CHRISTMAS GREETINGS - AND A VISIT TO THE HILLTOP VILLAGE OF BRILL
First off today, we're at Brill Village, a hilltop community in Buckinghamshire. Brill's landmark is the handsome old mill, restored just a few years ago, though not to working order - the fragile 18th century structure resisted outline plans to reopen it for flour milling a few times a year.
No matter, it's a beautiful old structure, with panoramic views reaching far across the valley below to the Cotswold Hills beyond.
It's thought that EE Tolkien drew early pen-and-ink sketches to illustrate a Hobbit's home while sitting just below the mill, and who am I to dispute that? Tolkien and his fantasy-loving 'Inkling' friends used to visit the adjacent Pheasant Inn, so it's hardly a stretch to visualise him on Brill Common, working away with pen and sketchbook.
All that is forgotten on a summer's day though, and relaxing with a glass of beer in the Pheasant garden is one of the best ways to spend an evening.