Category Archives: Places

Are You Planning Your 2017 Holiday?…

I came across this website the other day listing the best new hotels around the world and it made me want to book a holiday!

I thought I would share it for those of you out there looking for somewhere to catch some sun and relaxation this year!

The Best New Hotels in the World


Tuesday Cinema Club: Patriot’s Day

I ended up seeing Patriot’s Day earlier than I thought as Hacksaw Ridge was no longer showing. I guess I’ll have to wait till Hacksaw Ridge is out on DVD. I liked the look of the trailer, I love a good war film but my cinema companions said they felt like they’s seen the film already and it was boring.

Anyway to Patriot’s Day and the story of the Boston Marathon bombings. I remember seeing some of the footage at the time but I don’t spend much time watching the news. I find it all too depressing. So for me a lot of what I saw in the film I was hearing for the first time.

The film shows the lead up to the day, the day itself and the aftermath from the perspective of a number of key individuals from the police, FBI and general public.

It also shows background on the bombers themselves, which I imagine is from pieced together information, rather than accurate accounts.

They show some actual footage from the time, one of the most evocative scenes being Boston on complete lock down with deserted streets, like some sort of ghost town. When you think of the size of Boston is just doesn’t seem possible they could manage it.

The police in America get a lot of negative press and I’m sure in a lot of cases this is justified but it was interesting to see how they go about tackling the investigation of something so horrific. It’s hard not to want to react as a human being and lash out at anyone around you and seek revenge when something like that happens. It’s a spur of the moment reaction to your body being flooded with emotions all at once that you can’t process and control quick enough.

But as a professional you have to learn to get past that and engage your thinking brain to avoid loosing evidence in what it absolute mayhem. Where do you even begin to start controlling a crime scene and evidence chain under those circumstances when all people want to do is pile in and help.

As we know one of the bombers was killed whilst trying to be apprehended and attacking the police, run over by his own brother fleeing the scene. His brother is on death row, sentenced to lethal injection but it appealing his sentence. It seems he is no longer brave enough to take the consequences of his actions that day and what happened when he tried to escape the police.

The thing to take away from incidents like this is that the good in human nature will always come out when challenged and love with always overcome hate.

Tuesday Cinema Club: Hidden Figures

This film didn’t really come on my radar until I went to see Lion and once I saw the trailer I knew I would go and see it the following week.

There have been so many films made about NASA and their space missions that you think you’ve heard all the stories there are to tell, but this film makes you realise there is always something else to learn.

To see women excelling in high paced jobs and being given their proper recognition is something that should have happened much sooner. The black women in question are an inspiration to many others and rightly their story should be heard and now they have.

I found the whole film interesting and I’m glad I took the time to see it. I’m also glad that they didn’t try to explain any of the maths that they were constantly working on as it would have made the film very dull.

It was interesting to see that the very first computers were annoying and glitchy at set up and when you need them to be on top of their game, some things never change! But where would we be without them?

I believe it is especially important to show women as engineers. There is a shortage of people training to become engineers and in the future that could mean that we are left with little innovation in the world and that is a sad thing.

I worked for an engineering firm for 12 years and whilst I never trained, I was asked to look into mechanical engineering. For me it wasn’t something that held my attention. But after typing technical specifications for 12 years I could on occasion challenge something that didn’t feel right in the way it was included and more often than not I would be correct.

Even though I didn’t design any of the projects, I played my part and it was always nice to see the end photo’s and see it all come to life.

Maybe if we show more young girls and women this film we might capture the imagination of the next generation of women who decide to break down barriers to achieve their goals.

Tuesday Cinema Club: Lion

I’ve spoken to a few people about this film and not one of them had anything bad to say about it, me included.

I was told going in to have my tissues ready as it tugs on the heart-strings and they weren’t wrong.

It is the story of a boy who goes missing in India when he is 5 years old after falling asleep on a train and only being let out days later, thousands of miles away in Bengali speaking Kolkata. Unable to make himself understood he tries to walk home to his Mother.

You feel for this poor child alone in the middle of a strange town filled with people who don’t understand him, with no money and no way of knowing how to get home.

When you see later in the film the attempts adult Saroo makes to find his home you can only imagine the frustration he must feel.

I’m trying not to give anything away but most people know the broader aspects of the story. Never the less there was a very satisfying ending and most people had a chuckle and a smile on their face through the tears as they walked out.

I would recommend seeing this movie if you can, sometimes it’s nice to watch something real and not all CGI and blowing up cities.

Chartwell, Kent: Home of Sir Winston Churchill


They are currently working on Chartwell to repair some weather damage to the roof and windows. We were told that the roof was repaired but had to be replaced as it wasn’t done properly. The roof is made from a material that can no longer be sourced so each tile has to be repaired and replaced which is time-consuming and costly. The windows also prove difficult to repair and replace as it is a listed building and they must be exact replicas.

The house is quite modern inside and feels more like a house than a stately home. It was very interesting to see where Winston Churchill lived. You are allowed to visit the studio where he would paint and see some of the paintings he created. It’s hard to imagine him sitting around and painting.


The views from the house are quite stunning and you can see why someone would want to live somewhere so quite when they have such a stressful job.

There is quite a large kitchen garden and they use what they grow in the cafe to make Mrs Landemare’s original recipes. She was the head cook to Winston Churchill when he lived at Chartwell. The cafe sandwiches were particularly good.

The only downside we found was that the car parking facilities were quite small so on a busy day you may find it hard to park. But putting that minor thing aside it is worth the trip.

The gardens are lovely, there is plenty of open space to explore and the house is interesting to see. I hope you have better luck spotting Jock (the house cat) than we did.

Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury


I really enjoyed walking around Waddesdon Manor, home of the Rothschild’s. It is a lovely old house with a lot of history and you get to see a lot of it on the tour.

