Brief visit over the North Downs to Longfield in Kent. It’s the first stop after Bromley South on the fast train to Dover. Brian showed me a short hike up to Ruffet’s Wood for the views towards the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf in the London Docklands. There’s a feeling of wide openness under a huge and distant horizon but it’s impossible to ignore the pylons in every direction.
Longfield is an intriguing place because it stayed small for so long; it’s recorded by its Norse/Danish name as Langafel in the Doomsday Book and before but there are only the church and rectory shown on the OS map of 1869. The railway passed through but didn’t stop here until a station was paid for in 1872 by a landowner in nearby Fawkham. By 1897 the OS map shows a smithy, a children’s nursery near the station, chalk and clay pits, brickworks, farms, orchards and pub: an infrastructure has been established, including a National School in the next village for “Lost Boys” (orphans), presumably also to supply labour.
Longfield has a small church, the tradition locally is that much of the early church was built c.1343 with major additions in 1886, including the tower.
Crystal clear day thanks to the Mistral, the autumn light showing Marseille’s Palais Longchamps to great effect. A plentiful flow of water through the cascades, though the lower fountains weren’t running. The stone comes from upstream at Calissanne (near the A7 péage of Lançon) with the figure of Durance surrounded by Cérès et Pomone at the centre of an allegorical ensemble. Historically, Palais Longchamps, the château d’eau, was the end point for the Canal de Provence which first brought plentiful drinking water to Marseille from the Alps in 1849, following a terrible cholera epidemic and droughts in the 1830s.
This is l’Isle sur la Sorgue, Vaucluse and it’s Provence at its touristy height. Often unbearably hot in summer but pleasantly warm in the low twenties this afternoon.
L’Isle sur la Sorgue is in an unusual and picturesque location being an island as the river splits but despite flooding, medieval sieges and fires the old town survives with the architecture of a Provençale town that was previously fortified.
The poetry of Frederic Mistral is how the French know of L’Isle sur la Sorgue but I was intrigued to seek out the “restaurant” which Keith Floyd set up there in the Seventies, before his more well-known and longer-lasting venture in Wiveliscombe, Devon. Keith Floyd took cooking on television out of being a public information slot to being fun and entertainment. He paved the way for all the modern television chef personalities. My connection is that I worked the vision for a mini-series he did on location for GMTV in the Nineties.
Why climb a mountain? For a selfie at the top, of course. The show on the Aiguille du Midi is both Mont Blanc, the high mountains and the glaciers but also us, the tourists. There are only so many ways to do a selfie and I saw most of them up here. Mine are the time-honoured method of handing my camera to a trustable-looking fellow tourist.
The lighthouse, the ships, the birds, the rocks, the sea and the sky all contribute to the sense of place of Corsewall Point at the north end of the Rhins of Galloway peninsular in south-west Scotland. Corsewall Lighthouse has been lit since 1816 and protects the rocky coast of the North Channel, the strait between the Irish Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.