58 days. I was away from London for 58 days this year and now I’m back it feels in many ways that I’ve hardly been away but as my days pass I feel like I’m not looking at my usual life properly straight on, more from a slight angle so familiar things are not exactly as they were. It will pass but for now, I’m enjoying this feeling of dislocation as it allows me to hold onto my 58 days for a while longer. Travel is a wonderful thing but it is addictive… Continue reading
‘I’ve been building a school in Malawi’ usually provokes a raised eyebrow when people ask where I’ve been this year. The eyebrow is due to my appearance as a short, slim, city type who is definitely not in the first flush of youth! I say yes, I’ve been digging foundations and laying bricks with a team of local Malawian builders and that hard work and determination make up for size for most jobs. Continue reading
After 2 months of great adventures, of wonderful experiences in 2 African countries, armed 2800 photos I sat down to work out how to share all this. No one wants to see thousands of photos – well, just me – so I set myself the task of choosing just 5 pictures to sum it all up so here they are!
After 9 weeks away it was certainly good to be back in London! I’d been to Africa, living a different life, meeting different people and having different experiences and landing back in Heathrow into a sunny spring day brought a big smile to my face. I love being away and exploring the world but it’s always good to be home.
Now and again even I feel the need to head out of London to explore the wonderful countryside in the UK, whether it’s further afield to Scotland or to the great sights all around London. My most recent excursion took in not one but two Unesco World Heritage Sites, both within an easy day trip. Continue reading
The new and wonderful Mary Rose Museum is opening tomorrow and I was lucky enough to have a preview visit. I took the opportunity to test out Portsmouth for a ‘day out of London’ and was really impressed with how much there was to see and do. Read all about it in my guest blog on the Londoneer website: Click through here.
I’ve been on a big adventure in Tanzania for the last 2 months doing a couple of volunteering projects followed by some travelling. I love to travel but it’s great to be back in London again.
There are 2,200 photos documenting this latest trip but you’ll be relieved to know that I’ve chosen just a handful to give you and idea of what I’ve been doing and where I’ve visited. Tanzania is a wonderful country with extraordinary wildlife, history dating back to early man and wonderful people but it has great poverty too and needs our support. Continue reading
I do love London but sometimes it is great to take a day out as there is so much to see in the surrounding towns and countryside. So my blog will bring you days out from time to time. One of my favourite things to do is to visit a National Trust property where you can get a good dose of history and beauty, calmness in the gardens, retail therapy in their shop and tasty cooking in their tea rooms. Continue reading
I love London, it’s my favourite place but sometimes it’s good to go away for a weekend. London is a great transport hub so getting away couldn’t be easier whether it’s to somewhere else in the UK or to Europe. So this weekend it was Rome!
So you leave London early (very early!) on Friday and are back in time for Downton Abbey on Sunday, how much can you squeeze into an action packed few days? Here goes:
The Colosseum and Constantine Arch. We walked around these, felt the grandeur and imagined the gladiator fights inside – helped my numerous men dressed up in gladiator gear.No time on this trip to go inside but it’s pretty good from the outside. Nearby is Trajan’s Forum, Market and Column which you can walk by, again saving time on a tour but leaving plenty of time for photos. There are ruins everywhere and every corner and turn is a delight. Rome is compact and easy to walk around especially as many sights are very close to each other. Also located just by the Colosseum is the Vittorio Emanuele monument which is absolutely huge, very white not universally popular with Romans, it goes by the nickname of ‘the typewriter’ and they say the best view of Rome is from the top as you can’t see it!
Another good batch of sightseeing delights is the area around St Peter’s which gives you the church itself, the wonderful piazza in front of it and the Vatican. Together these would fill a good half day but the friends we were with had booked a Vatican tour for after we had to leave and I’d been already on a previous whistle stop visit. I still remember the sheer scale of the Vatican City and was awe struck by the Sistine Chapel. We had every intention of having a look inside St Peter’s but the queue was at least an hour long so we wandered along the Tiber and enjoyed the wonderful October sunshine instead.
I love the Pantheon, built by the ancient Romans, it’s their most complete building in the city and is still used as a church despite the hoards of camera clicking tourists that flock in. It is an architectural wonder with its height (43m) being the same as its diameter and has a domed roof with no visible support. Nearby is the Trevi Fountain which is enormous and takes up most of the square where it is squeezed in along with tons of tourists, many throwing a coin in the fountain which is supposed to ensure their return to the eternal city. From this iconic sight, it’s not far to another, the Spanish Steps which we reached at sun down giving it a mellow feel.
The Jacobean House is much larger and was built using materials from the demolished wings of the old palace. It is very grand and worth spending some time exploring and also interesting as the family use it for part of the year. This family is the Salisbury’s who have owned the house since it was built. It too has a grand hall, fine armour and other collections including Elizabeth’s gloves and stockings! The kitchen bears testimony to the English love of tea with all the kettles lined up and the gardens are both formal and more wild with wonderful blossom at this time of year, a haven of peace and beauty.
As part of its 400 year celebrations, Hatfield House is holding an exhibition of an amazing collection of Henry Moore sculptures, many from the nearby Henry Moore Foundation at Perry Green. We were very lucky to have a talk from the current Marquess of Salisbury and Sir Anthony Caro, a pupil of Henry Moore, to give us fascinating background to this event. The sculptures are displayed around a large area of garden and you can see one in the distance as you enjoy each piece, which pulls you through the collection, anticipating the next piece. The grounds and the sculptures complement each other wonderfully and I hope these photos give you a taster of this treat.