Posted on May 26, 2013
I was down at Stonehenge once in my life. This was when I was staying at Dogmersfield, and I was told that Stonehenge was but an hour away. Now, I would love to add some stuff about the history and the mystery of Stonehenge, but so much has been written that I am not sure if any one would be interested in reading my little bit of twaddle. However, when I did get there, I must confess to being a little disappointed. This disappointment, in a sense, was stupid. I mean, what was I expecting?
A bunch of stones in a circle is not that impressive, visually, and as I gulped down my disappointment, I started to walk around, and I started to think of evenings under the moonlit sky, druids chanting hymns and spells in a stone circle. As they stood there, with the fire burning, and the clouds rolling in the moonlit sky, they opened up the heavens with their chants.
People from across the land brought these stones to this place, and placed them in a circle. For what, we really don’t know.
As I looked across the countryside, and took in the clouds, something of the magic entered me. There was something altogether mystical, something altogether magical about those stones in the countryside, under the timeless skies.
Posted on May 21, 2013
I am not going to put too much text into this entry. The memory of that beautiful evening in Dogmersfield will stay with me for a long, long time.
I sat outside in the open air, drinking white wine, and then some red wine, eating some food and photographing one of the best sunsets ever. Now, I am agnostic, bit if there is a God, then the presence of the Divine is revealed in Nature, and I really don’t care what people like Richard Dawkins have to say.
Anyway, I sat there through the evening, watching the sun go down, and as the sun went down, the sky changed it’s colour right through the evening. The electric lines and posts were, to me, an integral part of the composition. Sometimes, life can really be good!
Posted on May 19, 2013
I spent a weekend at Dogmersfeld, or Dogmersfield, near London, several years ago. I had to meet a company, and they were available only on the Friday. I arrived on the Thursday, and walked around. Where was I staying? Yes, at the Four Seasons Hotel, and I must say, that this is a great property that they have. Wonderful restaurants, great rooms, and the hotel is absolutely smack in the middle of a wonderful bit of British countryside.
You can wax as eloquently as you want to, about the English countryside, but unless you actually experience it, you can’t wax on eloquently enough. Now, this is not The Lake Districts and I am sure that Wordsworth would would sniff at the countryside of Hampshire, but whichever way you look at it, it is wonderful.
As usual, I must philosophize a bit. Places like Dogmersfield are great places to get away on the weekend, and let your soul wander up and down the clouds that float along in the sky. We simply don’t have enough of these in India. The ones that we do have, are gated, and you walk around in solitary splendor, completely oblivious of life beyond the gates. I had a great time that first evening, walking around, looking at the bales of whatever, nicely stacked on the fields. Photographing bales is a strange thing to do, but what the hell? If they form a decent enough photograph, and if you can make them look attractive enough, then you have a decent enough picture.
And, what of PG Wodehouse? I took the picture of the swan below, thinking of that fantastic story of Bertie Wooster, stranded on a little island, trying to negotiate a swan. For me? Well, while I was happy to walk around photographing the swan, I had no intention of arousing it’s anger, and I gingerly stepped around the swan, ensuring that it knew I was a peaceful fellow!
So, there I was, on a Thursday evening, walking around peacefully, with not a care in the world. So yeah, if you are in London, and fancy a quiet weekend in the midst of nature, Dogmersfield is definitely a place you should include in your travel plans!
Posted on May 13, 2013
I have decided to put three pictures of London into one blog post. Now, there is nothing really, to be added about these attractions, as they have been visited by many, many people over the years. The weather was great on all the days that we were there, and this is the great part of the holiday. Gone, we were, from the crappy weather in York. The memory of Scotland carried us into our few days in London.
We visited all the obligatory touristy places – Madame Tussaud’s Museum, the London Eye (which, I must say, is a total waste of money), The Tower of London (which, we should have explored more), London Bridge, and the changing of the Guards. All this is good and true. I must say, when I saw the Guards standing there in their wonderful tall hats, I did wonder what they do when they need to pee. Do they have some sort of code, some sort of sign (like a nose twitch) that we don’t notice? There has to be something, and sadly, my queries were never answered. Yet, I have to say, the task of standing there for hours, absolutely stationary requires tremendous discipline and I admire them for this.
London is freakishly expensive, and the only sane way to travel in the city, is the tube. It is a pain, though. Most of the “Indian” restaurants, as we discovered, are run by Pakistanis and by Bangladeshis. The food in most of them is not bad, but not something that, in my opinion, reminds me of home. I can imagine a Chinese fellow from Mainland China visiting Mainland China restaurant in India, only to be treated to Indian Chinese food. The only thing that we do passably well, is the dim sum stuff. But even there, we scratch the surface.
After doing the touristy stuff, I came away with one question: why on earth is London such a popular tourist destination? At the end of the holiday, I must say that I was a bit nonplussed by this.
I did live in England during my childhood, and the memories of those glorious days stays with me. Yet, in the two trips that I made to London in the last few years have convinced me that this is not the place for me.
Have I missed something somewhere? Hm. I am not so sure!
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