Saturday, 21 August 2010
This week we move northwards across the border into Surrey.
Surrey is a county of great contrasts. There are the Surrey Hills, as this stretch of the North Downs is known, in particular Box Hill and Leith Hill. There is the urban sprawl of Croydon, which seems to start as soon as one leaves the M23 and stretches right into London. There are the villages tucked away down country lanes - and there is the stockbroker belt of mansions behind electric gates.
There is a strong military presence in the county with, amongst others, the Guards' depot at Pirbright and the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.
One little oddity is that Surrey is the only county in England where I have seen lupins growing wild - in between the railway tracks at Redhill! Presumably they were self-seeded plants from nearby gardens. But to me Surrey means cricket above all else. In my younger days the county team always seemed to be at or near the top of the table and they produced very fine players such as the Bedser twins, May, Lock and Laker. Their home ground is the Oval at Kennington, which, curiously enough, is no longer in Surrey following county boundary changes back in 1995. I did consider using a picture of the Oval for this week's illustration, but perhaps this shot of a cricket match on the village green at Tilford will be more appropriate.