#TBT The Castle

Britain has no shortage of castles. There’s a huge range in size, fame and condition for castle fans to choose from. Some, such as the Queen’s favourite abode at Windsor, are superbly preserved, with well appointed interiors. Others, such as my local – Corfe Castle – is in a somewhat lesser state of repair. Indeed, Corfe is just a small collapse or two away from having its status altered from ‘castle ruins’ to ‘pile of medieval blocks’. But it’s a popular and well maintained set of ruins, run by the National Trust, so I suspect any intervention by Mother Nature would be put right soon after. It’s even just had mainline train services restored to its accompanying train station for the first time since the 1970s

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Blogging, Uncategorized

I Broke My Blog

Again. Since moving over from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, my blog has been broken numerous times. Two or three occasions were down to a plugin being hacked. It was almost certainly hacked just the once, but it took more than one go at reinstating the blog to fix the problem. On another two or three occasions, the blog simply shut down and disappeared for no good reason. Which left me with more time consuming repair work to do.

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Best British Views

The Guardian newspaper is, in my humble opinion, the finest media organisation on the planet. Yes, politically and socially it leans in my direction. Although not in all matters. But it’s not simply its bias that I like. I appreciate its investigative journalism. The courage of its editors to print controversial or dangerous articles – see Edward Snowden and Wikileaks. But most of all, I think the Guardian has embraced the digital age in a more cohesive and engaging manner than any other mainstream news producer.

The Guardian Witness app/project is just one typical example. Their current assignment is a competition to find Britains Best view. It’s for photographers. Do make sure you click on that link and go and have a look. The quality of the entries are absolutely terrific. I’d love to win, but you need only scroll for a moment to see that I’m not going to. But I like participating anyway.

I scoured my Flickr sets from the last two years to come up with a few candidates. I was a little disappointed to see what a scarce supply of decent landscapes I had to choose from. I came up with just eight – click here to see them. I’ve benefited from this competition already. I have inspiration from some of those wonderful shots and the knowledge I need to work on my landscapes. The one I chose? The shot above, of course, from Arundel Castle.



Corfe Castle

The English countryside is littered with fine castles, some dating back almost 1,000 years. Corfe, in Dorset, has something of a rarity though. A ruined castle. The French have plenty of these types of castle, seeing as how most major armed conflict of the last millennium have involved armies crossing the Channel from England to France, and not the other way round. No wonder the French hate us. Although not as much as we thought. Perhaps 400,000 of them have settles in London, which would make it the 5th most populous French city were it located a couple of hundred miles due south.

But anyway, I digress. Corfe Castle. A thousand years of history. Ruined. The Parliamentarians lay siege to it twice in the last Civil War in the 1600’s, eventually taking possession of it with some tricky and betrayal. And, as one of the most important Royal castles, it was undermined and blown up with gunpowder. For fear of it being retaken and used once again as a fortress. And so it remains to this day, a glorious stone skeleton sat atop a hill overlooking the surrounding area. It is still stormed by armies today however. Armies of tourists, making their way up to see if they can get a sense of the history of the place. Nearly two hundred thousand of them annually. That’s quite some army.

Neither Parliamentarians nor Cavaliers possess the castle today. That honour was bestowed upon the National Trust, a charity that looks after a huge portfolio of buildings, forests and other national treasures. It’s truly a national treasure unto itself, and with annual membership for a couple being just £85.50, I might well sign on the dotted line once Paola has come ashore, and we both have a source of income. Photos? Of course. Click here.


Mexico City


I’ve been getting a bit confused with my dates, seeing as I’m now retired and don’t have to worry about time so much! I think the 30th and 31st entries were one day early, but nevermind.

On Tuesday Paola took me to Chapultepec, a really cool castle on a hill overlooking the city and engulfed in a swathe of green forest. We spent much of the afternoon there, viewing room after room of famous Mexican paintings and artifacts describing the country’s history. And in the evening her brother and his other half (whom I had thought was called Malaria for the first couple of days, but turned out to be called Valeria…) took us off to a local taco restaurant, a rather unassuming place that served up yet more great food, and is apparently well known by the natives for its high quality cuisine.

I have yet had a meal that wasn’t delicious, largely thanks to the fact I am visiting places that my guides have already checked out and given the thumbs up to! They keep worrying that the spiciness will be too much for me, but they haven’t ordered anything so hot as to be beyond my ability to consume so far….

Yesterday, the 1st June, we went off to find the place I will be doing my Teacher Training course. Its a fairly long subway ride, but is easy enough to get to, and is sat in a nice air conditioned mall. I have loads of books for the journey anyhow, and its only a two week course. I have paid my deposit and start Monday, and am quite looking forward to it.

Today is largely and tidy up/ relax/ do some shopping sort of a day, so its off to the super mercado to get some groceries.