Chipping Norton Museum

So, Chippy’s got a museum. We’ve been residents for a year and a half now so it was well overdue a visit to a little bit of local history.

It’s only £2 to get in with no time limit to how long you spend there, and the curator on the day we visited was full of information and enthusiasm. We weren’t there for long but it’s somewhere I could lose a few hours in the photograph albums they have there so I’ll be going back.

I didn’t know that Chippy was once the home of British Baseball…

In 1917, the first organised baseball competition was held at Churchill. Eight scout teams from Chipping Norton and the surrounding area competed for the Spalding Silver Cup. The Chipping Norton Pioneers won, and the cup is on display in the town’s museum. (Text Quoted from The Oxford Times,)


Some of the mannequins were a little disturbing and it seems only fitting that my photographs from the visit are in Black & White. If you’re in town on a Saturday with some time to spare pop in and say hi to Chippy.

A Broad

Back in 2009 we hired a boat for a couple of days on the Norfolk Broads to celebrate Beck’s 30th Birthday. There Were 8 permanent residents on the boat for the weekend and a few extra guests who joined us for a night along the way.



The boat was lovely, even if the sleeping quarters were a little snug!


It was my first visit to the Broads and it’s a beautiful part of the country. I was going through an HDR phase at the time (that wore off pretty quickly 🙂 ) and came back with a lot of photographs of reeds and windmills which I tone mapped in photoshop and turned into faux HDR. In hindsight it’s not an effect I particularly like, there’s definitely a place for it and it’s used a lot in the media but I doubt that I’ll use it again.


We travelled up and down the Broads, stopping at a few pubs on the way and celebrating Beck’s Birthday in the traditional way, food, fun, wine and of course… CAKE.




Italy #4 Picnic

There is a lake within the fields of vines in Valdonica and it’s a perfect place to spend a couple of hours relaxing in the sunshine with a picnic. We had rolls and sandwiches from the local delicatessen and bakery, some fresh fruit and a bottle of wine. We opted for red wine as the weather was so gloriously hot that white wouldn’t have stayed cool and we didn’t want to carry a cooler with us (and the Valdonica reds are delicious). The hike to the lake isn’t too far but it is down some quite steep slopes and over uneven ground and of course once we got down we’d have to come back up again and the less we had to carry back up the better.

It was incredibly tranquil and relaxing, silent apart from a few birds and the faint hum of a distant tractor, tending to the vines. When we left the UK my job had me stressed to near breaking point but when we sat by the lake and tuned into the nature around us I felt all the anxiety slip away. A Perfect day.



Cookery Clutter Quest

How many cookbooks have you got? Do you (honestly) use them all, or are they propping up shelves and gathering dust, looking good but not not being used as they are meant to be?

We’ve bought, been given and scavenged loads of cookbooks over the years and we keep decluttering and giving them away (I wonder if they are being used in their new homes any more than they were in ours?) but we’re left with a core set that for whatever reason we choose to keep. I say for whatever reason because only a few of them are actually used for finding recipes so it seems pointless having them.

The Internet makes it so easy to look for recipe inspiration and I’m an avid Pinner (is that the right description of a Pinterest user?) so most of the ideas I find for cooking are stored on Pinterest. I’ve set myself the challenge (as usual – no deadline) to cook at least one thing from every book, magazine, leaflet that is on our kitchen shelf starting from 01/08/2018.

I’ve created a list (surprise, surprise) and I’ll add a photograph of the book, the finished dish and any notes I think may be helpful to anyone else using the book/trying the recipe. as I try each one.

To the Kitchen……



Meeting Ben

Back in May 2015 went on a tour of the Elizabeth Tower.

We were on a London Walk (not just for tourists – even though I lived in London for 15 years I found the walks fascinating) and the guide mentioned that if you contacted your MP they could arrange for you to tour the tower. I wrote to our MP, Andrew Smith (who has now stood down from his position as MP for Oxford East) and he arranged places on the tour for us. I believe the tours are only available to UK residents (don’t hold me to that, things may have changed since we went) and they are free to go on but at the moment the tours of Big Ben and the Elizabeth tower have been suspended until 2021 while refurbishment work is being carried out. When the tours are running again it can be a long wait from your request to being offered a date but it was worth it.

We climbed the 334 steps in stages, stopping on each floor for a chance to see more of the mechanics of the bell tower and clocks, including a chance to stand inside of the huge clock faces which was surreal. We got to the Belfry and stood, with earplugs and fingers in ears, next to Big Ben as 3pm struck.

As you would expect security on the tours is tight and you’re security checked before your place on the tour is confirmed, sadly no cameras are allowed in the tower. There were so many photographs I wish I could have taken, especially the amazing view over London from the Belfry but it was nice to enjoy the day without viewing things through a lens for a change.