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Wednesday, 30 March 2016


At least once a month I pop over to see my Dad in Manchester and always go through Chesterfield and over the Peak District rather than the direct route on the Motorway.

The reason is simply because of the view. It only takes about half an hour to get to Chesterfield where you pass it's famous 'Crooked Spire', then onto the A619 to the Peak District National Park. 

After a short drive through beautiful countryside I reach Chatsworth, which is a village well worth a visit to see the stunning Chatsworth House and lovely walks and tea rooms like Hatties in Baslow which is part of the Devonshire Arms in Baslow. The pretty village has quirky interior design shops and a  unique bespoke Gentlemans Tailors (GA Shepherd), which are far and few between nowadays.

You then approach Stoney Middleton after going through Calver, which is a beautiful quaint little village where cave lovers meet to go underground and see the world in a completely different light to us. It was first settle by Ancient Britons around 4,000 BC who may have been drawn by the thermal waters which still flow through the village today. The thermal springs provided water to the Roman bath house, where bathing in the mineral rich water was thought to have the power to heal.

You then stay on the A623 towards Stockport and enjoy the fantastic scenery of the Peak District National Park.  where the Peak District website says ' Take in a view you will never forget'.

The next village which you by pass is Chapel en le Frith then onto Furness Vale. Furness Vale on the A6 has one main road running through it, with wonderful views on either side and a lovely Marina (see picture above).

You then go into Disley which has an abundance of lovely shops and pubs for such a small village and a regular stop off point for many heading towards Stockport. Lyme Park ( a National Trust Property) is just outside the village and a very popular and beautiful park for a day out. Just don't go on a Good Friday as my Dad and I were stuck in a traffic jam for two hours which was all down to cars queuing up to get into the Park over the holiday.

Once through Disley I know I'm out of the true countryside and getting nearer to Stockport and Manchester but even though I have driven this route hundreds of times, it still looks different each time I go on that route home.

Saturday, 26 March 2016


According to the very British paper 'The Telegraph' Britain has 20 classiest Counties, and the second ten are-

11. County Down which starts at East Belfast and meanders south to the point where " the mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea".The Royal County Down Golf Club, founded in 1889, is described by Golf Digest as the best anywhere outside the US. It is also one of the most sought after towns, glamorous-sounding Holywood, is proud to have spawned golfing superstar Roy Mcilroy.

12. East Sussex ( love it) They say there is no cooler place outside London than Brighton ( couldn't agree more on that one). The white stucco properties in Sussex Square must be some of the most attractive properties in the county. They also come with access to an enormous communual garden. Glyndebourne (pictures) is a place of pilgrimage for well-dressed opera-lovers and the market for houses in growing daily.

13. Cornwall ( thought this would have been higher up the list). This is Britain's southernmost county and is a place of timeless enchantment. It is beloved of artists and holidaymakers alike. Always a popular spot for holiday makers.

14. Oxfordshire which attracts more than its fair share of movers and shakers, many living in David Cameron's Witney constituency. The county is hardly unspoilt and has pockets of real beauty and tranquility. Some may say Bicester Village lowers the tone ( no idea why) but Blenheim Palace is one of the grandest stately homes in the country. 

15. Ross-shire, which is a tiny county that for years it was subsumed into Ross and Cromarty for admin purposes. The biggest town, Dingwall, barely has 5,000 inhabitants. Tain, Scotland's oldest Royal Burgh, is even smaller. But you only have to visit the remote villages of Wester Ross, or play golf at Royal Dornock to fall under the spell of this delightful corner of Scotland. 

16. Cumbria ( my favourite place in the whole world) feels like a breath of fresh air after the cities of the south. The scenery has a class of it's own. Wordsworth's Lake District is as glorious now as 200 years ago, and if you are looking for a classy property (that's if you can find one for sale), the landscape of timeless beauty is in abundance. 

17. Pembrokeshire which is the county well known as Little England Beyond Wales. It has some of the best beaches in Britain, as well as its smallest city, St. David's.

18. Cheshire ( my home town) which has plenty of Premier League footballer's in situ. It is said to have the most outstanding schools and amenities as well as the very popular villages of Hale, Alderley Edge and Prestbury.

19. Gwynedd which has the natural splendour of Snowdonia National Park which is a beautiful as Conwy, Caenarfon, Harlech and Beaumaris castles. Abersoch used to be a small fishing village but now attracts the yacht set. Further down the coast is one of the hot spots called Aberdovey, which attracts more out-of-county house buyers than ever before. 

20. Last but not least is Leicestershire, which is situated right in the centre of England. This classy county is the seat of the Dukes of Rutland in Belvoir Castle. It's world-class riding country is a lure to sportsmen everywhere. 

Monday, 21 March 2016


The Pennine's Way, is arguable England's longest and finest footpath, which runs from the Peaks, in Derbyshire, to the Scottish border, over rough moors and over grown Roman roads. But it's certainly no walk for the inexperienced.

It has something to offer every long distance walker. The 270-mile walk will take your from the Peak District National Park along the Pennine ridge through the Yorkshire Dales, up into Northumberland, and across the Cheviots, and into the Scottish Borders. 

