For the Love of Ladybirds

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As a child born in the mid 1970’s Ladybird books were an iconic part of my childhood. But by my time I had reached my 40’s they were no longer a part of my life and had been pretty much forgotten about. I had one or two favourites gathering dust in the attic but that was all.

Then I watched a BBC documentary The Ladybird Book Story late in 2013 and my old love was re-born. I was filled with nostalgia. The spark of my adult collecting of vintage ladybird books had been ignited.

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Watching the documentary filled me with so many lovely memories of the books I had read as a small child. I could even recollect some of the art work from some of my favourite books.

 

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Undercover in the Heart of Cornwall

Cornwall was one of Europe’s earliest industrial regions, with a scattered industrial society. For hundreds of years, people in Cornwall have made their living from mining. Cornwall was a world leader in the mining industry.

Mining was not just a job; it was a way of life. These mining areas have a strong sense of community and identity.

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Geevor Tin Mine is a 20th Century tin mine, located in an area that has been mined for thousands of years. Geevor is much more than a mine. It is also the story of people and of a landscape.Read More »

May Day – Embracing the Seasons

The May 1st or May Day has traditionally been a seasonal day of significance. Many folklore customs originated from the Dark Ages, when the ancient Celts divided their year by four major festivals. Beltane or ‘the fire of Bel’, had particular significance to the Celts. The Gaelic May Day festival marked a halfway point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. May Day has been associated with fun, revelry and fertility. The first day of summer was celebrated with bonfires to welcome in the new season and thought to lend life to the spring and summer sun. The smoke and ashes were believed to have protective powers. People and cattle would walk around the fire or leap over the flames for good luck. May Day brought together both customs from the Floralia and Beltane festivals.

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The Coming of Spring

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Spring is my favourite season. Last weekend in the UK saw the Spring Equinox. The word equinox is Latin for “equal night”.  Gardens, woodlands and grass verges are a blanket of daffodils, crocuses and snowdrops. The light is returning.

The beginning of spring has been seen as a time of renewal by cultures around the world throughout history. Bringing in the end of winter, with the days brighter and growing longer after the vernal equinox.Read More »

The Hearth of the Home

Historically the hearth provided the main source of heat for the home, as well as being the place where most of the cooking was done. Naturally, the fireplace evolved into the central gathering place for the family and the hearth became synonymous with home – especially during the long winter months.

“For me it is sufficient to have a corner by my hearth, a book and a friend, and a nap undisturbed by creditors or grief.”     Fernandez de AndradaRead More »

Smugglers, Pirates and Pampering in Penzance

So as apart of my recent holiday to beautiful Cornwall, I visited Penzance for the first time. The highlight for me was the historic Chapel Street, which is still reminiscent of the 17th and 18th Centuries, with interesting buildings and some quirky, independent shops to explore.

Having done a bit of research into the area we couldn’t resist checking out (and enjoying some local ale) in the famous Admiral Benbow Pub. It definitely competes for the title of the most colourful building on the street. Named after the 17th century Admiral John Benbow (born 1653-died 1702) he was an English officer in the Royal Navy.

The pub has a statue of a smuggler lying astride the roof, musket in hand. The pub was converted from cottages, which explains the low ceilings and small paned windows. Inside there is a very unique nautical feel. The decorations in the pub are genuine maritime artifacts that have been salvaged from various shipwrecked vessels along the Cornish coast over the past 400 years. The collection of treasures and fixtures and fittings in the Admiral Benbow are fascinating and they are cleverly built into the interior design of the building, such as the Captain’s Cabin restaurant with its fine woodwork from a Portuguese Man O’ War.Read More »

Prisons, Punishment and Witches at Lancaster Castle

With beginnings in Roman times, Lancaster Castle is a fascinating place to visit. It’s not your ordinary castle tour.

It’s moving, thought provoking, disturbing and very interesting.

The castle has been the scene of notable trials, over 200 executions for everything from murder to stealing cattle and has housed prisoners of various categories until as recently as 2011.Read More »