Category Archives: England

全てが緑に。 Everything’s Gone Green


The Cotswolds has gone green. Yesterday I stopped the car to pick up some twigs to support some pea plants. Walking on a little further I stumbled across some woods that I’d never seen before and the last of the Spring bluebells just fading fading out. Quite beautiful.



Back at home I used the twigs in a trough. 家に帰ってから、私は小枝をトラフ(図)に立てた。


It’s amazing how the pea plants bid themselves around the twigs within a few hours. Plant instinct.



クリスマスの伝統 その 2 : ヤドリギ


It’s a tradition to bring Mistletoe into the house at Christmas.


Mistletoe is a common sight in the Cotswolds, high in the trees that line the country lanes. It’s a mysterious, parasitic plant that feeds on trees and looks like a loose ball of leaves suspended from bare winter branches.


In my case, I took two boughs from my father’s apple tree this afternoon. Cutting your own mistletoe is very satisfying… it’s good for the host tree and the vivid green brightens up the house in December.


This winter, all the local mistletoe seems to be especially bright and perfect, with plenty of the usual milky white berries. Tradition says that if you stand under the mistletoe you can ask for a kiss. And there is said to be a kiss for every berry…



Christmas Tradition 1: Christmas Cards クリスマスの伝統 その1 : クリスマスカード

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December – time to send Christmas cards.


Christmas cards aren’t as old a tradition as you might think – the picture above is the very first one and goes back to 1843, when the Post Office wanted the new ‘Penny Post’ popular. The Penny Post made sending letters affordable for ordinary people.


I think that it’s nice to send hand made cards at Christmas. This year I made a linocut of a peace dove, cutting shapes into a piece of lino.



Then paint and roller, I used a glass chopping board to roll the ink on…



Then rolled the ink onto the lino.



Cover the entire thing (not too much ink!) then…



Press down onto some folded card.



Next the best bit of the process… carefully remove the lino to reveal the print.



Repeat and build up your pile of Christmas cards.



When they’re dry, they’re all ready to send off.



A Word About British Food. And a Visit to a Fish and Chip Shop. イギリスの食べ物に関してひとこと。そしてフィッシュ.アンド.チップスのお店について。


It seems that Britain’s food image isn’t very good worldwide. Whereas people travel to France or Italy because of the food, research tells us that many people view British food with suspicion.  Certainly our style is different, often with an emphasis on quantity, large pieces of meat etc which must be unpleasant to visitors from Japan who are more used to quality of presentation.


Things aren’t all bad though. Raw materials – ingredients – in Britain can be very high quality, with good standards or organic production and organic integrity.  My own theory is that much of the best English food is served at home.  For that reason I don’t often eat takeaway food.  There are maybe four main kinds of takeaway food here – which are based on Britain’s history as a country with an empire. Almost every town, or even large village will have an Indian and Chinese takeaway and many have a Thai Restaurant (So you see, we quite like rice!).

しかし、事態はそれほど悪いものではない。原材料 ― 原料 ― に関してはイギリスはスタンダード、オーガニック生産や完全オーガニック性とともに質がとても高い。私自身の意見は、最高のイングリッシュフードは家庭で食べるに限るということだ。こういう理由から私はめったにテイクアウトは利用しない。


The fourth style is thought to be our national dish – fish and chips. In fact I had fish and chips today, although this is quite unusual for me – heavy food!  Britain has an estimated 10,500 fish and chip shops and on any Friday, one in five takeaways are from the chip shop. An estimated 229 million portions of fried fish are sold in the UK every year.

4番目は我々独自の国家的食べもの ー フィッシュ&チップスである。実は私は今日、フィッシュ&チップスを食べたのであるが、これは珍しいことだ。 ― 私にはヘビーすぎる食べ物なのだ。イギリスには想定10,500のフィッシュ&チップスの店があり、金曜のテイクアウトの5件に一件はフィッシュ&チップスだそうだ。また毎年想定2億2900万の魚のフライがイギリスで売られている。

The UK’s favourite fish choice is cod, which accounts for six out of 10 portions sold. Haddock comes in second, at 25 per cent. The remaining 13.5 per cent includes hake, halibut, plaice, pollock and sole.


Sadly, not many fish and chip restaurants are very high quality – if you visit the UK, please be careful and ask advice to find a good one. I think that the restaurant that I went to today is a good one. It’s called Simpsons in Cheltenham and so here is my guide to a good Fish and Chip shop and what to look out for if you want good English Fish and Chips. 


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The place has to be spotlessly clean of course. And it’s nice to see an award in the window and a queue of people waiting to get in. This Fish and Chip shop takes sustainability very seriously – stocks of Cod (the traditional ‘fish and chips’ fish) are threatened and so they also offer alternatives, only use wild fish from sustainable grounds and sends its waste fat to be made into bio-fuel. All very good to see.

もちろん店内は完璧に清潔であること。窓にはアワードを受けた証拠であるスティッカーが貼ってあり、外には席の空くのを待つお客の列ができている。このフィッシュ&チップスの店は‘持続性’をとても真剣に考えている ー コッド(伝統的なフィッシュ&チップスに使われる魚)は将来的存在が危険な状態にあるために、その他の魚を使うことや、持続性のある場所で取れる野生のコッドを使い、廃物となる脂肪はバイオ燃料になる。大変いいことだ。

I think it’s also good when the Fish and Chip Shop (we call them ‘Chippies’ affectionately) have well designed menus. To me, that means they are taking care of all the details.


