27 August 2016

My Wife And I

My wife and I have been married now for 24 years. Christine and I tied the knot way back in 1992.

There have been good times, and there have been not so good times, between then and now. And a whole lot of things that have happened that we didn't reckon on all those years ago. In fact, surprises around every turn.

We've raised two children together, and I don't think we've done too badly, all in all.

We're not the young lovers that we were all those many years ago.

But we are still together.

And I'm very happy about that.

26 August 2016

Z is for Zouch

Zouch is a hamlet in south west Nottinghamshire. The nearest town is Loughborough. It only has a population of 53 people. There is a pub in the hamlet, the Rose and Crown.

The meaning of the name derives from the Old English term for "poor ground".

But how many other options did I have for Z?

25 August 2016

Y is for Yarmouth

Great Yarmouth, often known to locals as simply Yarmouth, is a coastal town in Norfolk, 20 miles (30 km) east of Norwich. The town has been a seaside resort since 1760, and so has a terrific maritime heritage. Admiral Lord Nelson was a frequent visitor to this busy port, where wealthy merchants built their houses.

Travel inland from the port and you will find mile after mile of slow winding rivers and unspoiled waterways. The rivers Yare, Bure and Waveney are an important part of the Broads National Park, which stretches for 125 miles over parts of Norfolk and into Suffolk.

24 August 2016

X is for Exeter

Exeter is a city in Devon, situated about 37 miles (60 km) northeast of Plymouth and 70 miles (110 km) southwest of Bristol.

The city dates back to Roman times, so there's plenty to see here, including its mysterious Underground Passages, the magnificent Cathedral, and the historic quayside. It's also a great place for food, with a thriving farmer's market and a variety of restaurants. The city is also only 10 miles from the coast, with a good selection of sand or pebble beaches to choose from.

23 August 2016

W is for Whitstable

Whitstable was recently christened 'Islington-on-Sea', reflecting its popularity with trendy Londoners who want to get away for the weekend. It's a seaside town in north Kent, situated 5 miles (8km) north of Canterbury.

Whitstable is famous for its oysters, which are celebrated at the annual Whitstable Oyster Festival. A variety of other seafood is also readily available. The town is a treasure to explore, with wonderful bookshops, art galleries, delicatessens and gift shops. There are a whole host of cafes, restaurants and pubs in the town.

22 August 2016

V is for Victoria Coach Station

Victoria Coach Station is the largest coach station in London, located right in the centre of the City of Westminster. It was opened in 1932 by London Coastal Coaches, a consortium of coach operators. The building is currently owned and operated by Transport for London.

It serves as a terminus for many long distance coach services in the United Kingdom. I still fondly remember using the station when I was younger, when I would set off around the country (cheaply!), exploring and meeting up with friends.

21 August 2016

U is for Uxbridge

Uxbridge is a town to the west of London, the administrative headquarters of the London Borough of Hillingdon. It's some 15 miles (24.1 km) from the centre of the capital. Historically, the town was part of the parish of Hillingdon in the old county of Middlesex, and was 'swallowed up' into London during the 20th century, finally forming part of Greater London in 1965.

Despite all the changes, the town remains a centre for working, shopping and entertainment. It is also the home of Brunel University (which is named after Isambard Kingdom Brunel, one of the greatest British engineers of the 19th Century).

20 August 2016

T is for Truro

Truro is Cornwall's county town and only city - in fact, it is the most southerly city in mainland Great Britain. Its most striking feature is the Cathedral, dominating the local skyline with 250 foot high towers and Victorian stained glass windows.

As a market town, it's worth a look, as there are many lovely small shops to be found down its narrow streets, complementing the usual high street chains. 

19 August 2016

S is for Shaftesbury Avenue

Shaftesbury Avenue can be found right in the centre of London. The street itself is named after Anthony Ashley Cooper, the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, and was built in the late 19th century to provide an important connection in the heart of the capital. It's generally considered to be at the heart of modern London's West End theatre district.

However, during the last century, the area has also seen a considerable growth of Chinese residents, who set up their businesses in order to cater to Chinese sailors who were frequently in the docklands. Today, you can find London’s 'Chinatown' off of Shaftesbury Avenue, with over 80 restaurants offering London's finest and most authentic Asian cuisine - Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Malaysian and Taiwanese.

18 August 2016

R is for Royal Tunbridge Wells

Royal Tunbridge Wells (often shortened simply to Tunbridge Wells) can be found in west Kent, approximately 40 miles (64 km) south-east of central London.

The town first came to fame as a spa (do you notice a bit of a  trend here? It wasn't intentional when I started this year's list!) and the town remains a popular place to visit, deriving 30% of its income from the tourist industry. The town is often thought of as the stereotypical conservative "Middle England" town. Is this fair? Why not visit the place, and find out...