Saturday, May 31, 2014

Garden statutes in Charleston farmhouse

No money for Rodin, no problem, just make them yourselves. That's the way of Charleston farmhouse where a group of Bohemians lived, Vanessa Bell, her gay lover, Duncan Grant and her children. Later her estranged husband, Clive Bell moved in. They went apart even though they never divorced. John Maynard Keynes took up residence here for a while and their friends who came over to their flat in the Bloomsbury area of London also visited. These group of artists and intellectuals formed a group in the London flat in the Bloomsbury area and they were given the name 'the Bloomsbury group.' These are the work of one of Vanessa's sons, Quentin Bell. He wrote and dabbled in pottery.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Wild England

 I heard that a lot of apple trees dot the English highway from years of people in cars spitting out the seeds of apples. I've seen cherry trees laden with cherries.
 The wild meadows are a repository for all kinds of wild flowers, some are quite unusual and rare.

The shuttle took us past wild meadows, hedgerows and cultivated meadows. England, it seems export silage (grass) because there's so much of it.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Lunch time at Charleston farmhouse

 Hot food is served in the barn..
 Hot food meant pizza which I didn't fancy. I wanted some English food, ploughman's lunch maybe.

 Here at a tent was cold food, I opted for an almost frozen slice of quiche.
 Did some writing as I ate, asked a lady next to me to take my picture.
Though the food was nothing to write home about, the surroundings was sumptuous. It was an extremely beautiful day.

Charleston farmhouse

This was where I made the trip to Lewes. Until 6 months ago I've never even heard of Charleston farmhouse or the Bloomsbury group. Virginia Woolf, I've heard of but never read anything written by her. But here I was visiting Charleston farmhouse and reading everything I can get my hands on about the Bloomsbury group. Susan Branch, an American author visited Charleston farmhouse in her new book spoke of such a charming place that I had to visit for myself. Everything was how she described it. The grounds was so beautiful and the interiors was nothing like you've ever seen in your life.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Charleston farmhouse, a video

Lewes, Sussex, England

 The path leading up to Lewes castle.
 A church spire.
 The alley leading to Anne of Cleves' house. She was given a house here by King Henry VIII but she never lived in it. I didn't have time to see it though it was just a few houses down this lane.

Lewes, though quite small, has cute and interesting shops. This is one of the closest train station to Charleston farmhouse and therefore sees a lot of visitors, those who come to visit Charleston. An easy train ride from London Victoria station puts you right in Lewes.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The battle of Lewes 1264

I arrived in Lewes to find the whole town or almost the whole town in period costumes. Up in the castle ground all the actors gathered to reenact the battle of Lewes which happened on May 14, 1264. So every year on May 14 except this year it was on May 16 which was a Saturday. It was a battle between King Henry III and Simon de Monfort. I didn't stay to watch as the shuttle from Lewes to Charleston farmhouse was about to leave.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Smell the roses

They say, to stop and smell the roses. I've reached that time in my life when I need to do that. As the train raced towards Dresden, Germany, I saw to my delight the masses of wild roses along the tracks. I can't help feeling excited. To those living there the scene might seem boring but to one like me from Southern California where we only plant succulents it was a great delight. In Dresden I found a rose garden and as I sat on this bench I collared a passerby to take my picture. He obliged. I sat for a few moments longer savoring the sweet smell of the roses. It was a moment of heaven.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Lewes, England

The closest town to Charleston is Lewes or at least the closest trim station is Lewes. I caught the train from Victoria station in London. They were reenacting the battle of Lewes that Saturday morning and I only got to see some of them in costume. There was a shuttle between Lewes train station and Charleston farmhouse and I waited with a bunch of older ladies. It seems they come from all over the area and come to visit a few times each year. They meet friends there or families. There was supposed to be a reading by an author there that day and Charleston was teeming with visitors.

Let us to the garden go

 Bring the wheel barrow and make yourself useful....
 Enter this way, through the walled garden. This was the original wall of the early days of the farmhouse.

The shuttle dropped us off at around 12 noon, we had another hour before the first tour of the days starts. So we wandered around the grounds till our tour of the house starts. Its enough just being outside in that glorious sunlight and being among such beauty. There was another English lady that I sat next to on the bus. While we were in the house we were mouthing and repeating everything that the guide said, it felt like we've there before, after reading all about the house. She asked who my favorite Bloomsbury person was. I hadn't thought about it but she told me hers was Dora Carrington, the painter.

Official photograph

I had my picture taken by the official photographer of Charleston trust. He said they display pictures of visitors and being the only non white person he picked me. I asked him to use my camera to take my picture.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

I love you England

I just landed home. What a glorious day that was the day I went to Charleston farmhouse. The weather was so perfect, unseasonably warm. Everyone was in a good mood. I met a lot of retired English ladies who make the trek to Charleston a few times a year from wherever they lived. Every year the Charleston trust puts up the Charleston festival where an author would come and give a talk. The ladies would meet friends and families there or they'll rekindle old friendship. What a marvelous idea. But more abut Charleston in later postings.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


Leaving for London now.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Old Jaffa, Israel

Early morning stroll in old Jaffa.

Tel Aviv

Early morning in Tel Aviv, Israel, February 2014!