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So I ordered a takeaway which was delivered in a smart cardboard box (keeps everything warm).  All very nice too – the traditional accompaniment is bread and butter and a cup of tea. Not especially healthy – mind you I only do it once a month!


全て良かった - 伝統ではバターを塗ったパンと紅茶と一緒に食べる。特別健康的とは言えないが - まあ、一か月に一度だから良しとしよう。


Slow Travel スロートラベ

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I had a visit from Japanese friends this week, Mrs Yuka Shimoda and her husband Koishi. They are very busy people (Yuka is Editor in Chief of Modern Living Magazine and Koishi is a magician, part of The Napoleons, a comedy magic act in Japan) and so a holiday is a very rare thing for them. I was really pleased that they decided to spend most of their time in one place rather than the more usual type of holiday that involves dashing all over Britain to see as much as possible. This is the idea behind ‘slow travel,’ an idea that emphasises allowing time for experiences rather then having a long list of things to ‘tick off’ a list when on holiday.


The other thing that reminded me of ‘slow travel’ recently was seeing some pictures from the much appreciated translator of this blog, Mrs Yumiko Kijima-Tivers.  Many of her clients now choose to travel more meaningfully by exploring a particular theme or idea.  Yumiko, who is a London-based Blue Badge Guide, has recently been exploring the world of William Morris for some clients and provided the pictures on this page. You can see her blog here.

最近、‘スロートラベル’に関して気が付いた別の例は、このブログの翻訳をしている木島タイヴァース由美子さんから送られた写真を見た時だった。今や彼女のクライエントの多くは特別なテーマやアイディアを追及して、より意義のある旅行をしている。由美子はロンドンをベースとするブルーバッジ.観光ガイドで、最近ウィリアム.モリスの世界を周るツアーで仕事をした際の写真が送られてきた。See her blog too!

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It’s always interesting to see what other people photograph when they visit the Cotswolds and I love the fact that her pictures are often details of real cottages rather than castles; local people’s gardens rather then large public gardens and so on. Travel slowly, meet local people and take time to enjoy local food and traditions – that’s the real way to travel!

コッツウォルズを訪れる人が撮影した写真にはいつも興味があるが、彼女の写真は、例えばお城よりは普通のコテージ、一般公開されている大きなガーデンよりは地元の人々のガーデンを撮影したものが多く、とても気に入っている。 ゆっくり旅をしよう。そして地元の人たちとの触れあい、地元の食事や伝統をゆっくり味わう ー これこそが旅行の本当の楽しみ方だ!

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Clipping Celebrations at Painswick Village ペインズウィック村のクリッピング.セレブレーション


Painswick is a Cotswold village that is not as well-known as it should be. To me, it’s almost perfect, set on the side of a Cotswold valley and with the most beautiful church. The Cotswold stone, deep gold elsewhere, has a beautiful silver quality here.


In the churchyard there are huge shaped yew trees. 



Today was the ‘Clipping Ceremony.’  ‘Clipping’ is an Old English term meaning ‘encirclement’ and on this day the people of Painswick would join hands around the church exterior and sing their Clipping Hymn.  ‘Clipping’ has nothing to do with clipping trees,  it’s just a coincidence that there are trimmed yew trees.




As usual, any village celebration is an opportunity for food,  drink and a little light gossip amongst the yew trees and gravestones. At the back of this picture is one of my favourite old gravestones – in the shape of a pyramid. Afterwards we walk to the always dramatic place called Painswick Beacon – an ancient (500bc) British fort with 360 degree views of patchwork-like fields and the fleeting shadows of clouds racing over them.

他の村祭り同様この日もイチイの木や墓石を囲んで、食べたり、飲んだり、ゴシップをする絶好の機会だ。写真の後ろの方にある墓石は私の気に入っている古い墓石のひとつだ ― ピラミッドの形をしている。その後、私たちはいつもドラマチックな景観を見せてくれるペインズウィック.ビーコンへと歩いた ― 古代の(紀元前500年)イギリスの砦で、そこからは360度のパッチワークのような田園と、そこに落ちる雲の影が見渡せる。それは田園の上をまるで競争して走る一連の雲が落とす影だ。


Three Signs of Autumn 秋の兆し


When the weather is fine, September is an enjoyable month in the Cotswolds. It does, however, feel slightly lost between between two seasons. Summer is nearly over, Autumn is coming… we lose our long sunny days and we look forward to Autumn colour.


Now the fields themselves are changing colour as farmers stack up the hay and plough the fields turning them from straw to brown, their tractors followed by colonies of birds investigating the newly turned soil for insects.


Hay bales are enigmatic things. When I was young they were stacked in the barn at the back of my grandfather’s farm. We played there and made houses from the bales. There were chickens too and sometimes they laid eggs in the hay. The smell and rough sensation of touching straw are very enigmatic. I had my first kiss in a straw barn.


The signs of the end of summer are straw bales, the change in colour of fields and also the arrival of blackberries. They’re delicious cooked with apples. Preparing them stains your hands and your lips as you steal a few from the pile.