#18 Shaw’s Corner, Hertfordshire

IMG-20140720-01441The village of Ayot St Lawrence is reached on single track roads with passing places, grass growing in the centre. ‘Shaw’s Corner’ is a haven at the edge of the village: George Bernard Shaw wrote extensive directions for drivers to find his house from London and St Albans. Nicknamed in Shaw’s lifetime, there are photographs of the villagers lining the gates to celebrate his birthday, and of his fan mail being passed through the kitchen windows.

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#17 Ayot St Lawrence on a Sunday

Welwyn Hatfield-20140720-01457

The writer who once lived in this village described it as always feeling like a Sunday here. It is a Sunday stillness which surrounds us as we pause at the church gate. Here stands the ‘Ruined Church’ of Ayot St Lawrence. Altered and added to since the 1100s, it was in the 18th century when it was pillaged for materials after the opening of the Greek Revivalist church in the village. In the 19th century it was purposely ruined further to add to its sense of Romanticism. George Bernard Shaw photographed the church in the early 1900s.

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#16 Pinning the Butterfly*

Koi Carp 1*For illustrative purposes, this has to be a fish**. I don’t have a good picture of a butterfly. They’re hard to capture.

**I took this picture in a pond at Trebah Gardens in Cornwall.

At the age of 16, I used the analogy of ‘pinning the butterfly’ to describe the writing process. Now I’m older, that butterfly remains elusive.Too many words cause its wings to tear. Too few, and it floats away.

Now, thanks to a nomination from my good friend Dragon Scales I have a chance to explain my writing process in literal, rather than metaphorical terms. Thanks, Dragon Scales! (“I keep some of my mind in each of their heads. It frees up more space for thinking about dragons.” Ahh, that’s why my head hurts!)


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#15 Hatfield Park


It’s a long track which leads from the Yard to Hatfield Park. Two runners loop a circle run, training for Sunday’s marathon. The oak tree where Queen Elizabeth 1 learned of her succession to the throat stands fenced and protected. From here, the screech of the trains to London is audible, despite the incessant chirping of birds.

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#13 Autumn in Westminster


A statue of Emmeline Pankhurst greets visitors to the gardens at the side of Westminster. A bench next to it was donated by someone’s family in 1979. The plinth where figurines by Rodin usually perch stands empty; the statue is on loan to a Henry Moore exhibition in the north. 

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