#Weekendwanderings – Bushy Park, Surrey #photos #britishwildlife

Over the summer we visited Bushy Park in Surrey and had the pleasure of meeting a couple of very friendly squirrels and their jackdaw pals. One cheeky squirrel actually took food from my hand and almost climbed onto my daughter’s lap.

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Over the years we’ve visited Bushy Park dozens of times, in all seasons. I have wonderful memories of family picnics and stalking wildlife with my camera. Today is more of a wander through my photo archive. I could fill this post with hundreds of pics of landscapes and flora and fauna, but instead I’ve picked a couple of my favourite wildlife shots (even if the quality is not perfect).

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And lastly, when I was certain the kids would join me in my love of photography…

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my wildlife photos. Look out for more pictures in the future, where I hope to focus more on the seasons at Bushy Park.

Next week I may return to another favourite pastime of mine, visiting old castles. Ludlow Castle here we come…

 

 

#Weekendwanderings Portsmouth Historic Dockyard #ships #history #photos

During the summer we paid a visit to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. It proved to be a fun way to spend a few hours, though it did feel a little strange seeing armed police patrolling what is in effect a museum. I suppose that is just the way things are now.

Anyway, not to dwell on the state of society, the first attraction is HMS Warrior. It’s a beast of a ship and I had no chance of fitting it into one photo.

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I loved exploring the many levels inside HMS Warrior and imagining life on board.

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My favourite was the Captain’s cabin (and I think navigator’s cabin) because I could just imagine Commander Farrell from my Silent Sea Chronicles sitting in his cabin plotting his next mission to capture pirates.

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There is a boathouse where you can watch boats being built and repaired. But my favourite was this floating sail boat.

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The Mary Rose Museum houses the remains of the 16th century Tudor ship lost to the sea in 1545. The ship is stored in a temperature controlled environment, and it’s quite something to wander the levels seeing both the ship and the artefacts recovered from it.

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We managed to time our visit while the HMS Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier was there. This was the closest we managed to get, but the size of it is still very impressive.

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Finally there’s HMS Victory. We didn’t get to go inside this time, so this is the first stop on our next visit.

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It was very busy so we didn’t get to experience everything. The great thing is, your ticket allows for a second visit free of charge. So we will definitely be returning soon and hopefully I’ll get to share some more pictures.

If you get the chance, I would highly recommend a visit to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard – but get there early as the parking can be an issue.

Next week, I hope to share a wander around Bushy Park, Surrey and show off it’s friendly squirrels a.

#Tuesdaybookblog A Year and a Day – Isabelle Broom #Bookreview #Romance

This is my first book review for a long time. I’m a bit out of practice, but here goes…

I won a paperback copy of A Year and a Day in a Rafflecopter giveaway run by Brizzlelass. I was instantly drawn to the idea of a book set in Prague as it’s a bucket list destination for me. After reading this, Prague has moved even higher up on my list!

But before I get to what I think, let’s start with the beautiful book cover and the blurb…

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Welcome to a city where wishes are everywhere

For Megan, a winter escape to Prague with her friend Ollie is a chance to find some inspiration for her upcoming photography exhibition. But she’s determined to keep their friendship from becoming anything more. Because if Megan lets Ollie find out about her past, she risks losing everything – and she won’t let that happen again . . .

For Hope, the trip is a surprise treat from Charlie, her new partner. But she’s struggling to enjoy the beauty of the city when she knows how angry her daughter is back home. And that it’s all her fault . . .

For Sophie, the city has always been a magical place. This time she can’t stop counting down the moments until her boyfriend Robin joins her. But in historic Prague you can never escape the past . . .

Three different women.

Three intertwining love stories.

One unforgettable, timeless city.


My Review

This is an addictive read. The way each chapter alternates between the three viewpoint characters – Megan, Hope and Sophie, draws you in completely. I spent a few late nights unable to put it down.

