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Whitstable People: Fen Lander, The Humanoid Landscape

Updated on September 15, 2016
Whitstable Views profile image

CJ Stone is an author and columnist. He appears regularly in the British press. Currently he has a column in the Whitstable Gazette.

a figure like a baby which he was inscribing into the landscape
a figure like a baby which he was inscribing into the landscape


On Sunday 28th of August 2011 there was a Lightwaves festival in the Umbrella Centre on Oxford Street Whitstable.

I mention this for two reasons: firstly because I don’t think there had ever been such a thing in Whitstable before (or since) and secondly because my friend, Fen Lander, gave a talk on the Kentish Zodiac, and on his book, The Humanoid Landscape, which was launched that day.

Fen was the first speaker, at 10.30 in the main hall.

A lot of you will know Fen. He’s a Whitstable institution. A bit like the Dead Horse Morris, but without the bells, he’s been investigating the ancient past in this region for as long as I’ve known him. First it was the Whitstable alignment, then the Kentish Zodiac, but lately something new and wondrous has entered his conversation.

He lived in a shed in someone’s garden for about ten years. It was during this time that he came up with the idea for this book.

Crazy wood elf

I remember popping in to see him one day. This must have been about fifteen years ago now. He was in the garden, painting a picture. The picture was composed half of a map of the British Isles, and half of a figure like a baby which he was inscribing into the landscape.

“It’s really there, it’s really there,” he was saying, vehemently, leaping about in his bare feet like some crazy wood elf who’s consumed too much blackberry wine.

He was a bit like a mad professor, he says, shuttered away in that shed of his, with his compass and his maps, and his Anglo-Saxon dictionary, making huge leaps of the imagination, to come up with this fabulously deranged idea of his.

I won’t tell you what it is. You should buy the book to find out.

Suffice it to say that the book is unusual, written in a colloquial style, and that I guarantee you’ve never read anything quite like it before.

I already have my copy.


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    • Whitstable Views profile image

      Whitstable Views 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK

      That's true Nils. In fact there is something profoundly Blakeian about the idea.

    • Nils Visser profile image

      BOOK REVIEWS 6 years ago from The Low Countries

      The baby on the map looks like something Blake might have done.

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 6 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      There are not enough interesting people around these days! This guy must be encouraged.

      When Pat was at Uni, she made daily observations of an old man who came to the city library every day and worked on translating English books in Greek. The interesting man lived in a tent in a woodland on the edge of the city.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 6 years ago from Taos, NM

      I just read his hub. It really is fascinating and he really is convincing. Someday, I have to visit Whitstable, because, between you and Fen Lander living there it would be quite a humorous place to visit.

    • Whitstable Views profile image

      Whitstable Views 6 years ago from Whitstable, UK

      Thanks Bard. Yes, I think you'd like it. It will be available on Amazon soon. I'll put the link up as soon as I know what it is.

    • Bard of Ely profile image

      Steve Andrews 6 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Sounds like my sort of book! Wish I could be there! Voted up!

    • Whitstable Views profile image

      Whitstable Views 6 years ago from Whitstable, UK

      Thanks Mark.

    • profile image

      Mark Golding 6 years ago

      Simply wonderful...