Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A walk in the Surrey hills

Surrey, England. Sunday 16-June-2013

Given as how the Thames Path is not hilly and Mary wanted to do hills in preparation for Coast-to-Coast she tracked down a hilly Sunday walk for us: Time Out Country Walks volume 1. Walk 20 : Milford to Godalming - The Greensand Way, Winkworth (a NT Arboretum), a canal, and historic Godalming. Distance 11.1 miles.

We bought the book but it is also available online:

Caught the train to Milford.

Dales and moors are all very well but this is the kind of countryside I grew up with - gentle hills, small fields, deciduous woods with fern undergrowth.


Lanes that reek of times gone by - these are ancient lanes. I can imagine them being trodden by our ancestors thousands of years ago.


A large chunk of the walk was along the Greensand Way - a walking route that starts in Haslemere, Surrey and ends, 108 miles later, at Hamstreet in Kent near the coast south of Ashford.


Lunch was at the White Horse pub in Hascombe, a village with a remarkable church covered in wall decoration, so that it looks almost Moorish.

St Peter's Church, Hascombe - interior

Then more woodland walking including some amazing, gnarly trees.

Ent looking like it is ready to walk

After the woods it was more delightful countryside - this is Tolkien-style Shire landscape.


The last mile we had to crank up the pace in order to catch the train from Godalming or have an hour to wait for the next one. We made it with three minutes to spare.

Screen shot 2013-06-25 at 20.44.19

Full set of pictures on Flickr:

Monday, June 24, 2013

Chris Hutchinson - Hanna Mogg Wedding

Wiltshire, England. Saturday, 01-June-2013.

Another nephew gets married: my sister's middle son Chris married Hanna in a charming ceremony on a lovely sunny day. The change in the law that allows venues other than churches and registry offices to hold weddings has led to some delightful locations to be used for this solemn occasion - in this case an ancient barn.

Hannah and Chris sign the register

Wedding: West Barn, Bradford on Avon, BA15 1LF -

When we got married most photographers would offer a set menu of shots to choose from and you would get those photos and no more in a set price package of, say, 18 or 24 or 30 pictures.

With digital photography their photographer snapped away enthusiastically and there will be a lot more photos available eventually. They will get a disc; our photographer still holds the negatives and will not sell them to us.

My sister, her husband, their three sons and partners

After the ceremony we transferred to the reception venue: a tepee in a meadow, another original touch. The schedule allowed for lots of chat before the meal - an good piece of time-tabling as weddings are excellent opportunity to catch-up with people not seen for some time.

Reception: Church Farm, Kington Langley nr Chippenham, SN15 5NN -

Mary walks to the tepee

Part of the reception was a bake-off. Various people had baked cakes for us to taste and judge by putting a buttons in jars. And the winner is...


Before the meal, while we sipped Pimms and stuffed our cake-holes, photos were taken of various combinations of family, relations and hangers-on.

Blonde moppet amongst the buttercups

Brother, sister-in-law and their three boys.

Hannah and Chris work the crowd

We slipped away after the meal as neither of us are at all keen on dancing. The next morning we were up early as we had people round for Sunday lunch then Mary was off to Jo'berg that evening.

Hotel: Angel Hotel, Chippenham, SN15 3HD -

Full set of photos on Flickr:

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Trullo Azzurro May 2013 - white washing

A week in Puglia.

Sunday: Third Sunday of each Month is antiques market in Martina Franca - not to be confused with the regular Wednesday food market. So off we went with Chris and John and Kath and Richard in search of bric-a-brac.

Everyone came away with something; we bought a Distillerie Buton decanter to match one given to us by our friends Bob and Lynn, not valuable but a decorative addition to our decanter collection.

Market at Martina Franca

Monday: meeting at Sotto le Stelle to discuss progress with the builder.

Tuesday: window shopping for tables for Sotto le Stelle

Wednesday: 9.5 mile walk down on the coast around Montalbano.

Thursday: Another team outing this time to the excellent pizzeria Pizz' Birr in Locorotondo. We general only order one pizza between two because the antipasti are so generous. And before the antipasta we order crisps (or chips as Americans would say). How unlike Walkers crisps or even Kettle chips; these are the real thing - thin disks of potato freshly deep fried and absolutely delicious.

Supper at Pizz' Birr, Locorotondo

Friday: Gardening at Trullo Azzurro followed by aperitif at Bar Fod in Cisternino and back to T-A for supper of steak and a serious bottle of Salice Salentino from Cantine Due Palme.

Cocktails at Bar Fod, Cisternino

Saturday: checking out the plaster samples at Sotto le Stelle, gardening and a long, leisurely BBQ lunch round at Chris and John's. Fortunately they are within easy staggering distance of home - hic!

Courtyard at Trullo Azzurro

Every year we have the outside of Trullo Azzurro whitewashed. This year we also arranged to have the interior repainted. It was in 2006 that we completed the refurbishment of the rented half.  Although it is mostly OK there were the odd scuffs and scrapes so we decided it was time to give it a freshen up. Now it is all sparkly white outside and in.

Sunday: home.

Full set of pictures on Flickr:

Trullo Azzurro logoTrullo Azzurro: beautifully restored trullo in delightful, secluded valley near Locorotondo, Puglia, Italy. Available to rent on a per week basis, sleeps 4-6. For more information visit