Welcome to Martin Knight's Website!
 
             In the Table of Contents listed on the left you will see that the first web pages are devoted to pictures and news of the family; these are followed by observations and reflections on this geographer's travels, then samples of ongoing research interests of mine in South London, North Kent, and South Wales. 
             As well as having been a keen geographer and teacher all my working life, I am a committed Christian (Anglican by tradition and inclination but ecumenical in outlook), and a family man who enjoys travelling, hill walking, and attempting to keep pace with a burgeoning collection of family photographs, colour slides from teaching days, and more recent digital images.  In my retirement I continue to have a keen practical interest in landscape and photography, local history and archaeology, and geology and ecology. I research and lead local Guided Walks (and am increasingly consulted as Dulwich's 'Effra man'!) while my wife manages our family properties and her shares and investment portfolio, and researches our holidays on the Web. All of the above interests are reflected in the content of this website.


2016-17 - Greetings from leafy Dulwich! 

Our family is still growing - in every sense of the word! We have a widening  extended family, the grandchildren are growing fast (five now, ranging from 13 years to 18 months), horizons (and waistlines?) are expanding, and Margaret and I are growing ... er, beginning to feel our age!

     
     Margaret & I still enjoy South Wales - especially with the newer & younger family members
 
           Bel is doing well in Y9 at Sydenham High School, Katie and Abi are happy at Eliot Bank Primary School, and both adore their little sister, Holly, who was baptised at St Stephens last January.  Ben's electrical business has taken off, and he plays his full part in helping Lizzy juggle her Home Office career with being home-maker and mum.  Andy is successful in his work with OfQual in Coventry, while retaining close contact with family and friends in London; he and his girlfriend, Sarah Rollason, are looking to buy a house near Andy's work and Sarah's family. Mary (-Ann) is very busy running her Catholic (!) nursery school in Lewisham, while Sarah continues to combine a successful career in accountancy with being a mum to Eddy, and supporting Margaret and the rest of the family. It is rewarding to us that all our grandchildren so enjoy playing together, and that Eddy's Dad Gerald and half sister Grace have become an integral part of the family too: Gerald and Grace were introduced to the Talybont experience last summer, and are looking forward to going again in 2017.

Margaret and I are still very actively involved with
St Stephen's Church, and continue to sing week by week with our much appreciated Church ChoirWe are always particularly busy during Passion and Holy Weeks and in the Advent and Christmas seasons, as the choir's repertoire and commitment continues to expand.
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              In 2016 Margaret and I looked back on many memorable Trips: to the Holy Land in February*, Crete in June, Talybont-on Usk with the family in July, and Crete again in September with long-standing friends Enid and David. In October half term we accompanied Sarah, Eddy, Bel, and Mary to north Cyprus.
 
 (NB:  Many of  the 2016 photos below will have now been removed, ready to be replaced by those illustrating 2017 trips!)
 

We also celebrated Lizzy's birthday with the family at Hever Castle in Kent in June, and in December spent a murky but interesting day at Leeds Castle (near Maidstone) supporting a disabled friend from Church, and joined all the family again at the Christmas Lights display in Kew Gardens:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Escorting Catriona in Qn Eleanors bedchamber at Leeds Castle; Kew Xmas lights(see further pictures below)

*My reflections on the Holy Land are on the Pilgrimages page of this website; our June Cretan adventure is featured on the Crete and Cyprus page, as is the late 2016 trip to North Cyprus. Trips planned for the spring of 2017 will appear below.
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 Grace (9) with Katie (6), Abi (4), Holly and Eddy (2)                 Another welcome visitor on Christmas Eve!                               at St Stephens' Crib Service

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                And now for 2017!

      
Our first excursion of the year was to Kew Gardens, which we have enjoyed a few times recently, including with the whole family just before Christmas:

 
Kew Light Festival:  Eddy can't wait!             '... five gold rings ...';                      Tree lights & shooting stars
   
Inside the newest attraction: 'The Hive' (see below);  A giant Chess Set?;   Santa's Grotto was a big hit!

 This time our main purpose was the Indian Orchid Festival at the end of February, but we also wished to see the flower paintings in the Marianne North Gallery which were featured in a recent TV documentary, and which I had last visited with my father some 60 years ago!
The day did not disappoint, in spite of the fact that we went on the wettest day of the winter thus far.  The orchids (hundreds of them, not counting the cut flowers and petals) were spectacular and colourful, the displays were beautifully arranged, and there was much interesting information - geographical and historical as well as botanical.

 
 
Parterre at the Palm House; Festival entrance in Princess of Wales Conservatory; Orchid display Peacock


An Orchid gallery selection;                    A beautiful pink specimen;                     A colourful display cart


Hanging displays over the Lily Pond;     a fine deep blue specimen;             Orchids on show in amongst  Cacti;

Marianne North was a self trained artist and botanist, and her pictures (there are over 1200 of them!) were from her travels all over the world during a span of 17 years or so in the mid- to late-Victorian period. They are a delight to the eye, and so accurate that they are consulted by botanists, gardeners, plant historians and ethnographers from all over the world.  She earned not a penny from the enterprise, presented the paintings to Joseph Hooker (who was then in charge of the Royal Botanical Garden), and even paid for the Gallery to be built to display them.  (Unfortunately, no photography inside is permitted!)

 

         The Marianne North Gallery;           ' The Hive' (do not adjust your set!);    Queen Anne's Palace.                                         

 
 

                  A wych hazel in full flower;                 Refurbished interior of  the Orangery;      Kew's famous Pagoda.

In spite of the rain and puddles, we managed to walk around most of the grounds and enjoy the hothouses and other attractions (often accompanied by curious avian residents), except for the Temperate House which is being refurbished, and the Xstrata 'TreeTops Walkway'  which Margaret 's knees would not allow her to attempt!

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Two foreign holidays are already lined up for the Spring of 2017:  a return to North Cyprus in March, and a week at the end of April to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands.
           
Early on March 17th we fly out to Kyrenia (Girne to the Turkish Cypriots) for a ten day half-board stay just inland from the beach resorts of Cyprus' north coast. The hotel deal includes airport transfers, shuttles into the city centre, three days' car hire, and a guided tour of Nicosia (Lefkosa), the island's divided capital. We have only visited Kyrenia and Nicosia for half day tours before, and similarly at the nearby historical sites of Bella Pais and St Hilarion, but this time we will have the time and means to explore more widely and fully. We want, in particular, to experience the lofty Troodos Mountains, to explore the ancient sites to the west at Soli and Vouni, to enjoy Kyrenia's picturesque Castle and Harbour and Nicosia's fine Cyprus Museum, and to visit other sites and holy places that we had only heard about or barely glimpsed before (such as Buffavento Castle).  And, you never know, we might be able to spend some time on those beaches!


The north plain from Bella Pais Abbey;   Hall of Kyrenia Castle;    the Great Khan (Caravanserai) in Nicosia


Cyprus maps: Location of Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean;  Kyrenia, Nicosia & the 'Green Line'

     

More to follow soon!
Martin and Margaret