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Category: UK

  1. Swardeston - Visiting Edith Cavell's Birthplace

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    Edith Cavell War memorial Swardeston

    The war memorial in Swardeston, Norfolk, is rather special. A simple, granite stone Celtic cross has the name Edith Cavell at the top of the list of villagers who lost their lives in World War I (1914 - 1919). Nurse Edith Cavell was executed on 12th October 1915, by a German firing squad during World War I, for her role in assisting over 200 soldiers to escape from occupied Belgium. I visited Swardeston, the village where Edith was born and spent her childhood and taken on a walking tour by Nick Miller, Edith Cavell expert and author, to see the locations that were significent to Edith.

  2. Flying Scotsman - The Magical Steam Train Returns to King's Cross Station

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     Flying Scotsman

    The Flying Scotsman returned to service on Thursday 25 February 2016, following a £4.2 million restoration. Scheduled to leave London King's Cross for York at 7.40am, I felt totally privileged to be there and wave her off. A huge Thank You to the National Railway Museum in York for leading the campaign to save this magnificent locomotive. Here are a few photos of an unforgettable day. Enjoy!

  3. Swan Upping – Counting the Swans on the River Thames

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     Swan Upping on the River Thames - Queen’s Swan Marker, David Barber

     David Barber, The Queen’s Swan Marker

    Swan Upping is an ancient ceremony which counts the number of mute swans on the River Thames.  This still relatively unknown tradition is an annual event, which takes place during the third week in July. Earlier this week Julie and I went to Oakley Court hotel to watch this spectacle and to partake of afternoon tea (seperate blog to follow). 

  4. Coffin Works - Birmingham's Industrial Heritage Brought Back to Life

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     Coffin Works

    As a volunteer at Barts Pathology Museum and a lover of all things macabre, quirky and unusual when I heard about the Coffin Works, a former coffin fittings factory in Birmingham, I just had to visit. I booked myself on a guided tour and just loved it. It's utterly fascinating, certainly not morbid or gruesome and it's suitable for children. It's an industial heritage museum, simular to Ironbridge or Beamish, but just on a much smaller and more intimate scale as it is a single building and it focuses on the death industry. 

  5. York - Some of My Favourite Things to Do

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    York Minster

    York in North Yorkshire, England, has a fascinating history, beautiful architecture, a fabulous selection of places to eat and drink and there's plenty to see and do.  It's one of my most loved cities and here is a brief list of some of my  favourite things to do in York.

  6. Where Agatha Miller became Agatha Christie

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     Emmanuel Court Bristol

    On Christmas Eve, 24th December 1914 Agatha Miller married Archie Christie, her first husband, at Emmanuel Church, Guthrie Road, Clifton, Bristol. On a recent visit to the city I did a bit of research to identify the location of the church only to discover, like in all good detective novels, that things were not as they first appeared to be.

  7. The Mysterious Affair at Harrogate - Agatha Christie's Disappearance

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    Old Swan Hotel Harrogate

    Old Swan Hotel - Harrogate

    Earlier this month I fulfilled my long standing wish to stay at the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate which has  connections with the  mysterious disappearance of Agatha Christie, the Queen of Crime.

    On the evening of 3rd December 1926 Agatha left her home in Sunningdale and her 4 seater Morris Cowley car was later found abandoned at Newlands Corner in Surrey. By this time Agatha was aged 36 years old and was already a successful crime writer and her 6th novel, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd had just been published. Her sudden disappearance attracted both national and worldwide interest. The search for Agatha was the largest manhunt of the time, involving over 1,000 police officers and civilians, and reputedly the first search in England to use airplanes. Arthur Conan Doyle (author of Sherlock Holmes) gave a medium one of her gloves in the hope of locating her, however Agatha's whereabouts remained a mystery for several days. 

  8. Mrs Mallowan's Wallingford aka Agatha Christie

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    Agatha Christie - Winterbrook House

    Mrs Mallowan, aka Agatha Christie, lived in Wallingford, Oxfordshire for many years and is buried in nearby Cholsey. In my quest to visit the key locations associated with the world's best selling author of all time, I made a visit to the town to discover its Christie connections.

  9. Crime and Cream Teas at the Agatha Christie Festival Part 2

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     agatha christie festival -christie mile grand hotel torquay

    Agatha Christie Mile Plaque - Torquay

    Crime and Cream Teas Part II features more about my recent trip to the Agatha Christie Festival in her home town of Torquay. In Part I I wrote about my visit to Greenway, Agatha's holiday home but in this blog I am focusing on some of the other things I did.