≡ Menu

rural life

Cycling in the Country

Horse drawn vs horsepower- the off-grid life… The most irritating thing about living in the Oxfordshire countryside, or “the Cotswolds” as image conscious persons like to refer to the area, is the number of cars that race through it. Not just ordinary cars but huge articulated lorries seeking short-cuts; thundering through narrow hedged roads they are a terrifying sight. Then we have builders’ vans, gi-normous tractors large as houses with trailers and, worst of all enormous, pretentious SUVs like Jeeps, Rangerovers and other cheaper versions of the same. I simply loathe these monsters and cannot understand the need for a sports utility vehicle, but every third car seems to belong to that category.

The English countryside, and especially the area known as the Cotswolds, has become a commodified concept to be bought and sold, gambled with, invested in and corrupted. I am sorry to have to concede that I have arrived in quasi joke-land where all the cliches about wealthy farmers driving Lamborghini tractors, speeding country boys and […] Read more

Country Tales

Some people decided that the countryside was a kinder place when they moved out of cities in a kind of panic, when normal life seemed to have gone forever and green spaces beyond the suburbs offered an alternative habitat. I believe for many it was a desperate move, allowing access to clean air but also, […] Read more

Lost villages

the "lost village"

The lost village of Acebuchal On January 13 it was warm enough to be eating lunch dressed in a tee shirt up in the mountains of Andalusia and while waiting for my thick potato and rib soup to cool a little I experienced a sharp feeling of deja-vu. potato and rib soup with chickpeas Sebastian’s […] Read more

Hospitality (2) La Luna di Quarazzana

  I imagine that no one who stays at La Luna di Quarazzana is especially deprived, but everyone who comes here surely leaves a few  notches more uplifted. Ilaria Baccherini is blessed with a gift of making her guests feel truly looked after and listened to. There is nothing elaborate or fancy about the house […] Read more

A Humble day spent foraging

Here is a list of weeds- sometimes despised and denigrated, sometimes destroyed but even in these times of hardship and penury almost never sought, or foraged for food or medicinal use. I have tasted, crushed, sniffed and cooked with: Mayweed- pineapple scent, good in apple cake. Useful for gastric flu, headaches, rheumatic pains. Flourishes on […] Read more