To Draw Aside

This is the Peace garden at The Friars, an ancient Carmelite Priory in Aylesford, Kent. I have often sat in this garden and left through those doors with a perspective far different from the one I came in with. For me, it’s one of those special places we all have, where we find balance, sanity and direction.

Evening

I love this time of day – sunset over our neighbourhood. You can hear the voices and the laughter of people sitting in their gardens, the air rich with the smell of barbecues and the sound of clinking wine glasses, life at rest and embraced by the solace and comforts of home.

A Sentinel

This dead tree always looks like a sentinel standing at the entrance of the barley fields. Whenever I pass it on my way to the woods on the right of this image, the old soldier in me wants to salute it. I love these fields which have produced crops and harvests year after year. They together with the skies of Kent give me a wonderful sense of spaciousness and freedom.

From my Sketchbook

This scene of a section of the village a little way from ours, is one I pass regularly on my morning walks. Today, I decided to quickly sketch it. Not much sign of Spring yet, just one tree in full blossom.

Champing The Grasses

This morning I stopped alongside a fence and listened to a horse grazing in the field. It was a beautiful sound, breathy and hollow with an echoing kind of chomp, punctuated now and then by the slight sound of the grinding of teeth. It was a lovely moment and I was transported back to some of the words of a favourite poem of mine, “The Listeners” by Walter de La Mare:

Is there anybody there? said the Traveller,   
   Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grasses   
   Of the forest’s ferny floor:
I loved, and still love, the phrase – “The forest’s ferny floor” I can go on saying it forever – “The forest’s ferny floor” – and I can hear his horse in the silence champing away at the grasses.

 

 

From My Sketchbook

A scene near our village just longing to be sketched. I had the distinct feeling of this being a restful place in spite of the signs of neglect. So it found its way into my sketchbook.

Morning Light

This morning’s walk:

The soft morning sunlight has this unassuming power to gladden the heart of things and to call them forth into the confidence of a new day. It’s not a glaring light shaking us into forceful wakefulness, but a gentle one, introducing and revealing the day with poise and with grace.

Christmas and Woodsmoke

The other day I took our little dog for his daily walk. As I made my way through our neighbourhood, I was suddenly greeted by the lovely aroma of woodsmoke. Some past residue of my Southern Hemisphere mindset found this rather mystifying – what does Christmas have in common with woodsmoke? Then, in a flash – but I’m in the cold English countryside and not only are the homes I’m passing filled with Christmas decoration, but also with, in some cases, burning fires in the lounges. I heard Forrest Gump gently whisper into my ear, “Christmas and woodsmoke, they ‘is’ like peas and carrots.”

A Misty Morning

A misty morning in Kent.

I love walking on misty mornings. The mist strangely muffles noise and everything is so still. It’s as if a white sheet of silence is cast over the countryside. So invigorating! Coming up this hill I just had to take this shot.

The Village Shop

This morning I walked over to our village shop to buy milk and a newspaper. I pushed the door open and the owner smiled and greeted me by name. It’s a good thing to have your name spoken through a smile, so I smiled back and greeted him by name and wondered if he felt the same as I did. A smile and your name always goes a long way in affirming again your right to be here.

On getting home, I sat down with a hot cup of coffee, opened my newspaper, left the small world of village life and plunged into the vast sphere of politics, social happenings and intrigue. I didn’t like what I saw.