A new investigation into the past …

As readers of this blog will know, last week, I discovered the youth of my Great Aunt and Uncle and found out that they were intrepid travellers, regularly visiting Europe and Africa in the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. A couple of images however reveal a family mystery which I hope, over the next few…

Take three castles …

Over the last 12 months, I have had the good fortune to visit three castles – all with The Hound in tow – and they couldn’t have been more different. Take Southsea Castle, where in my mind’s eye, I can visualise a stressed and desolate King Henry VIII, standing proudly whilst watching his tried and tested flagship,…

Queen Victoria’s Holiday Home

I have long wanted to visit Osborne House, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s Tuscan styled holiday home on the Isle of Wight so it was with great pleasure that I finally fulfilled this ambition. The House itself is in a beautiful position, with views across landscaped gardens down to a  distant sea. The shame of…

Glorious Shanklin Chine

I’m focussing on the Isle of Wight at the moment and another magical childhood memory – visiting the mysterious and exotic Shanklin Chime! The formation of the Chine (a local word of Saxon origin for a deep narrow ravine), has taken place over 10,000 years and the stream running through it would originally have flowed into…

Shanklin Revisited

My happiest childhood memories are of the Isle of Wight and a small seaside village – Shanklin.  It’s been a while since I last visited and I was hoping against hope that it would appear the same. Thankfully, I was not disappointed. We used to stay at a beachside hotel called Shoreside which I adored – we…

The last line of defence: Hurst Castle

None of my friends seem to have heard of Hurst Castle – at least the one here in the UK.  So, just to be crystal clear, I am referring to Henry VIII’s English castle rather than Randolph Hearst’s Californian home! Hurst Castle at the tip of the Solent is a pristine example of Henry VIII’s policy of…

Carisbrooke Castle – a fairytale castle

Carisbrooke Castle, one of the UK’s most perfectly preserved castles, has one of the most difficult access roads ever – a short but steep single track climb with a totally blind, 90 degree turn into the unknown – relying on traffic lights to keep us safe.  Once there, high up above the surrounding landscape, the views…

The Victorian Bathing Machine

Being interested in all thing seaside, I have long wanted to see an actual Victorian Bathing Machine in person.  So it was with great anticipation that I saw the most exclusive bathing machine of them all this past week – Her Majesty Queen Victoria’s own bathing machine on her very own private beach at the…

The best view of The Solent: Portsdown Hill

I would suggest to any Portsmouth visitor that they should first drive up to Portsdown Hill to gain an unbeatable vista over the city and the Solent.  Obviously it’s best when the weather is clement but that view is intriguing for me (and most locals) in any weather system. To orientate you, on the left hand…