To car boot or not to car boot

I have just participated in my very first car boot sale – not knowing quite what to expect or what it was all about.  I have to admit, I enjoyed it too – possibly more as a buyer than as a seller which, as anyone who knows me will tell you, is totally in character. Together…

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…

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…

Portsdown Hill – best viewpoint over Portsmouth

When you visit a new city, don’t you wish you could see its situation and understand it from the air?  You can do so when travelling to Belfast of course but it is quite rare. In Hampshire, it’s uniquely possible, thanks to the long chalk ridge of Portsdown Hill.  The highest point lies within Fort…

Café culture experienced!

I wrote recently about the sudden influx of cafés arriving on Southsea Beach and I have finally made it to eat at the newest, Southsea Beach Café.  We sat outside with The Hound who was immediately made welcome and offered a bowl of water which of course, he turned down scornfully. He was waiting for…

Café culture finally makes it to Southsea!

It’s like waiting for a bus for ages. First one comes and then another in close succession.  So it is with the former catering wilderness that was, until recently, Southsea Beach in Portsmouth, Hampshire – even The Guardian picked up on the new Southsea buzz a few weekends ago. Taking The Hound for walks along…

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…

Quintessentially English – it’s Bluebell time!

Nothing shouts Englishness as much as a bluebell does – a sentiment outlined in today’s Daily Telegraph. They are early, they are bright as a button and it is said that half of the world’s population of bluebells are based right here on our soil. So where can we spot them? Probably in your nearest…