Towers of Power -The Tower of London and Hampton Court

There’s probably no better lesson about the ability of power to corrupt than a visit to the Tower of London.

The most influential men and women of their time have lived – and died – within these walls. And in most cases, the power they held lasted very briefly. Continue reading

Antique Hunting – Warwick

warwick-street-from-top-sBritain is full of old things. And I don’t mean the House of Lords.

With royalty, stately homes, palaces, battle sites and ancient ruins at every turn, there’s enough to satisfy even the most avid, (and indeed gory) appetite for past glories and disasters. Continue reading

Edinburgh’s Close Past

Mary King's Close -sMary King and I have much in common.

We’re both single (she a widow) with grown children; both of us are entrepreneurs with small success and live in comfort. But the comfort of Mary King was a far cry from my own. You see, Mary lived in 17th century Edinburgh in a ‘close’.

Closes were very narrow streets with tall (seven or eight storey) buildings closely set together on either side of the road. These were often named for the businesses in them – Baker’s Close, Advocates Close, Tanner’s Close, etc. Or they may have been named for the notable residents living in them.

Such is Mary King’s Close………………. Continue reading

The Spirit of the Vikings

statue and harbour Alesund sI’ve concluded that Norwegians are either the most intrepid adventurers in the world… or slightly mad. I’m leaning toward the latter.

Kon tiki boat s

In the Kon Tiki Museum in Oslo, Norway, is the first piece of evidence for this. I’m surveying the original Kon Tiki. It’s a raft! Continue reading

Spirited Wales

skirrid Inn sWant to greet a ghost or sleep with a spectre? Wales is reputedly one of the most haunted countries in the world and its castles, stately homes, pubs and even abbey ruins can give a whole new meaning to getting into the spirit of the place. Here are six of the most spirited spots.

I’m unarmed – no de-materializer or spectral blaster. Some ghostbuster!

It’s dark and musty in this small dressing room, just a thin, uneven sliver of light shows under the door. I hear my own breathing, the creak of ancient floorboards and from downstairs, an occasional murmur of conversation. I’m waiting for something – anything! – to happen. Continue reading