Britains Miniature Garden

“With a kiss of the sun for pardon, And the song of the birds for mirth, One is nearer God’s heart in a garden, Than anywhere else on earth.”  Britain’s Miniature Garden As readers of this blog will know, I recently rediscovered one of my childhood joys – the plastic Britains Floral Garden – and have started…

The return of Hermione to Rochefort

As readers of this blog will already know, I love Hermione – the idea behind her creation, her physical existence and much more – the spirit and love she engenders. Hermione is, of course, a painstakingly accurate recreation of the ship that took Lafayette to the Americas in the War of Independence – her participation helping…

Petworth – an unexpected art treasure trove

I don’t know why I haven’t visited Petworth House before because this is one incredible stately home, housing an unexpected art treasure trove like no other.  Indeed a former house guest of George, 3rd Earl of Egremont – one John Constable – called Petworth “the house of art”. There’s Van Dycks, Reynolds, carvings by the…

Tewkesbury, a little gem of a town

I recently went on a road trip with one of my friends and picked out the town of Tewkesbury. at random. It was an inspired choice as it happens and we arrived at an historic settlement located at the point where the River Severn and River Avon meet.  These rivers were much in evidence in…

Lee-on-The-Solent – the seaside resort that died

As I live near the sea in Hampshire, books on the heritage of the traditional seaside holiday have always intrigued me. Hence, of course, I snapped up Sarah Freeman’s “Beside the Sea” tome on Amazon and promptly read the thing from start to finish. One section called out to me – the one on Lee-on-The-Solent,…

Hundred Acres, Hampshire

I have to admit to an intense interest in anything historical – the annoying child who always asks the question, why? So when heading to the woods with my more knowledgeable historian brother, I asked the inevitable question – wonder what the reasoning is behind that road name – 100 Acres Road. This is what…

#Waterlooville200 – In the news

This week marks the 200th anniversary of the founding of the place where I live – #Waterlooville200 here in Hampshire, close to the coastal city of Portsmouth. Our town was, as one might expect, named after the battle and there are many local reminders named in honour of the key individuals – Nelson, Wellington and…

Hinton Ampner Bluebell Walk

As the recent and very sad fire damage of Clandon House has shown, the treasures protected for us by the National Trust are not here forever and we should take advantage of them when we can. It was with this in mind that I re-visited Hinton Ampner in Bramdean, Hampshire – one of my very favourite Trust properties…

The incomparable Hermione

  Every once in a while, a big idea comes along which is breathtaking in its audacity, scope and simplicity. Welcome to the story of Hermione, the replica of the ship that took Lafayette over the Atlantic to the Americas in the War of Independence against the British. Why am I so struck by this…

VE day – Victory in Europe

The nation will be returning to the 40’s this May to celebrate VE Day – Victory in Europe Day: Friday 8th being a day of remembrance, Saturday 9th – one of celebration – and Sunday 10th, a day for thanksgiving. At the heart of the festivities will be St James’s Park, London’s oldest park and for…