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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

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A beekeeping fairy? Metal figure outside a shop in Bishop’s Castle

With all the nature activity of autumn, only now am I getting around to processing my summer holiday pictures, so you can expect a few posts about our August trip to Shropshire, an ancient county on the English side of the Welsh border. First up is the very small market town of Bishop’s Castle. (more…)

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The Railway pub in Christchurch

My husband isn’t usually very adventurous on holiday, but the last time we were staying in Poole, Dorset, he asked what was beyond Bournemouth on the railway. What if we stayed on the train?

I checked, and the next big place is Christchurch, so I Googled it and found that the very next day there was a free lunchtime concert by a chamber choir at Christchurch Priory. I like to have a reason for going somewhere, it gives the trip focus. (more…)

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Cauldron cake by The Cake Store – click on any of the images in this blog post to find the sources

As it’s Halloween, I thought I would take a look at the witch’s cauldron in history and myth. It turns out that as well as being an ancient household cooking vessel and a witch’s potion pot, the cauldron has been a mystical symbol of life and, in some stories, an instrument of death…

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The graveyard of St Mary’s Church, Lytchett Matravers

The village of Lytchett Matravers, to the north of Poole in Dorset, is one of my ancestral places. Several times in the past I had tried to find the parish church, but with no luck. We had driven around in circles in the middle of the village and there had been no sign of a tower that could have been St Mary’s.

Then this summer, when we were killing time for half an hour by driving around the country lanes, we took a “wrong” turn in the vicinity of Sturminster Marshall. And there, surrounded by patches of woodland and farmers’ fields, was a church. I was amazed – the nearest village was Lytchett Matravers, so this must be St Mary’s!

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Yucca filamentosa at Powis Castle, August 2014

A decade ago, when I was doing a gardening correspondence course, I chose to write about the gardens of Powis Castle, which is perched high on a narrow ridge near Welshpool in Mid Wales. But I wrote about it without ever having been there and it has taken me until now to make the journey.

We visited in August this year and as it belongs to the National Trust and we are members, it felt like we got in to see everything free! (more…)

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The Indonesian volcano of Rinjani in 1994, by Oliver Spalt on Wikimedia Commons

STOP PRESS: Moments after I published this, reports came in of a volcano erupting in Sumatra – so best wishes to everyone struggling there…

Did you have an irrational fear of something when you were a child? In my case, for a while at least, I was terrified of volcanoes. You might say that’s not so crazy. But as I lived in Wales, where an eruption would be pretty near impossible, I think it was.

So this post is all about what (more…)

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The red stones of Ross…

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The old lock-up in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire…

Although I had been to Ross-on-Wye many times, I had never been as impressed as I was on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year. It was a lovely sunny day and I was surprised to find how many shops were open and welcoming in this very “low” season.

As there was not much traffic, it was the first time I (more…)

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