Category Odd Quirks

Strawberry Hill

“It is a plaything house…….and it is the prettiest bauble you ever saw.” Horace Walpole, June 1747 Walpole was the dilettante son of Britain’s first Prime Minister and author of the first horror novel, The Castle of Otranto. Horace Walpole took a lease on a small 17th century cottage with 5 acres in Twickenham a […]

The Pigeons Who Take The London Tube.

We were wandering by a highly recommended London blog called Thoughts From Finchley when its proprietor, Martin,told us about a strange habit the wildlife have on the London Tube. You can read his post – Passenger Pigeons– here. They’ve been doing it for years,baffling scientists with what looks like evolutionary behaviour: the pigeons who take rides […]

Reflected light

A trip out today to Waddesdon Manor – our astonishing local Renaissance-style château… which is about half an hour from us, just out of Oxfordshire and into Buckinghamshire, UK (not in deepest France as you may guess just looking at it)…. Our visit was not to go around the house, but just to have a […]

The Santa Run

How fast can Santa run? All across Britain, they’re finding out. Because the UK has a network of Santa Dashes, all to raise money for worthy causes – thousands of santas in running shoes, en masse. There are tall santas, short santas, female santas and male santas, human santas and – yes- even doggy santas. […]

A Very English Visit to the Pub

England: cold, bleak, dank. November is not the optimum time for outdoor comfort; the mist seeps into your bones and turns the tip of your nose red. Here we are in our winter woolies. Since time immemorial, we and our forebears have wrapped up warm and strode out into the grey melancholy landscape of England […]

The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey

It is one of the most famous tombs in London, just inside the west doors of Westminster Abbey. Below the black Belgian marble lie the remains of an unknown warrior who represents all those who have lost their lives in the service of their country and lie in anonymous graves. I defy anyone to visit […]

Around Britain in a wheelchair

This half-term we have been testing the various ‘Shopmobility‘ centres, firstly in Liverpool and then in Bath. In the past we have also borrowed from Milton Keynes. The Shopmobility scheme offers short-term loans of mobility aids, all over Britain, to enable access for those with reduced mobility, to the shopping areas around the country. A […]

“The Famous” of Cheltenham Spa town bites the dust

“The Famous”, a high class menswear shop in Cheltenham, opened in 1886 selling trousers for 13 shillings (65p) a suit for 30 shillings (£1.50) and overcoats for 5 shillings(25p). Lamson vacuum system Cash flow: The tube system for the business was installed in 1930 and is thought to be one of the oldest of its […]

A Nation of Nerds

  When I first read this report on Sky News, I had to double-check the date to see if it was April 1st: a coach company has arranged tours of one of Britain’s busiest motorways…and tickets have sold out. Some highlights: The trip […] involves a four-hour drive around the world’s biggest ring road for the bargain […]

Tweed and Wellies: a peek inside an English County Show

It is one of the later shows in England: the Royal County of Berkshire Show (Sept 15 and 16), a regular fixture in September, is a magnet for English farmers, those who love their horses, ferret racers and many, many more. The show has been running for more than a century, and provides a focal […]