Invincible summer |||

A light shines in Buckinghamshire

To Beaconsfield to stomp around the beech woods of rural Buckinghamshire under the tutelage of the Time Out Book of Country Walks.

John Milton
John Milton

We burned off a good breakfast and were hungry when we arrived at the White Hart in Chalfont St Giles. Here the decor was an excellent guide to the cooking: stylish in a distracted way, and overpriced. The town is visually everything one wants from a country walk.

Geoffrey Hill: A Treatise on Civil Power

We knocked and were admitted at the cottage of John Milton, to be instructed by its curator. My education nodded at Milton but passed him by. I now know I must read him to understand Geoffrey Hill and in these naughty times should also explore his views on what it takes to live as a free person.

So I was excited to hear our host speak of a revival of interest in Milton. Are others floating in these same currents? No, I was reminded, last year was Milton’s 400th anniversary. I had innocently supposed the study of a poet as serious as Milton protects against a certain frivolity of mind; apparently not.

Deep Quaker country this. Must look into the Society of Friends, the long-persecuted heirs of the Levellers, Independents and Fifth Monarchists.

A satisfying twelve miles, a nap in the car, then to Holland Park to dine memorably with Anne Tupker & Phil ‘Bomber’ Harris, who are now entertaining as a couple, bless ’em.

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