Because there are few things we can be sure of….

St. George’s Day 2014


Today is a day to pay respects to my English heritage. Therefore, I make no apologies for the origins of the blood in my veins.
I love my Mother Country, her gentle curves, her secret groves. I love her brutal moors and dramatic shoreline. I honour her quiet places and her ancient stones.

In the marrow of my bones is the rich soil of her lands, the chalk of the south and the granite of the north. Her tides ebb and flow along the estuaries and fill the bays and coves; so, too, my life and experiences flow and flood

Nestled in the mighty oak or hidden under a summer willow; there you will find my peaceful heart. Sown throughout the fields – both young green and wise gold – is the story of my life. The blackbird sings me home and the buttercups celebrate my return.

This is my England.
Noble, ancient, magnificent, beautiful.

Today, I rejoice in having been born in such a blessèd country.
Today, more than ever, I am English and proud.

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Middlemost Cottage (Part One)


This is the tale of Middlemost Cottage. You may find it hard to believe, unlikely or pure fantasy; that is your prerogative. I am telling it to you because I fear that the story will die with me. Before my faculties totally desert me, I shall try to explain Middlemost and how I fell under her spell.

Being rather easily tired these past few months, I shall write a little when the light and arthritis allow. I beg your indulgence as I stumble through the account that follows.

Let’s begin at the beginning.

This is where the story starts as far as records go. I reproduce them below to allow you to see what was written by better educated men than I.

Further, three miles northwards, having left Wilson at Rhine Villa to tend his injured mare, we passed by a small dwelling on our right-hand side. It had about it an air of stillness and, despite only having ridden a short time, I was inclined to rest in that place for a while.

“That’s Middle O’Mist Cottage, sir,” said Tom. “It’s hard on a man to pass without stopping by, such as it is.”

l, for myself, could not observe any outward strangeness in the little cottage. It was in a cheerful and pleasant locality with a splendid view towards the Western hills. We continued apace and on fully passing by the dwelling I was wont to turn and remain there, perhaps to spend a day or a night within.

 Aitken, J. H. (1898). An Artist Abroad: Observations on South Australia

Adelaide: Ridley Educational Society

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