Moreton Corbet Castle

Moreton Corbet is the ruin of a half-castle half-stately home in Shropshire, a beautiful and peaceful place on the edge of a tiny village, surrounded by fields. The castle was built over a period of 500 years and abandoned in the 18th century when the family moved to another property. It’s a fascinating place to explore, a mix of building materials and styles, and lots of little details to admire.

Moreton Corbet – 9th July 2017


Poppies: Weeping Window in Derby

The Poppies: Weeping Window installation opened in Derby last weekend as part of the UK wide tour. The poppies were originally installed on the Tower of London to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. It’s nice that the installation has come to Derby, it sometimes feels like not much happens here.

It’s amazing to see, a sweep of red descending from the tower and spreading across the square that viewed close up becomes individual poppies and twisting black stalks. The art suits the building somehow, I wonder what the mill saw of the war…

Cromford Canal

The week before the late May bank holiday was glorious – hot, sunny and perfect for getting outside. Except I was in the office all week… so on the Saturday I decided to enjoy the last of the sunshine by walking along the Cromford Canal from Whatstandwell to Cromford. It’s a beautiful and peaceful place, sheltered by trees reflected in the water, lovely views across the valley in places, and very few people around.

I’ve been trying to practice my sketching and water colours recently so I took my sketchbook with me along the canal, and painted my sketches later on at home. I’m not much good at trees and lots of vegetation at the moment but I’m not doing too badly on more man-made features.

Earls Hill views


Earls Hill and Pontesford Hill are located near Pontesbury, Shropshire. It’s a steep climb for amazing views across Shropshire and over to Wales. There are 2 Iron Age hill forts up there, a perfect position to defend yourself against the neighbours, and the earthworks and embankments are still clearly defined.

earls map

Ordnance Survey/ Bing maps

Look at the contours on that! I’m so unfit, it was really hard work to get up there, but definitely worth it 🙂

Just beyond the city…

I don’t have to go far to find fields and rolling countryside. A few weeks ago it only took a few minutes walk from where I met the Meet-up group to have escaped the city and be able to enjoy the rural autumn. I haven’t done much walking close to Derby, and I don’t know the North of the city well, so it was still somewhere new to explore even if it isn’t exactly the Himalayas 🙂 It wasn’t a strenuous or wild walk, just lots of farms and distant views of the city in the sunshine. We also saw a couple of what I think are WWII watch towers – Derby has a long history of engineering so it was probably a likely target… We only got slightly lost once, and like any good walk it ended at a good cafe for lunch and a chance to properly socialise .

In the new year I want to properly start walking again – before Christmas there’s just too much other stuff to do!

Evening view


So I’m procrastinating on moving out because it’s stressful, and I do love that distant view and the walk to work – but not so much the wasteland in front of it, or the damp, or the drunk I saw getting arrested at the end of the road earlier this evening…

Too much mess, in my flat and in my brain – this weekends plan is to tidy everything.

The end of the adventure

A few more pictures from the end of my trip. I’m now back home with laundry and leaflets all over the floor, and it’s already feeling like a bit of a dream… Back to work on Monday, and I’ve got a bag of strangely flavoured Kit Kat’s for the office!


Yakushima waterfall



Yakushima is a small island to the South of Kyushu. It’s mainly National Park and UNESCO world heritage site, ancient forests with thousand year old trees, and views of smoking offshore volcanoes! It’s a beautiful and wild place.


Great Buddha, Nara


Messenger of the Gods, chaser of tourists


Kofuku-ji pagoda, Nara

Nara is an ancient capital of Japan and full of temples, shrines and deer. The big attraction (literally and figuratively) is the 16m tall Great Buddha, the largest in Japan. While I was there the monks were circling and chanting, it felt like a very special place.

The deer are the messengers of the gods that carry people’s prayers, they’ll also eat anything and chase tourists for food! There’s numerous sellers of deer biscuits in the park with deer gathered around and tourists trying to bribe deer for good photos 🙂 The deer are so calm, I saw people stroking them and posing next to them, but there are warning signs around because they are still wild animals.


View of Kyoto from the Kyoto tower, including Higashi Honganji


View of Kyoto from the Kyoto tower

Late afternoon views of Kyoto with temples. So many temples!


View of Tokyo including the Tokyo tower, from the Shinagawa Prince Hotel

I booked my last hotel in Tokyo on one of the upper floors of a fancy hotel. I then spent the entire evening admiring the view! The orange spike centre back of the picture is the Tokyo tower, and to the right are the train tracks.

Now to adjust to the right time zone…