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      August 25th ... Great Dixter - satiating the senses ...

Great Dixter, East Sussex - late summer long border ©vcsinden2014
Great Dixter, framed by the famous 'Long Border' showing a definite early-autumnal tinge already

               From time to time, I like to share a favourite 'Very English Garden' with you. I like to see them when I can, each magical in its own way, and each making me appreciate the cool green shadows, ferns and mosses of my own home woods.    

Great Dixter, East Sussex - topiary and faded meadow ©vcsinden2014 Great Dixter, East Sussex - shady corner ©vcsinden2014
     Christopher Loyd's garden at Dixter is best known for it's bold, jangling and exhilarating colour mixes. Hot reds and oranges weave happily between purples, yellows and cool greys in schemes that most gardeners wouldn't dare to dream of - and here, they work! 
     But there are restful spaces too, here topiary in a faded wild meadow, and there a hauntingly beautiful shady house corner, inviting you to explore.
Great Dixter, East Sussex  ©vcsinden2014 Great Dixter, East Sussex - clematis ©vcsinden2014

      Amongst the extraordinary colours, shadowy faery-shades clamber over arches and Kentish peg-tile roofs, or are set into relief against weathered grey boards. The handsome house (open for visiting - as is the unusual plant nursery) is softened on all sides with trees, shrubs and climbers - and on this day the venerable mulberry tree was loaded with voluptuous fruit.

Great Dixter, East Sussex - back of the house  ©vcsinden2014

Great Dixter, East Sussex - display of pots at front door ©vcsinden2014
     Richly layered displays of seasonal pots are an ever-changing feature of the Great Dixter spectacle. After strolling through a wild flower meadow, the main door of the house greets you in full technicolour, and the lure of the gardens beckon you on.
Great Dixter, East Sussex - colour - succulents and mixed pots ©vcsinden2014

          Great Dixter is in Northiam, East Sussex.  Not my place here to give you chapter and verse - but here are links for history, biography, opening times, directions et al.  Great Dixter.    Christopher Lloyd.       Link here to a video with Christopher Lloyd showing his garden to Rosemary Verey.

       As for me - well, I have a season ticket - you are welcome any day to visit with me!

Great Dixter, East Sussex - the oast ©vcsinden2014



     August 1st .. Lammas Tide and the first corn is gathered ...

      At celebration times. us faery-folk tend to prefer making our thanks and wishes out under the stars, and in a solitary way, at a place of our choosing. Perhaps I should have stuck to my instinctive ways - but curiosity got the better of me as usual and I travelled along the coast road to Sussex, to join the Lammas Fair on the sea-front lawns of Eastbourne.

  It was - erm - interesting - but I did love all the Lammas hats! Lots of people, lots of craft stalls with real crafts - a wonderful vegetarian burger - and what had been a successful parade through the town in the morning. Then came an odd quasi ceremony. Hunter's Moon Morris sang and danced the death of John Barleycorn - fine. Should have left after that!

   So - wanting to seek a quiet thanksgiving, out in the English countryside, I headed for the nearby village of Wilmington, to commune silently with two real guardians of the harvest and the English hills. Two giants, watching for centuries, watching, imparting their knowledge to those who choose to watch with them.

   First, the ancient Yew tree, lovingly propped, standing peaceful guard over the top of the valley and the village for at least 1600 years - before the first cartload of stones was carried up the hill for the church.
Imagine what it has seen and heard.

    And the Long Man of Wilmington - gazing silently out over the latest gathering in of the corn, from Windover Hill. He stands nearly 70m tall but his history is disputed - he may be from the iron age, or again from the 16th century - difficult to measure as the original marks or stones have been overlayed so many times down the years.
Either way, the giant has watched over many a planting and cutting.



     Find  Namibia Diary Part 1 ( Damaraland ) and    Part 2 (Etosha and the animals ) here

    July 23rd 2014   Namibia Diary - Part 3 - the Ju/'hoan bushmen - remarkable people ...

       Far away in the North-eastern corner of Namibia, some 80km along deep sandy tracks from Tsumkwe, and adjoining the tribal village community of Nhoq'ma is the unusual safari camp of Nhoma. Spending some days there, with owner Arno and his family, and translator Bertus, immersed in the lives and culture of the Ju/'hoan people was an unforgettable experience.

      Here was an ancient language replete with clicks and clops of the tongue and throat, completely unfamiliar to our ears, spoken in soft, gentle voices - each click sound and position giving a soft word a different meaning. The language is thought to have been spoken in parts of Africa nearest the Kalahari for at least 80,000 years.




  I do hope you will have time to watch my short slide/video mix of our 'never-to-be-forgotten' San village experience, and that the film works well for you here.



   July 17th 2014      Ely Folk Festival  - the most delectable of them all .......

Eddi Reader - unbelievable voice and her auntie's evening coat.
Steve Knightley goes it solo and packs the marquee.

      That time of year again, the corn is high and golden, hot sun and storms are expected and all those with a smattering of wanderlust in our genes head off for their chosen time-bubbles of music. This one tends to favour 'folk-music', but not as it used to be in her far-away youth - as it is now - multi-talented instrumentalists and extraordinary blends of old, new, global and traditional.           

    My haven is the festival in the small cathedral city of Ely. Limited ticket numbers, virtually no queues (for anything!) - fabulous music from local folk performers at the Club Tent to headliners on Stage One and enthusiastic dance from countrywide Morris sides.

   Camping on the festival ground itself, generous space for vans and tents and oh so easy to fall into bed!

        Above:     the King's Morris from Kings Lyn relax before their set on the hottest day
Below:     Hemlock Morris
from Bedfordshire - with colourful Cambridge favourites Gog Magog Molly