“Would you like any damsons?” It wasn’t what I was expecting to hear as we walked through a water meadow at Streatley on a typical November day in August. Our plan had been to do a circular walk from Goring, … Continue reading When life gives you damsons…
You probably know that Hugh Grant starred in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), a hugely successful British romantic comedy film. If you’re a lover of movie trivia, you may know that some filming took place at the Crown in … Continue reading A movie star, a cockatoo and a hotel
Combining the traditions of 1066 and all that with our modern predilection for lists, we can probably guess that King John was a Bad King and near the top of any Top 10 Worst British/English Kings in History, in most … Continue reading What did blooming King John do for us?
There’s a travel syndrome we might call New York State of Mind: the belief that you’ve been somewhere, even when you haven’t. We’ve all seen New York in the movies, so we feel we know it. If it has nothing … Continue reading The New York of English villages
Also, what flavour of food do they dislike? These were a couple of the questions to which we heard the answers on a trip to Tiggywinkles, the world’s leading wildlife hospital. Tiggywinkles – named after the Beatrix Potter character – … Continue reading How do you make a hedgehog blue?
Perching by a bridge on the Oxfordshire/Berkshire border, The Mill at Sonning provides an excellent example of new uses for old buildings. Mills have existed at Sonning since the days of Domesday, and the main parts of the present building … Continue reading Mills and meals
The historian Eric Hobsbawm used to refer to “invented traditions”; the peculiar process of swan upping is what he might have called a re-invented tradition. Its origins go back many centuries, perhaps as far as the 12th century when the … Continue reading Down by the river…
In an age of noise, spectacle and rolling news, Dorneywood House – tucked away off a country lane in the depths of Buckinghamshire – seems like a throwback. The estate on which the house stands has a history of ownership … Continue reading Speak softly and rule the nation
It looks like a simple memorial stone, until you delve into the story of Stanley Spencer’s life, in which nothing was simple. His was not an especially long life, though the times changed considerably; he was born into a late … Continue reading Stanley, I presume?
A few weeks ago, we visited Runnymede and the JF Kennedy Memorial on the centenary of his birth. Just outside Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire, there’s another link with the USA – in a quiet house and garden with over 300 years … Continue reading The silence of Friends