John Hillaby once wrote "Few things are more pleasant than a village graced with a good church, a good priest and a good pub.” I would add to that a labyrinth of lovely walking trails, a little town square with a enchanting cluster of shops and perhaps also a decent newsagent, cafe and grocery store (although my partner would add a good wine/beer store), and finally, a hamlet of gorgeous houses of all shapes and size, each with their own unique style and their unique garden, so you could walk a different route each day and never tire of the architecture and charm.
We are getting ready to leave our idyllic little village. It will be a shock to move to a city of 20 million people. I'm sure we'll miss walking our dogs down the middle of the road knowing there are no cars in sight, or waving to our neighbours over the garden gate, and stopping for a chat about the best way to cultivate peonies, or care for espaliered pears. So, as a small photographic tribute to the delights of village life, I thought I'd post some of my favourite scenes here.
Even the village church takes its gardens seriously.
Our road dressed in the bright green of new spring leaves.
Our kitchen garden, with the leaves burning in the sun behind it.
Our pitiful harvest from the kitchen garden last year.
Our neighbour's house, 'Longacre'. This was once the home of the famous Australian painter Arthur Streeton. It's now owned by his grandson. The driveway is lined with blue hydrangeas, which look glorious in high summer. You can't see the house but it's an Arts and Crafts-style cottage and still has Streeton's old studio in the rear.
Walking the dogs through the forest.