Arrival Stairway Towards sunset Herbaceous Greenhouse Church Wiston House Graveyard Farm tanks Path Roots Path 2 South Down Way Chanctonbury Ring Fort Beeches Panorama Panorama 2 Panorama 3 Fort disappearing On the way down
Down to Shoreham-by-Sea yesterday evening, then taxi out to Wilton Park to speak at their British-German Forum 2009. The theme: Can we shape capitalism to suit our future? Because I was speaking late today, after lunch I climbed up to Chanctonbury Ring – and its Iron Age hill fort, dating from around the 6th to 5th centuries BC. Had been raining earlier, which made the ground very muddy and slippery in places, but the sun was out and the ascent was a joy.
Reaching the top of Chanctonbury Hill, it was glorious to turn onto the South Down Way and make my way across the saddleback to the fort. Don’t know who planted the beeches up there, but they’re a wonder. Long-haired types wandering around the fort with a giant metal detector, but I was rapt by the views across to the North Downs in the north – and to the sea in the south.
From up there, Wilton Park looked tiny – seen across the back of a whirling buzzard. Semi-miraculous to be receiving email on my BlackBerry so high above the landscape. And, now I think of it, to be listening tot h likes of Elbow and Leo Kottke (oddly, it’s Rings) as I type this in to my Mac Book Pro.
Then back down to do my session – on the role of big business and on philanthrocapitalism – with Michael Green, co-author with Matthew Bishop of Philanthrocapitalism: How the rich can save the world and why we should let them. We agreed on most things – and the debate after our presentations was very energetic. Regretted having to head back to the station and back into London, where storm clouds were piling up in purple black meringues.