These photos were taken around this time last year, near Hermitage, West Berkshire. At the time, my dear mother was approaching the end of her life and staying in the West Berkshire Community Hospital, and we were driving from London several times a week to visit her.
If you live in Australia, Canada or the US, you'd probably consider that our 180 mile round trip was just around the corner, but actually it was tiring, involving getting right across London before even starting. This particular afternoon was very welcome to us. We had some time before we visited Mum, and so explored some woodland we had noticed before, called the Gerald Palmer Trust Eling Estate.
It was an incredibly beautiful mixed woodland with all kinds of trees and leaves, and spectacular displays of fungi of many different types. I did a post about it at the time, but I saved the pictures of fungi for another time. And here they are now. I know fungi aren't everyone's cup of tea, but I love them because they often seem to suggest another, fantastical world, and they come in such subtle colours and interesting shapes.
Every few hundred yards, it seemed, the type of tree changed, the types of leaves, the types of fungi
I looked up Gerald Palmer, and this is what I found. He sounds a remarkable man, perhaps the sort who could hardly exist nowadays, a philanthropist, landowner, academic, politican, public servant, sportsman and brave soldier with a leaning towards the spiritual life.
Couldn't help wondering what he would have thought of the people who had repaid his hospitality by leaving all their fast food junk around. Luckily, there was just one messed-up patch, which was near the road , and the estate seemed to be carefully managed.
I am grateful to the late Gerald Palmer for a wonderful and memorable afternoon, so let's not end on the selfish people and their junk. Here are another few photos of different parts of the estate.