Valentine Warner reflects on the beauty of silence and how Hepple’s moorland terrain inspired Hepple Gin.
The other night in the high Pyrenees of the Ordessa National Park, Spain I stepped outside to air my children’s dogs before taking to bed.I was instantly bowled over by the silence but for a strong breeze whooshing over the mountain, its oaks and pine.
The minute I walked away from the security light into the inky pitch around the back of the house, once my eyes had adjusted and suddenly a canopy of stars revealed itself that quite took my breath away. Clearly defined, there sparkled the Big Dipper, Orion’s Belt the whole host. I was in wonder. The Milky Way way sprayed through the middle of it all like flour on a black marble work surface. A head full London junk caught by this clean breeze was soon born away and I was acutely aware that nature is indeed our default setting
Saying to myself how lucky I was to experience this, even be it in Spain, I was reminded that the hills around also Hepple offer the super premium luxuries I consider nature, silence and darkness to be.
Having just fried some scrawny mountain lamb chops in Pyrenean juniper, wild thyme and rosemary taken I recalled Hepple’s moorland terrain, plants, trees, and water inspiring a similar approach and thoughts on food, drink and an uncomplicated life.
In short, little is needs to be imposed on either such an environment. All that is required is to breath it in, look and listen.
Both Spain and Hepple afford me the heavenly blackout blinds for uninterrupted sleep, not the murky orange that creeps into my London bedroom.
Most of all it is the silence that is so spellbinding. It leaves me with only the crazy monkey of my own fizzing mind, that in time calms and quiets into more peaceful movement while I notice far less requirement to fill spaces with music, food, phone, or unconsidered words.
This quiet often deserves a reflective martini – one born of the very wilds I write about.