A Castle Themed Road Trip

My recent road trip took me down the A49 and into Wales. I saw a lot of castles.

Look at a map showing the route the A49 takes through the county of Shropshire and you’ll spot a whole lot of castle symbols. The county is absolutely packed to the brim with castles.

The Shropshire tourism website claims the county has 32 castles plus 25 hillforts and quite a few abbeys and monasteries. Continue reading “A Castle Themed Road Trip”

Fusilier Museum, Bury

You don’t have to be a military history buff to be fascinated by the many stories told in this museum.

I’m not particularly into military history which was a bit of a problem when I was given a unit of local history to teach. The unit  included lessons on the Lancashire Fusiliers which I was expected to plan myself. Fortunately Bury is home to the Lancashire Fusilier Museum so I took myself along one Saturday to do a bit of research and recce it for a potential class trip. Continue reading “Fusilier Museum, Bury”

Kensington Palace

A Christmas trip to Kensington Palace involved music, gambling and an early version of a ‘Shewee’.

Over the Christmas break I took my ten old niece on her first ever trip to London. As a princess obsessive, when I suggested a visit to Kensington Palace, London home of Will and Kate, she jumped at the chance. Continue reading “Kensington Palace”

The Heights of Abraham at Matlock

The only time I’ve travelled by cable car to visit a cave.

I’ve visited Matlock in the south of England’s Peak District several times, but always stayed at the bottom of the gorge wandering round the shops and walking along the river.

When a friend and her seven year old son visited for the weekend, we decided to take a trip in the cable car up to the Heights of Abraham at the top of the gorge. Continue reading “The Heights of Abraham at Matlock”

Friday Flickr – Outer Hebrides: Mingulay

An abandoned island lying to the south of the Outer Hebrides is the theme for this week’s Friday Flickr.

I visited Mingulay as as day trip from Barra.

Mingulay was the southern most inhabited island in the Outer Hebrides until 1912 when it was finally abandoned, its remaining population unable to sustain their lives there any longer. Continue reading “Friday Flickr – Outer Hebrides: Mingulay”

Västerbottens Museum, Umeå

This museum is about everything Västerbotten

I was only in Umeå because that was where the bus ended up and it was where I could pick up the night train back to Stockholm. I’d spent the summer walking northern Sweden’s Kungsleden trail and now I was on my way home. Continue reading “Västerbottens Museum, Umeå”

The Moravians at Fairfield – A Photo Essay

The Moravians have been in my home town for several hundred years, yet many people have no idea this beautiful settlement exists.

The place I live isn’t known for its aesthetic beauty, trendiness or cultural delights. If anything, it attracts more bad press than good. So it’s all the more surprising that somewhere like the Moravian Settlement at Fairfield exists here. It’s hidden away between two main roads and you could easily drive past it every day without realising it’s there. Continue reading “The Moravians at Fairfield – A Photo Essay”

At Home

Now I know what was happening when my houses were built.

By Bill Bryson

As I didn’t have to be in work till 11 o’clock this morning I stayed in bed with a cup of coffee and finally finished the book I’d started when I went to Norfolk. It’s taken me a while as it’s so chunky – 632 pages of text and another 70 pages of bibliography and indexing.

I chose to read this book in Norfolk as it was the only book I could find with a Norfolk connection, albeit a bit of a tenuous one. Bill Bryson lived in the UK for years with his English family before returning to the States for a few years. When he came back to the UK he moved to Norfolk and bought an old rectory. The rectory was built in 1851 which I think is the year my houses were built.

Bryson became interested in the history of his house and using each room as a starting point ended up writing what seems to be an all-encompassing social history. He discusses the history of servants, food, clothing, childhood, sex, comfort and luxury, hygiene, plants, science, and so on and so on. He sets the scene by referring to events going on at the time his house (and so my houses too) was built. The Great Exhibition in the Crystal Palace was in 1851. This was also the time that Darwin was first finding fame (with a large and detailed book on barnacles) and the year that Moby Dick was published.

Bryson lives up to his usual standard of writing an easy to read, page-turner of a book that is informative and engaging and full of facts about the evolution of everyday products that I’ve always taken for granted and didn’t know I needed informing about. The book is injected with light humour, but finished with a detailed bibliography for those who want to take it all more seriously and maybe do some further reading on a particular topic.