Saturday, 24 April 2010

Hawker's Hut, Morwenstow

Hawker’s Hut is set into the 400-foot cliffs of remote north Cornwall, originally built out of driftwood by the Victorian priest Rev Robert Stephen Hawker as a place to write poetry, smoke opium and watch for passing ships coming to grief on this notoriously dangerous stretch of Atlantic coast. It is now owned by the National Trust, and at no more than six feet square, its smallest property.

Morwenstow, the closest village across the fields, was where my farming grandparents grew up and retired - I have many dairy-farming relations there even now - and where we would visit regularly as children. It’s remote and wild, and one of my favourite places.

The ashes of my late brother, David, were scattered nearby. He died ten years ago today, at the age of 41.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Planeless skies

Planes on their way to land at Heathrow airport loop high over our house on their way towards west London — well, normally they do. The volcanic ash cloud drifting across Europe from Iceland has now meant that the restrictions on UK airspace will continue for a few days at least. This is bad news for many who are trapped in the UK (being an island has its drawbacks) as well as those trying to return home from Easter holidays.

So the skies are empty, silent and cloudless here today. I'm working with the window open, and you wouldn't believe how wonderfully silent London can be.