If you like a bit of history and culture then you will find that on this walk. Starting at the scene of the Kinder Scout mass trespasses of the 1930s, you will walk through the Southern Pennines, cradle of the Industrial Revolution, pass Haworth, home of the Bronte sisters, cross the limestone country of the Yorkshire Dales, follow the Settle to Carlisle Railway and enter a huge Pennine area that was exploited by every kind of mining activity, the lead industry in particular, as well as The Roman Wall and beyond the territory of the Scottish Borders.

The National Trails Website has lots of details on how to plan your visit.  

Saturday, 19 March 2016


If you have some glasses you do not use anymore and are not one of your favourites then give them to Vision Aid Overseas. All you have to do is leave them at most UK optician branches and they will send them onto the developing world.

For CD's and DVD's the best place to give them is The Royal National Institute for the Blind as they can raise £50 per 100 CD's or DVD's donated. 

If you have broken watches, or damaged jewellery then Marie Curie Cancer Care will recycle them for cash. 

For electronic goods the 'Rethink Recycling Appeal' collects old mobile phones, DVDs, laptops, electric toothbrushes, printer cartridges, cameras, torches, power tools and other electric devices for reuse and recycling, and then allows you to donate the money they make to a charity of your choice.

If you have a load of old textbooks then READ International will collect them from across the UK and send them out to East Africa. 

Batteries can be recycled anywhere that you see the 'Be Positive' sign, including M&S, Argos, Homebase, B&Q and Tesco.

For everything else 'The British Heart Foundation' will come and collect goods for free from your house. Just fill in the online booking form on The British Heart Foundation website. 

Another company called 'Stuff U Sell Ltd', will collect junk from anywhere in the UK, or you can send it to them or drop it off at their London warehouse. They will sell what they can on eBay for you, then give the rest to Oxfam or a recycling plant. You will get an inventory of how much they've sold your stuff for, and a cheque, minus their commission (between 10 and 30 per cent) and what they've given to charity. For more details head to Stuff You Sell.

Monday, 14 March 2016


To commemorate the Queens 90th Birthday milestone, a new 90th portrait of Her Majesty has been issued on the new Queen's 90th Birthday Coin.

Only one limited edition of the Queen Elizabeth 11 90th Birthday coin is allowed per household so claim yours today...


Sunday, 13 March 2016


Stephen Fry who we all think of as being a national treasure has made a short film about Britain.
The video will be on airports free WiFi pages,  but this link from the Telegraph also shows the video,where you will hear Stephen musing on the etiquette of British concerns and how we greet strangers. 
Working with scriptwriter Graham Linehan, Fry and Heathrow filmed the three-minute piece inside a pub, where they touch on some of our most undeniably British attractions, such as St Paul’s Cathedral, the Scottish Highlands and Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch in Wales.

Saturday, 12 March 2016


According to the very British paper 'The Telegraph' Britain has 20 classiest Counties, and the first ten are-

1.Beautiful Norfolk which we also relate to Sandringham. They say the whole county oozes class, the Norfolk Broads are stunning as ever and the ultra-trendy town of Burnham Market attracts a 'sophisticated' set from London. Even though the famous Noel Coward said that Norfolk is 'very flat', nothing can change the pretty seaside cottages and beach.

2. Gloucestershire which has the beautiful Cotswolds countryside alongside as well as cosmopolitan towns like Cheltenham. Of course you can't forget that Prince Charles lives at Highgrove so if a property goes up for sale in the area it sells immediately. 

3. North Yorkshire - I've been on that train through Yorkshire, it's stunning. Old North Riding in Yorkshire is said to have some of the most distinctive landscapes in Britain. With its rolling moors and majestic ruined abbeys, it's a beautiful place to live. Lonely Planet voted this county as the third best region in the 'WORLD'.

4. Berkshire which is another place I have visited quite recently. I thought it was stunning and reminded me a little of Cambridge but Windsor Castle and Eton College in the county, then it's no wonder it appeals. 

5. Fife in Scotland which they say becomes like Edinburgh-by-the-Sea in the summer. The famous St. Andrews University was attended by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and the Royal and Ancient Club, is the main attraction. 

6. Dorset, which is somewhere in the UK that I have not been to but is known for its off the beaten track charm with no motorway running through the County. The market towns of Dorchester and Blandford Forum are said to be the true glory of the county.

7. Aberdeenshire in Scotland which is famous for fishing on Royal Deeside or fourball at the Royal Aberdeen Gold Club.

8. Shropshire which is definitely somewhere I have been to. A few times in fact, I love a weekend break in Shropshire. With fab restaurants in Ludlow, which is a Mecca for all true foodies and antique shops a plenty in the town. 

9. Herefordshire which is also referred to as the new Cotswolds. London weekly commuters are in favour of living in this party of the Country, while the Hereford Cathedral School which was founded in 1384, attracts families seeking a good education for their offspring. 

10. Warwickshire which we all know is known as Shakespeare County. What more can I say....

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