I wonder how many of the declarations of love carved on the beechwood tree trunks, still hold true today? Anonymous initials, an evocative place name and the ghost of a Celtic tribal chief? It seems fitting that such a place, whilst no longer occupied, still draws visitors who wish also to leave their mark, and a former … Continue reading Sharpenhoe Clappers: what’s in a name?
This Chilterns village has one of the most remarkable stories I have ever heard. And the most sensational 16th century murals in the country. Extremely rare and of national importance, these Pre-Reformation Catholic paintings, were hidden behind a sheet of course hand-woven linen until they were discovered by Arthur Lindley in 1953.
On a recent visit to Belgium, I was both challenged and surprised with what I experienced; a restored heritage village whose retail offer was just a bread vending machine, enjoyed gourmet food, drank Leffe abbey beer, visited a castle haunted by a KKK look-alike ghost, had breakfast with pensioners visiting the many scenes from the famous … Continue reading The great Brexit debate
Forget the Taj Mahal, Tutankhamen's Tomb or even Tower Bridge: all grand in their own right, statements of wealth, status, conquest and achievement of the privileged elite and their contribution to society. Head instead to a place that is the ultimate leveller, a place where death insists the great and good spend eternity lying cheek by jowl with the infamous, … Continue reading When a man is tired of London, he should head to Highgate Cemetery
The more I explore of my local area, the more I understand what it means to live and work here. Like threads in a beautiful hand-woven rug, each strand, all not immediately obvious, inextricably bound together, are woven to make up a brilliant cultural tapestry that is Buckinghamshire and the Chilterns. I was recently invited to … Continue reading A brilliant cultural tapestry
The fire had been provided by a portable BBQ, that now lay discarded with accompanying beer bottles under a tree just behind the mausoleum. I am sure Sir Francis Dashwood, creator of all I could see, would have approved of the party, but not the litter. Perhaps I was subconscioulsy drawn to West Wycombe hill that … Continue reading Hellfire On a Hill
"Mama, Papa, I'm going to make a museum..." The historic market town of Tring is a busy, growing commuter town within easy reach of London and within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Located on the original Akeman Street - a major Roman road in England that linked Watling Street with the Fosse Way, … Continue reading Natural History at its Victorian Best.
It’s not very often the men in suits upstage a Roman antiquity. I was invited to the special opening of “Predators and Prey: A Roman mosaic from Lod, Isreal” at the splendid Rothschild mansion of Waddesdon Manor in leafy Buckinghamshire, a short train journey north west of London. The reason we were there was kept under … Continue reading A rallying cry from London’s Mayor: Let’s put the grout back into Britain!
England is full of quaint customs - some funny and others frankly bizarre. Some with origins lost or simply re-invigorated to suit modern tastes and bank holidays. Swan Upping is neither. Firmly routed in the 12th century, it is both necessary for conservation of mute swans and acts as a gentle reminder of just who … Continue reading Mind the Swan Uppers on your way up the river!
I have long wanted to return to Hogarth’s House and the lovely spring weather drew me westwards, along the river path from Hammersmith towards the pretty village of Chiswick, a mere six miles from Charing Cross.London in the springtime; coats left at home, pink cherry blossom, LBJ’s (little brown job’s) busy in the warm sunshine, … Continue reading Marooned beside London’s ugliest roundabout, sits a handsome 18th century house