I love Hidcote Manor Garden, near Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire. It’s one of the National Trust’s greatest gardens and was created by an American horticulturalist Lawrence Johnston, between 1907 and 1947.
One very special element in the garden is the Beech Allee – an avenue of majestic beeches.
Lawrence Johnston planted it knowing he’d never see the mature avenue – it was a gift to the future.
For me, it’s very moving to walk along this avenue reflecting upon how much we owe to one man’s vision and imagination.
What an encouragement this is to any creative person, who imagines things and works to bring them into reality, perhaps without ever being able to experience the final outcome, or to know how their creation may be received.
I’ll be showcasing my best blog posts, selling signed paperback copies of my psychological suspense novel Mystical Circles, both the first and the second edition with their different cover-designs, and also I’ll be publicising my upcoming novel A Passionate Spirit. Plus for anyone who doesn’t see these blogs or my Facebook Page there’ll be the opportunity to sign up on my mailing list to be the first to know when A Passionate Spirit is released.
There will be lots of arts and crafts for you to look at, and buy either for yourself or as Christmas gifts. You can enjoy browsing, admire the creativity and imagination that you see around you, and chat to the creators.
Coventry Rock Choir will be performing throughout the afternoon and all are invited to enjoy the tea, delicious cakes and snacks on sale in the café.
Entry will be £2 for adults, children under 18 free.
I hope to see you there at the Autumn Fair, 25 October 2014, at St Mark’s Church, Rugby Road, Leamington Spa, CV32 6DL.
A family trip to the Tower of London at the weekend reminded me once again of how much I love visiting English castles.
at the Tower of London (photo credit SC Skillman)
I was trying to account for this in one of my previous posts, but a fellow-writer put it beautifully; when you go round these places you are reassured about the meaningfulness of our lives through the power of story.
No matter how grisly and macabre the behaviour of our predecessors was, we thrill to these historical sites. Everyone of all ages can enjoy them, both adults and children – whether or not the latter are currently studying medieval castles at school! And the Tower of London is immensely photogenic. You cannot move a step without itching to capture another angle, another story-filled view.
The red poppy installation at the Tower – in which the moat has been filled with 888,246 ceramic poppies in commemoration of the 1st World War – is an awe-inspiring, beautiful and moving sight.
As I am constantly learning more about the Tudors, I feel that the Tower has a tremendous emotional poignancy. I cannot look at the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula without thinking of the account I have read of Anne Boleyn’s ladies-in-waiting carrying her body to the chapel for burial, and having to wait several hours for space to be prepared for her beneath the altar pavement – because nobody had actually expected her to be executed; many believed a last-minute reprieve would arrive from Henry VIII.
But it didn’t. And Anne Boleyn’s legacy is a very special place in English history – as the chief person that springs to our minds in the same breath as The Tower of London.
We went to the Edgemoor Inn, near the village of Edge in Gloucestershire on Sunday to celebrate our daughter Abigail’s 20th birthday – and for once our timing was perfect! For the day was bright and clear, very unusual for 5 October in England, and the Edgemoor Inn stands on a ridge overlooking the beautiful Painswick Valley.
One of the joys of this particular inn is the fabulous outlook both from within the restaurant, and from the terrace outside.
Not far from here is Prinknash Abbey, occupied by an order of Benedictine monks, and its location has the most spectacular views.
Perhaps because the Cotswold Hills are a relatively short drive from Warwick, I’m drawn back here again and again; and of course the action of my novel Mystical Circles is set here. It was this landscape that inspired me to site my community The Wheel of Love in a lovely valley. Here, you may imagine, everything is perfect. But no. Where there is a disparate group of human beings, there will be dynamic change – and so it will always be.
As one of my Amazon reviewers put it: “In contrast to the peaceful rural setting, the varied group of people Juliet meets are a maelstrom of conflicting emotions.”
Meanwhile, let’s glory in this tranquil landscape, and draw more peace from it than we ever will from the complex, fearful, vulnerable human beings to be found within the Wheel of Love!