Awoke to find blue skies, but they soon collapsed into turbulence once again. Still, Hambledon Hill looked splendid as we left for Hod Hill.
Having learned about their courage and ordeals in history at Bryanston, I felt we should stop off at the museum dedicated to the Tolpuddle Martyrs, but we found it closed for repairs, following flooding. Not sure what to make of the sculpture of George Loveless outside, but it was striking from some angles.
Having enjoyed cider so much – or so much cider – at Bryanston, and having enjoyed Dabinett cider in recent years, and having met Sue Clifford and Angela King of Common Ground at Romy’s last night, two people who have done more than pretty much anyone else to preserve and rebuild this country’s apple varieties and orchards, it seemed a good idea to drop in on the Cider Museum in Owermoigne. So we did.
Arrived late afternoon at another Sawday find, Manor Barn in Child Okeford, which Elaine had chosen in large part because it looks out onto Hambledon Hill, the extraordinary hill fort where I spent many charmed days during my time at Bryanston, just down the road. A sloping window allowed a star to peep in as I went to sleep – but that was after we had walked to the top of kestrel-accented Hambledon, in the gathering twilight, taking in the breath-taking views, that are almost 360 degrees,and has supper at the nearby Talbot.
A while back, I bumped into Alastair Sawday when I spoke at an event organised by Tomorrow’s Company, and tahnked him for his extraordinary guides – which Elaine has used for years. Yesterday, we arrived at Frampton House, which was another Sawday treasure, landscaped by no less than Capability Brown. Wonderfully sunny when we arrived yesterday afternoon, en route to Musbury, but pouring down at times as we got ready to leave this morning – after a wonderful breakfast.
Finally realised a childhood dream of making my way up Maiden Castle. We walked around the ramparts in a haze, but the experience was spellbinding. Several times we bumped into a delightful couple, once by the pit that held a series of much-the-worse-for-wear skeletons that Sir Mortimer Wheeler dubbed long-ago war victims. Whatever the truth, there was a sense of generations of lives lived out here, through thick and thin, and the spearpoint found in one spine was graphic evidence of the distress caused by the Romans turning up in the neighbourhood. In the distance, Poundbury shimmered through the haze, like something out of that old TV series, The Prisoner.
Drove down to Frampton, Dorset, to drop our bags at a rather grand B&B, before heading further west to Trill Farm, near Musbury, Devon, for a celebration of the launch of the Trill Farm Trust, This has been set up by Romy Fraser, who founded Neal’s Yard Remedies – and recently sold a majority holding to Peter Kindersley. Wonderful dancing to ceilidh band as the sun set.
Apart from Romy and Amrit Ahluwalia, who used to work with SustainAbility many, many moons ago and then worked with Romy, we bumped into people like Ed Posey of the Gaia Foundation, Richard St George (who used to work at the Centre of Alternative Technology) and Schumacher, Jude Smith Rachele of Abundant Sun, nd Sue Clifford and Angela King, who run one of my very favourite NGOs, Common Ground.
Driving back to Frampton very late, we found all the petrol stations closed and ourselves almost running on vapours – but found a station just about to close after some 25 minutes of heightening anxiety.
Day started with a brainstorm session at SustainAbility on the future of our accountability, reporting and stakeholder engagement work – a timely and vibrant discussion. Then, after drafting an article or two, walked across to Volans for a session with Andrea and Barry Coleman of Riders for Health. They updated our team on some of the stuff they are now doing and on their plans for the future. I really love what they do – and it was interesting that at last night’s dinner someone from a major mainstream organisation waxed lyrical about them, without initially knowing that we knew them.
I began this blog with an entry reporting on a visit to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, on 30 September 2003. The blog element of the website has gone through several iterations since, with older material still available on this site.
Like so many things in my life, blog entries blur the boundaries between the personal and the professional. As explained on the Home Page, the website and the blog are part platform for ongoing projects, part autobiography, and part accountability mechanism.
In this new iteration of the site, the ‘Comments’ function has been reanimated. Please do make use of it.