Su Lam


The Su Lam Chinese garden in Portland is about 10 minutes’ walk from the main train and bus stations in a pretty concrete part of town. As soon as you step through the door you’re miles away. Photos October 2017.

Spinning the globe


As longer-term readers will know, I very much like finding places that if you saw them in a book you’d mentally place on another point of the globe. I’m pretty sure most people would think this was a Scottish Island, unless you already knew the Pacific north-west.


All photos Oregon, Cannon Beach. October 2017.



It says a lot about how much I enjoyed family holidays in Wales (rain! No sunburn! Castles! A baker in the next village with doughnuts!) that this is pretty much my happy place.


But really, aren’t these lights and reflections beautiful?

Oregon, October 2017.



In some years it’s September that’s a mix of seasons, but this year October seems to be hovering between the seasons. This pin sharp view was last week as I went out to walk across Blackfriars Bridge at lunch.

Fleet Street, October 2017.



Sissinghurst was a place I’d long wanted to visit, and I’d tried to get there in July, but feeling rather tired had postponed it.


But last month, spurred on my the imminent end of the National Trust season and last of the summer days I set off.


If you don’t have a car, both google maps and the NT website make it unnecessarily complicated to get there from London. The quickest way is to take a train to Ashford and cab over, but it’s not the cheapest (it’ll be nearly £40 each way for the cab). Or you can wait for half an hourst Ashford, travel on another 20 minutes to Staplehurst and pick up your cab there (about £18 each way). Up to you if saving £20 is worth the extra hour on your journey. What you shouldn’t do is trust that the bus from Staplehurst will be there. It won’t – it leaves 2 minutes before your once an hour train from Ashford arrives, and on Sundays you’ll then have another two hours to wait.


Moral of the story: learn to drive, or just look big and pay up for a cab. Either way, when you get there it’s completely worth it.


Walled gardens lead off each other, doors opening into rooms of light and shade,


colours clashed and melded and everywhere the wonderful orange brick set off the leaves.


Around the edges were grand flourishes – an allee of lime trees, an abandoned statue, a lake,


a pergola of roses looking up to the sky,


and finally the orchards and vegetable gardens.


Hard to believe that this is Kent and not the American mid-West when you look at these photos.

All photos September 2017.



Autumn is early this year – all photos from the cloisters of the Musee des Augustins in Toulouse in August 2017. Staggering to think these mid-autumn sights were the week of Ferragosto/the assumption feast, which is the peak of summer for Catholic Europe.