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WIN a watercolour original of Alphamstone

PUBLISHED: 16:34 14 June 2019 | UPDATED: 16:34 14 June 2019

THE POST BOX
I was welcomed by this enchanting scene as I entered the village, simple things I believe please me most.

THE POST BOX I was welcomed by this enchanting scene as I entered the village, simple things I believe please me most.

Archant

James Merriott continues his watercolour tour of the county with a journey to a village that is new to him but in his favourite landscape in the whole world

Accessible only by narrow lanes, I knew nothing of Alphamstone apart from its beautiful name and that it was within the undulating hills of the Stour Valley. Arriving with optimism, I became immediately dumbstruck as I stood at the village centre and gazed almost bewildered at the beauty all around me.

AMEN COTTAGE
Appropriately named, this cosy cottage situated alongside the Church.AMEN COTTAGE Appropriately named, this cosy cottage situated alongside the Church.

The Stour Valley has always been my favourite place of anywhere in the world and, enjoying this new aspect of the area for the first time, I walked around in a trance at the magical wonders I was witnessing.

CALDECOT COTTAGE
Painted as it was when I first saw it, with the cottage half hidden behind the garden hedge and trees.CALDECOT COTTAGE Painted as it was when I first saw it, with the cottage half hidden behind the garden hedge and trees.

Centre stage was not just the incredible Manor House but also its 'jumble of clutter' in the garden, although perhaps this was the village green. It was an unbelievable mish mash of meaningful things.

MANOR HOUSE COTTAGE
Perhaps not everybody would appreciate it but most artist, like me would find it an irresistible captivating subject.MANOR HOUSE COTTAGE Perhaps not everybody would appreciate it but most artist, like me would find it an irresistible captivating subject.

In keeping with all this joy and as if it was meant to be, the postman, Alan, arrived and was kind enough to name the cottages for me, and also gave me a short history of being a postman in such a very rural area.

ST BARNABAS CHURCH
I visited during the Easter period when this beautifully crafted cross complete with shroud and floral arrangement had been placed on the green outside the Church.ST BARNABAS CHURCH I visited during the Easter period when this beautifully crafted cross complete with shroud and floral arrangement had been placed on the green outside the Church.

'The Royal Mail has been delivering letters here for over 500 years,' he said proudly, confirming that he was the latest in a line of only three modern postmen. As I continued to explore and selected the scenes that would inspire this collection of watercolours, I concluded that I really was, 'living a dream'.

VIEW FROM THE CHURCHYARD
I adored this timeless view of the Stour Valley, complimented by the wonderful flowers adorning the Churchyard grave.VIEW FROM THE CHURCHYARD I adored this timeless view of the Stour Valley, complimented by the wonderful flowers adorning the Churchyard grave.

For your chance to win James' original painting The Post Box fill out the form and answer the question below

Fill out my online form.

You can contact James at Cottage Corner Art, 9 Byron Road, Hutton, Brentwood CM13 2RU. Call 01277 210728 or visit www.cottagecornerart.co.uk

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