Hunter in the snow

14 June 2011

Pieter Brueghel - Hunters in the Snow

Bruegel's The Hunters in the Snow has been on my wall for years. It was only recently that I was struck by the similarity between this painting and John Craxton's cover designs for A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water. Of course Bruegel's hunters are returning from a journey, while Craxton's figures are just setting out... but somehow both of them manage to capture a similar sense of exhilaration, a breathless feeling of excitement, at descending into a mysterious and unknown European landscape.


'I headed north-east, treading downhill through the snow, and each step sank deeper. Rooks crowded the trees and the fields below were white and grey parallelograms bordered by many willows. Streams crossed them under lids of ice to join a slatey loop of the river; and the hushed and muffled scenery was the background of Brueghel's Hunters in the Snow. Only the hunters themselves were missing, with their spears and their curly-tailed dogs.'

-- From A Time of Gifts

Read and comment

Globetrotters funding

13 June 2011

About a month ago I was thrilled to receive £1000 towards the cost of the project from the Globetrotters Club William Wood Legacy Award, which funds 'adventurous, unusual or enterprising foreign, solo, independent travel.' Many, many thanks.

The money must be spent before my departure on December 9th, so it means that, among other necessities, I can buy the best walking boots available to man. When Paddy set out in 1933 he was kitted out with 'an old Army greatcoat, different layers of jersey, grey flannel shirts, a couple of white linen ones for best, a soft leather windbreaker, puttees, nailed boots, a sleeping bag (to be lost within a month and neither missed nor replaced),' mostly purchased from Millet's army surplus store in The Strand.

While it's not my intention to try to imitate Paddy (dressing up like him is a step too far), it would be nice to source as much of my gear as possible from the same shop. There is no longer a store on The Strand, of course, and in the 70 years since Paddy went there Millets has grown from a family business into a 200-store wide leisure goods empire. But still...

Read and comment


Subscribe to News