The characters are all likeable and each story thread is compelling and believable. It’s great how each character has their own chapter, but are often with or bumping into the others characters once they all meet in Prague. Megan is the main character of the three, and Ollie (her friend / potential love interest) is definitely my favourite character. I connected with Megan the most perhaps because she is obsessed with photography (I also love taking photos), although I found her reasoning a little nuts and infuriating at times.

There are plenty of heart-warming moments in A Year and a Day, and plenty of times when it reduced me to tears.

Prague really comes alive; you can almost feel as if you are there in the freezing, magical city.

I did guess where much of the plot was going, but that didn’t stop my enjoyment of the story, rather it’s good to be proved right.

In all, A Year and a Day is a brilliantly entertaining novel that I recommend to anyone who enjoys romantic fiction. I will be looking out for more books by Isabelle Broom and look forward to escaping into other parts of the world in her stories.

I rate it 4.5 stars (5 on amazon / goodreads).

 

#Weekendwanderings Llama Park – East Sussex #Llama #photos

For my first weekend wander in a long time, I’d like to show off a few photos from our family visit to The Llama Park in East Sussex. It’s a great place to spend a couple of hours in some very beautiful English countryside.

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This Llama is very tame and friendly, and wanders loose around the grounds. There are lots of Llamas and you can even take part in a Llama walk.

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I love the cheeky little Alpacas.

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But my highlight of the day was seeing this peacock admiring his reflection, or perhaps sussing out a rival.

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Feeding time was my daughter’s highlight.

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If you are looking for a few hours of fun with some very friendly animals, check out the Llama Park.

Next week I hope to share some pictures of the historic ships at Portsmouth’s Dockyard.

#weekendwanderings – The Bishops Garden in Chichester #photos #flowers #cathedral

You may have seen my post yesterday with a wander around the cathedral of Chichester. Today I wanted to shared some pictures of the Bishops Garden, which also has some beautiful views of the cathedral. Again this is open to the public to enjoy and makes a lovely base for a picnic or just to enjoy the summer sun.

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My favourite flower here has to be the Bearded Iris.

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There is also a lot of history in Chichester. I wish we’d had time to do more, especially the 1.5 mile circular walk tracing the old wall around the city – details in the pictures below.

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I hope I’ve inspired you to visit this beautiful city, I would certainly love to go back.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

#Weekendwanderings around Chichester Cathedral #photos

A few weeks ago we paid a brief visit to Chichester and spend a lovely afternoon wandering around the city centre and its beautiful cathedral. It’s wonderful that this building’s grounds are free for the public to walk through and explore.

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A day at Falco West Sussex Falconry #photos #birdsofprey

On a beautiful, sunny Saturday a few weeks ago, I spent the morning at Falco West Sussex Falconry. It was a mother’s day / birthday treat, a chance to research for a character in one of my future books, but mainly I went because I love birds of prey!

This is Phoenix, probably my favourite bird of the day.

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I have plenty of shots of this Harris Hawk, but here are just a couple. The first is a view of it sitting on my arm.

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We also got to fly Crystal (Chrissy) the Barn Owl. She’s tiny and weighs nothing, but is a real stunner to watch fly.

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The above picture is Chrissy sitting on my hand (such a privilege).

There were lots of other owls at Falco, which were brilliant to see but unfortunately my photos aren’t good enough to share.

I love this next falcon, but admittedly can’t remember which type it is. I think it is a Saker Falcon.

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This next bird is a Hybrid bird, clearly part peregrine falcon.

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Finally, I’ve already shared a few photos of this young Buzzard on a Wordlesswednesday post. But I had to show off this photo again because it still makes me smile!

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I really recommend a falconry day if you like birds of prey. Nothing beats having one fly onto your hand and being so close to these majestic creatures.

Tomorrow’s stop on the blog tour is a guest post about ‘How writing has turned me into an obsessive learner’. I mention this experience in the post, so it seems a perfect day to share this with you.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these photos as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing them.