Essex in 2018 ... parched in summer's heat!


looking south

dead tree

Green appears where a small stream soaks away into the canal, a lush background to the skeleton of a fallen tree.


Almost ready for harvesting, and it's still only July.

path westwards


And finally... a most beautiful navigation, running from Chelmsford to the sea at Maldon.

What does it mean to be 'at home'?

This question has been the starting point for my last two books. The first - Home - explores the concept of personal space, and a sense of belonging. The second - Little Baddow: the story of an Essex village - surveys the history of the village of my birth, which is the place where I feel most rooted.

In a cosmopolitan world, does it make sense to commit to a particular place? Can we live without a sense of home? These questions impact on our sense of identity, and also influence questions of religion and politics.

And this particular corner of Essex is, in fact...

If you're local, or inclined to explore the history of a small village community from the Ice Age to the Edwardians, just click the cover for more information.


Weeks of hot weather and no rain left the Essex countryside parched in the summer of 2018. So, for once, my photographs are not of far-flung places but of the fields and canal just half a mile from my former office and home.

The footpath gently drops down towards the canal, where the water of the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation flows in leisurely abundance eastwards, towards Maldon, the Blackwater Estuary and the North Sea.

But my temptation, having reached the towpath is to turn westwards, and head upstream to where the Old Stables tearoom at Paper Mill Lock offers a great line in coffee and cakes!

across field

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