The car parking area has been updated and you get a onsite bus from the car park to the main entrance approach which is very helpful.

The gardens are lovely and I particularly liked the outer buildings with the statue of a horse in the courtyard. We managed to get lunch in one of the cafe’s there which was very nice, albeit busy.

Just in front of the main entrance to the house was a wine bottle sculpture which I found interesting. I wondered if it would be as acceptable if I made one of our household empties for our front garden?! I think it might be frowned upon a bit. I won’t say how long it would take for us to collect this many empties ūüėČ


In one of the outer buildings there is the old boiler room control together with an old wooden lift which looks very unsteady, but interesting to see none the less.

One of the rooms contained a vast dinner set with a booklet explaining what each item was for. We stood for ages picking out the various pieces of crockery, I can’t believe that so many pieces exist with such specific purposes. I’m just glad that I’m not the one having to wash them all up or remember what they are for!


I found this room particularly nice. I love the light fitting over the table and the silver wine carriages. I’m not sure it would look so good in a modern home or that the light that low would be practical.

The views of the Chiltern Hills are nice too and if you’re lucky you might even see some very expensive sports cars in the public car park. We saw a limited edition Ferrari, a Lamborghini, a Porsche and a¬†McClaren as we were leaving which topped things off nicely.

Bomber Command Memorial, Green Park, London


After reading Bomber Boys I developed an interest in the plight of the WWII pilots. I found it very interesting, especially when out of all the people who fought in the war the impact of Bomber Command was never fully publicly recognised by Winston Churchill at the end of the war and I found that incredibly sad.

This fact has now been rectified thanks to the people who campaigned for years, the permanent memorial to Bomber Command was opened in Green Park in 2012. It is on the corner of Green Park, near Hyde Park Corner, if you want to visit.

I found it incredibly moving, standing and looking on at the statue of the flight crew, ready to take to the skies. I must say I had a tear in my eye when I read the description on the board above, luckily I was wearing my sunglasses so no one saw.

We have an almost annual flight past in our village of a Spitfire, Lancaster or one of the bombing planes, whatever is flying on that day and every time I get goosebumps hearing that engine overhead and I wasn’t born until over 30 years after the end of the war.

I made my mind up when it opened that I would go and pay my respects but I don’t think it will be my only visit. The one thing I thought was a shame, compared to other war monuments is that the names of those who were lost were not engraved on the structure. I imagine it would be far too costly but had it been built nearer to the end of the war I think that would have been a certainty. But either way their sacrifice will never be forgotten.


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Charles Dickens Museum, London


I had wanted to visit the Charles Dickens Museum for a while and I finally managed to make it happen last week. I can now say I stood in the room where Oliver Twist was written. I loved the film when I was a child, watching it almost weekly, so being able to see where it was written was a pleasure.


The Museum is located in the house where Dickens lived with his wife and her sister. What I enjoyed about it was that you were allowed to walk around everything. There was no roped off area inside the door of the room, looking on from a distance.

As I went on a Thursday it was quiet and I almost had the house to myself, allowing me as much time as I wanted in each room. You are also allowed to take photos if you turn the flash off, which isn’t always allowed.

There was a tinge of sadness to the house as it was where his wife’s sister died aged 17. Dickens¬†took a ring from her lifeless finger and wore it in memory of her for the rest of his life.

The house comprises a basement with kitchen and servants quarters. The rest of the house is then spread over 3 floors. The Museum continues into the house next door also offering further insight into the great man.

I have to admit that I am lagging behind in my Dickens reading list but like most people I’m aware of his work more from TV and movies. I have found that some copies of his work can be hard to follow and in very small print, so I think it helps to find a copy you are comfortable reading.

I’m glad I took the time to see where he lived, it is a lovely house, although the rooms are quite small in an area of London I wouldn’t normally go to which made a nice change.

Russell Kane: Right Man, Wrong Age at The Beck Theatre

Last Thursday we took a trip to a local theatre to see Russell Kane. I couldn’t believe it was 2013 the last time we saw him there. I remember that night being on edge as I’d had a fight with someone and I couldn’t settle as it was playing on my mind.

I like watching live comedy. Whilst I don’t always laugh all the way through I don’t recall¬†seeing a comedic show that I didn’t overall enjoy.

This show was a little different. There were laughs and amusement but as it was a show about life and ageing it wasn’t all laugh out loud funny.

In the second half of the show Russell spoke a lot about the birth of his child, which I understand is a wonderful experience and it was interesting to hear but not laugh out loud funny.

Ageing is a strange thing. We all do it whether we acknowledge it or not. We all age in similar ways whether to admit it or not. We all become our parents in the end, which is hardly surprising seeing as our genetic make up is 50% of each of them.

I think he’s right when he says the only age to be is the age you aren’t. We look back on our youth through rose-tinted glasses and look forward with one eye on the constant decline we will face.

As a child you want to be old enough to see over the kitchen counter, reach the biscuit tin, go to school, go to big school, have your first kiss, first sexual experience, first drink/ drugs/ smoke, go to college, vote, leave home, go to work, travel but then you reach a point where you can legally do everything and the next thing you have to look forward to is retiring.

There is definitely an upward spiral in life until you turn 25 and then you dread turning 30 and after that its all just another step to 40. Having younger siblings doesn’t help, they always remind you of being old.

I like the energy of Russell’s shows. He bounces around the stage throughout and he is honest about his life. If he made an idiot of himself he’ll talk about it. He doesn’t pretend to be something he isn’t and in this day and age that is becoming a rare thing!

If He Wanted To Be With You, He Would Be With You

The truth is going to heal your heart a lot faster than simply letting it break over and over until you finally face what you knew all along anyway

Source: If He Wanted To Be With You, He Would Be With You

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