Sarah Coles
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May 2022. A lift to Cheesefoot Head. The distant blue chimneys are Fawley Oil Refinery on Southampton Water (?). Wheat, here not tall yet. Path strewn with massive flints. Apron of open downland spreads out for miles. Sporadic sun lights the ground with fleeting, angels. Path becomes hedged. Jack-by-the-Hedge, also known as Garlic Mustard for its smell when rubbed (must try). Blue ground ivy. Blue self heal. Mostly coarser than the flowers of spring. Sapphires of speedwell. White butterflies, and cow parsley which I imagine wafts a gentle scent and then I see through a gap beyond huge fields of...
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Maybe days of long distance walks are over – Bob is nearly 91 and I don’t like to leave him too long – besides, I can’t do more than eight miles a day or rather, it feels too much, it ends being a weary tramp.  Anyhow, during the Covid years, 2020 and 2021, it was only local walks, and now the pubs have reopened, what could be better than ending at a pub with Bob there to take me home?  Sometimes I take a bus to the starting point.  Sometimes Bob leaves me somewhere, and I get the bus back to Alresford. What has transformed my walking is the app Outdoors GPS.  Wherever I am, my iPhone shows...
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Two long Covid years, not going anyway except to Landmark buildings with the family – great but there’s rain, shopping, washing up and cooking – we take it in turn.  These days I am slow, and Bob’s walking is poor.  He says mournfully, I’ll never go to Egypt again … But, Margot and I look up flights, and there are cheap EasyJet flights to Hurghada on the Red Sea.  We are booked!  Geordie buys me three prints from the bookshop, torn from old books, of Luxor from the water, Valley of the Kings and Plain of Thebes. The Covid paperwork is fearful, but Margot is enthusiastic and orders Covid...
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Spitalfields – the name comes not from spittle but from Hospital – St Mary’s Hospital in the in the middle ages.  Now it’s the liveliest part of London.  It doesn’t have the dead feel of Belgravia, or the cheap tourist vibe of Oxford Street.  Here, Brick Lane has Bangladeshi, Korean, Vietnamese, French restaurants, for locals.  It has a shop with nothing but varieties of Turkish delight.  I meet artist nephew Nick in the nearby market – he says, let’s eat here, but I say no, I’m not sitting on a bench munching a van take-away. We go to an Indian restaurant.  At the end I look at...
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Astley Castle -The Best Landmark Property of All

THE BEST Our first Landmark holiday was at Ascog on the Isle of Bute, when Dexter was four months old – now he is nineteen.  With Dexter, Bob and me, Bill and Margot with Geordie three years later, Ann who was at school with me in the 50s and Mike, and others from time to time, we have been to a Landmark property almost every year since.  Margot says it’s how she’s got to know the countryside. Every Landmark whether castle, farmhouse, townhouse, stable or mansion is a dilapidated historic property renovated by the Landmark Trust and then let for holidays.   Without exception, each is...
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