Wednesday 14 November 2012

English village autumn

Autumn colour seemed to come late this year, but it hasn't disappointed. 

 saturated colours after heavy rain

My favourite season was on full display on a trip to Penn village in Buckinghamshire about a week ago, where I snapped these pics.

Penn means 'hill' or 'headland' in Brythonic, one of the old Celtic languages, named for its position on a hilltop in the Chilterns. From the tower of the 900-year-old church here on the village road, it's supposedly possible to see eight counties ...

but definitely not on a misty morning like this one

As you might have guessed, Penn village is the birthplace of William Penn who set up the colony of Pennsylvania in the USA. Though originally the Penns are thought to have been Norman French nobility and called de la Penne - settlers who came to England following the Norman Conquest in 1066.

Like many Norman-era churches in England, the list of names of rectors or bishops tell this story by themselves. Earlier rectors of Penn's church had French, or at least Frenchified names, like William de London (1273) and Gilbert de Segrave (1304), up until a few centuries later when these change to solid English names like Thomas Goodlake (1400s) or John Davis (1684).

The Crown pub, above in the morning mist, is first mentioned in written records of the 15th century as a local ale-house.

There are plenty of traditional English cottages to be had, if this lifestyle appeals ...

(though they're likely to set you back a bit: your Rose/Oak/Briar cottages and ye olde vicarages mostly come with a fairly hefty price-tag in this village) ...

... and open gates invite you to country trails across surrounding farmland ...

Thanks to the "right to roam" law, there is a public right to access to farmland in Britain.

Veer off the main village road and you'll find yourself in narrow lanes like these ...

where it's difficult to imagine  

what might happen if another car came in the opposite direction

yet amazingly it is possible for two cars to squeeze past - in fact it's an opportunity to stop for a chat ...

Right next-door to Penn is Tylers Green ... 

which for all its small size, checks off all the mandatory features of an English village - a church, a pub, and a village school  - all positioned round the village green ...

... site of cricket games and village fetes in summer and bonfires on Guy Fawkes night, but where in the damp mist and November chill, small girls let out from school were chasing ducks

who thought the weather just fine.

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Blog love: Lisbon diaries

For this month's international blog post we're asked to highlight someone else's blog that we've found inspirational.
Perhaps not well known among English language readers, Diário de Lisboa/The Lisbon Diaries has been an addiction for me since I first discovered it a little over a year ago.

                                              The old tram on Calçada de Gloria

Photographer Artur Lourenço captures inspired images from his city almost daily ... often of people who catch his attention in the streets, but also of places he loves ...

 Xocoa, Baixa-Chiado

It's these and his eye for detail, for snatching the moment, that I admire so much.

                                         Jardim da Rocha do Conde de Óbidos, Rua das Janelas Verdes

Lisbon's old, eccentric, or creative shops are one of his favourite themes ...

Magical creations at Storytailors, Chiado

Barbearia Campos, Chiado - 125 year old barber's shop

Chapelaria Azevedo Rua, Rossio - hat-makers since 1886

Luvaria Ulisses, Rua do Carmo - the tiniest shop (3 ft by 3 ft), devoted exclusively to exquisite hand-made gloves.

Amélie au Théatre, vintage clothes shop, Principe Real

His images seem to get right to the heart and soul of Lisbon ...

Lisbon instagrams by Diário de Lisboa

'Sit down and tell me your stories of love'

And he does for Lisbon coffee houses the sort of magic that Merisi weaves for coffee drinking in Vienna

Pasteis de nata at Pastelaria de Belém

Kaffeehaus, Rua Anchieta, Chiado

Taberna Lx Factory restaurant, Alcântara

Photographic artist, Lisbon-lover, poet with images, I'm in love with Lisboadiarios.

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