Spring hadn't sprung yesterday, but it certainly felt as if it was about to. Youngest Boy and I decided to go down the road to Kirby Hall, somewhere I've continually gone back to for, ooh, a very long time. Snowdrops gave a soft patterning of white as we went down the avenue, the Hall itself welcomed us with window bar shadows reaching out into the bare empty rooms. After the obligatory hiding from each other and then jumping out with blood-curdling shouts (annoying those with audio tours clamped to their ears) we ventured outside. The upturned willow had to be climbed, but I took great pleasure in seeing what had happened to it since it fell over six years ago or so. My first picture of it above was taken in 2010, and I was so gratified that it hadn't been attacked with a chain saw (probably because willow spits like hell in a woodburner) or replaced by a sapling in a rabbit-proof plastic tube. No, it had been left to itself, and now wands of new willow have shot up in profusion. Sometimes we manage too much.
It was all very invigorating, and when we got home ready to start preparing lunch (well, I did) we found that the daffodils had trumpeted out from the Adnam's jug. Spring really does seem to be around the corner. Let's hope.
I am a designer, writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012), Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012) and English Allsorts (Adelphi 2015)
"Open this book with reverence. It is a hymn to England". Clive Aslet
"Enchanting...delightful". The Bookseller "Cheekily named" We Love This Book
The Cigarette Papers
"Unexpectedly pleasing and engrossing...beautifully illustrated". The Bookseller
"Until the happy advent of Peter Ashley's Cross Country it has, ironically, been foreigners who have been best at celebrating Englishness". Christina Hardyment / The Independent
More from Unmitigated England
"Give this book to someone you know- if not everyone you know." Simon Heffer, Country Life. "When it comes to spotting the small but telling details of Englishness, Peter Ashley has no equal." Michael Prodger, Sunday Telegraph