Taken at the Magna Carta exhibition, Salisbury Cathedral, Wiltshire
'Magna Carta: History Reflected'
Next Monday, 15th June 2015, is the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta, the Great Charter, by King John at Runnymede. This week, events are happening around the country to celebrate the sealing of this important historical document. Having visited many of the cities linked to Magna Carta on English Cabaret's pop tour of Dreams of Peace & Freedom, I have been fascinated by how the different places respond to the importance of the document and its relevance today. The place that stood out for me was the one at Salisbury Cathedral which had a small exhibition in its beautiful chapter house. The centrepiece was their copy of the original Magna Carta, of which there are only four in the country. It was on display in a small canopy tent to protect it from the glare of sunlight, but what surprised and delighted me was that you were welcome to take photographs of it without time restriction or having to elbow people out of the way . This is my favourite of the photos I took of the historical Charter.
The reflections, which overlay the image of the Charter gave me a momentary sense of the future being reflected in the past. Although it is 800 years since the document was sealed, it still has significance in the world today. It has inspired the American Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights and is considered worldwide as the earliest written record designed to protect our freedoms. As we pass the 800th anniversary and go forward into the future, we must remember how lucky we are to have those freedom, how hard people have fought for them and how important it is to protect them for future generations.
Taken at Chiddingstone Castle, Chiddingstone, Kent
'Childhood Memories at Chiddingstone Castle'
Last Sunday, on one of the best days of the year so far, we escaped the city smoke and drove down to Kent. My brother was playing cricket and whilst he was fielding, we took a trip down memory lane by visiting Chiddingstone Castle, where I spent the first ten years of my life. The Castle houses the collection of the English eccentric, Denys Eyre Bower, who lived there until 1977, so I grew up among among Egyptian artefacts, sarcophagi and legions of Samurai soldiers. Living in the Castle had delightful privileges - I got to take my school friends up to the battlements to see the view, play party games and have parties in the great hall and wander around the stunning grounds when no one was there. Almost every place has a meaning for me, from where I dropped my soft toy into the lake, to where I played Frisbee with the American custodians. This image is taken from the gazebo looking down to the southern face of the Castle. Although it looks rather imposing as a building, I feel incredibly at home here and can't wait to be able to show my children in the future my first and very special home.
Taken at the Luxembourg Palace, 6th arrondissment, Paris
‘One day, the air was warm, the Luxembourg was inundated with light and shade, the sky was as pure as though the angels had washed it that morning, the sparrows were giving vent to little twitters in the depths of the chestnut-nut trees.’
Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
For the last 3 years, I have put together a calendar at Christmas, featuring a selection of photos I have taken throughout the year. This year's calendar, Inspirational Places 2015, shared my favourite places with family and friends. This is the photo I chose for June, of the Luxembourg Palace, created at the beginning of the 17th century. Every time I pass it hanging on the wall in the kitchen, it brings back wonderful memories of our trip to Paris last April. As I wrote in a previous Photo of the Week (18th May), we had visited Paris to take pictures for my On Location: Les Miserables project, which explores the places that were important to the story of Les Miserables. One of the twelve locations I chose was the Luxembourg Gardens where Marius and Cosette first fall in love. It was one of the locations I was most looking forward to visiting as Hugo descriptions are so sensual. I wasn't disappointed. The weather was unbelievable for April and as we walked through the gardens that the characters had, I couldn't help but fall in love with the surroundings!
Taken at Birchden Farm, Groombridge,
Tunbridge Wells, Kent
'Sparrow's Grass at Birchden Farm'
The summer solstice doesn't just signify the beginning of the downhill run to Christmas as the light gradually decreases in the morning, but also signals the end of the season for my favourite vegetable - asparagus. The short asparagus season which starts at the end of April is a very special time in our family. There are so many different and delicious meals you can cook with it and when you get the first bundle you know that summer isn't far off. My earliest memories of asparagus are of using it as a fairy wand but I can't remember a time when I didn't love the taste. It's very difficult to describe as it is completely unique - sort of delicately 'green' and earthy. My favourite way to eat it, is very simply with melted butter and fresh bread! Asparagus is grown around the world in many varieties but I feel it is a very typically British ingredient and since I can remember, we have bought our asparagus from a farm shop in the 'Garden of England' otherwise known as Kent. You can buy from supermarkets and grocers up and down the country but I am prepared to swear to you it won't be as good or as lavish in its portions as this one!