Inspiration - The Unusual

01
Jun
Calke Abbey in Derbyshire is a National Trust property with a difference. Instead of restoring this Stately Home to the usual National Trust standard, they have taken the unusual step of preserving the house as it was when they took it on in 1988. The house was in a state of slow decline and the contents had not been changed since the 1880's so the result is that you now have a house that is frozen in time. Preserved and protected from further decay but not restored and exactly as it was when the owing family gave it to the National Tust.
13
Nov

The Unusual - St Mary the Virgin

In Norfolk, there are a number of churches that have been built from the local flints and most of these have round instead of square towers as this is the only way to get the strength needed for such a high structure using this material. St Mary the Virgin in Titchwell is a fine example of one of these interesting buildings and is well worth a vist.
The Dartford Tunnel and the Queen Elizabeth II bridge serve to carry around 130,000 vehicles over the River Thames every day and are a source of congestion during peak times so the old toll booths have been removed. However, you could be forgiven for thinking that this is now a toll free crossing as there are little or no signs telling you about the toll. Don't make that mistake. It isn't toll free and you can easily find youself with a very hefty fine (up to £105 each way). The signage and information on this crossing a woefully inadequate and not fit for purpose and up to 300,000 people get fined very month as a result, many of these are visitors from abroad who have no idea about the toll or how to pay. Warn them if you have visitors coming.
14
Oct

The last flight of the Vulcan

A fantastic plane and an amazing piece of aviation history, the Vulac bomber "Spirit of Great Britain" has flown for the last time and will be grounded. Nice to have seen one of its last ever fly pasts.
Hull is a major port on the east cost of England in East Yorkshire. It sits on the mighty River Humber. I had never been there and expected it to be a rather drab and boring place to visit but a recent visit there was far more of a pleasant experience than I had thought it would be and it had a lot to offer. Confirmed as the UK City of Culture for 2017, I have no doubt that it will live up to that status and be a very deserving place to visit for those festivities. An unexpected pleasure and a place I would happily visit again.
There was a time when you booked a hotel that breakfast was expected to be part of the rate. Seems that is a thing of the past as hotels compete to give the cheapest rates and therefore make breakfast an optional extra. Well and good but be careful. If you do decide you want breakfast after all, you could end up paying a lot more for it than you would have if you had chosen an inclusive rate.
15
May
Durdle Door. The name alone conjures up a mysterious place and this natural wonder is just as magical as it sounds. Located in Lulworth Cove in Dorset, this is an ideal place to visit on the family holiday in Dorset.
Its not often that I find a piece of modern architecture that makes excited. Most of the buildings that are being put up now are pretty bland and often tasteless. There are always exceptions - The Shard, The Gerkin to mention a couple but they are uselly either commercial buildings or on a scale that is hard to comprehend. However, add a new one to this list. I hadn't known it even existed till I stumbled upon it. Its the Cube in Birmingham and it deserves a lot of praise. It is a building of very clever mixed use and big enough to impress but on a scale that doesn't overwhelm you
10
Apr

A great Bustard on the loose

Once these birds were a common sight but by 1832 the last one was hunted to extinction. Now they can be seen flying once again over Salisbury Plain and there are realistic hopes that they can be resetablished as a native species once again.
Carlisle is a lovely little city in the north of the Lake District and a great destination for those on holiday in the Lake District. Once a frontier town between various nations, this city has seen warfare and conflict for many hundreds of years and the Castle reflects the need for strong defenses against invaders.
14
Nov
Morris dancing is a very ancient form of folk dancing and was probably originally a celebration of seasonal farming events such as the Harvest Festival`. Perhaps less of a common sight in the last few decades but still a colourful and musical reminder of a more rural way of life.
The reactor dome on the top of the Sizewell B reactor provides some rather lovely effects as the light varies from minute to minute and it can change from sparkling white through various shades of blue and grey to sometimes be almost invisible against the background. We spent an enjoyable afternoon walking through the countryside around it and taking photographs of its changing mood.
Wales is full of wonderful castles that reflect its turbulent and often violent history but Harlech Castle is probably the finest of them all and sits high up on a steep hill on the coast with commanding views. Now a major tourist attraction, Harlech Castle is a place that you definately should visit. If you only have the opportunity to see one castle in Wales, make it Harlech.
09
Jul
Enjoy Shakespeare's wonderful plays in the fantastic setting of one of the countries oldest border castles. The setting really does bring the whole event to life.
09
Apr

The Unusual - Leith Hill Tower

On the top of Leith Hll in the Surrey hills, there is an 18th century tower, built originally as a folly to provide views across the landscape in all directions. This unusual piece of architecture, now owned by the National Trust is well worth a visit.
31
Mar

The Unusual - The Scott Monument

Built as a memorial to Sir Walter Scott, the famour scottish author, this unique tower is visible as you walk down Princes Street in Edinburgh. A really gothic piece of architecture that looks like something out of The Lord of The Rings.
13
Mar

The Unusual - Clyveden New Bield

This National Trust property is a fine example of an Elizabethan Grand house but it was never completed and has remained in exactly the same condition for over four hundred years. Set in lovely grounds, this unusual building is well worth a visit.