The real Cockleshell Heroes

One sunny Sunday afternoon this March, I went for a stroll around the Canoe Lake area of the Southsea seafront and came across a plaque denoting the words, The Cockleshell Heroes. Being a bit of a fan of vintage film, I seemed to recall a film of the same name with Jose Ferrer and Trevor…

The sweet sadness of memories

It’s taken a house move and several years before I have looked at the family photos my mother has passed down to me.  I grew up in a happy family, taking for granted my “Auntie and Uncle”, whose ongoing presence meant I never missed my unknown departed grandparents. Auntie and Uncle, in fact my great…

Another look at Runnymede …

Driving along the Windsor Road one day, my eye was caught by a collection of chairs, placed in an oblong, close to where the Runnymede memorial is located.  Ah, I thought, that’s where King John sat with his Barons and signed Magna Carta.  But no, dear reader, I was wrong. It is in fact an…

My introduction to a Liquid Deli!

When staying at the historic Mercure Oxford Eastgate Hotel recently, Peter Watt, the genial general manager, told me about a little-known local secret of his – a shop known as the Liquid Deli.  Well, dear reader, ahem, I needed to investigate immediately on your behalf as this sounded well worth a visit …. and so it proved….

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…

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…

Burford Garden Centre – a shopping utopia!

Having worked with The Lygon Arms in the heart of the Cotswolds in the past, I made a point of familiarising myself with the surrounding area and this, some blah blah years ago, was how I first discovered the Burford Garden Company. I still visit regularly and have just taken another peak at this shopping…

#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…