch and on the other side of the arch, saw a Lion’s head!

Looking up at the ceiling they saw other faces, stonework phantoms looking down on them as they looked up in marvel.

The cousins then jumped back into the car, “Hey Ho we’re off to North Morton” Wendy cried.

Miles' magnificent chapel window

In this second church they discovered a remarkable mediaeval window in the south chapel. 

This chapel was built by a rich and powerful courtier called Miles de Stapleton who served at the court of King Edward I. 

Miles had the money to commission this magnificent window. Only he could afford to pay for to the most skilled glassmakers and stone carvers in London to do his bidding. In 1299 he set them to the task of creating a window with scenes from the life of Saints Peter, Nicholas, Paul andthe Blessed Virgin Mary.

The cousins stood back in awe in gazed at this window as the Sun streamed in highlighting the green silk of Trinity on the altar. 

"I’m so glad we came" said Tim, 

“So am I and I’m so glad we are following footsteps of Mr Simon Jenkin” said Wendy

The cousins went small lanes and by ways to Wittenham Clumps. Two hills which looked down on to at least five counties. This is another dreamlike part of Oxfordshire. 

Before setting off on a brisk walk, with Rosie the Puppy, they had a wonderful lunch, cucumber sandwiches, green salad, crusty bread and other yummy things, all made by cousin Wendy.

After the walk cousins exclaimed“Let’s plan to go a churching again soon!”

And so they probably will.

Sunday 8 September 2019


The shell seekers and castle builders 

Late August; To Scourie Beach we have made several trips.

Building sand castles and collecting periwinkles, top shells, limpets and mussel shells with lots of different seaweeds: twisted wrack and egg wracks and sea gull feathers and purple thistle heads collected from nearby.

On the headland just up from the beach
We’d bring them bring them all back to set them out on a table in the hotel’s back bar, and draw them, when rain prevented us from going outside.
Treasure Trove

One afternoon while Daisy and Millie collected small flounders, prawns and crabs Harry built an aquarium in the sand where they could live, until the tide came in.

In the bird hide, right on the beach, where several useful books for us to enjoy when getting out of the rain as it blew into shore; including the OBSERVERS BOOK OF THE SEA AND SEASHORE by I.O. Evans.

Mr Evans says in this essential volume first published in 1962
‘The sea and the seashore, from the depths of the abyss to the splash zone are inhabited by a wide variety of living creatures. They differ very greatly from those of the land, so great is this difference that the life of the sea is full of interest; nor is it lacking in beauty’.

In the Bird Hide an essential volume

Thursday 5 September 2019


I am some three and eighty feet up above the village of Scourie on n a hill called Cnoc a’ Bhuthain. I can see everything from here. The Hotel owned by my dear friends Richard, Fiona and Charlotte Campbell and has been home for five fab days. 

This is almost as far north west in Scotland as you can get.

The white sands of Scourie Beach shine in the occasional sun and a little further the cemetery with its several Commonwealth War Grave Commission headstones. One small place on a lonely headland, one of the 23,000 separate burial sites cared for by the Commission.

Looking down on Scourie Village 
The rocky bay is a geologist’s playground. Some of these stones have been dated been dated at 2500 million years. This was where Western Europe was born. Pink and grey rock sandwiched together form part of the Scourie Dykes. The full story of this country formed over 2 billions years ago is told here.

Behind some fir trees to my right is Scourie Pier, refurbished in 2012. To a railing at the end Richard ties his lobster pots where crabs doze waiting for the dinning room table in a week or so.

Fisherman's Hut Scourie Pier
It is so peaceful here, in the population is tiny; per square mile there may be more people in the Sahara Desert. Very rarely do we hear aeroplanes and helicopters. This is a remarkable counter point to the bombardment and bustle of Buckinghamshire, which is why my time up here, each year, is so very precious.

To the hills from Scourie Hotel