This morning I went for a morning run down a pretty canal, over a little bridge and through some wide-open fields. I passed a smiley lady who was walking her dog, said ‘good morning’ to a friendly chap up and about tending to his barge, before catching a glimpse of a woman pouring her first cuppa of the day through the kitchen window of her pretty barge. I was beginning to slow down and take a breather when I spotted what I thought was a deer over in the distance to my right. Perspective can be deceiving so for a moment I thought it might possibly be a rather large rabbit or hare but then its white, fluffy looking rump patch came into view and it looked up, giving me the chance to see its majestic profile. Seconds later the deer began to run but not in a bouncy spring lamb kind of way. The deer was running like springbok run from leopards and cheetahs on wildlife documentaries. Apparently…

View Post

Where is it? The Tower of London What do you love about it? It seems like only yesterday that I read about the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation planned to encircle the Tower of London and commemorate one hundred years since the outbreak of the First World War. Like everyone who visited the Tower of London during the summer of 2014, I wanted to see this sincere reminder of our past with my own eyes. It was widely publicised that each poppy represented one of the 888,246 men who fought and sadly fell during the Great War. Knowing this of course made the entire experience incredibly moving, but when I try to imagine that each poppy had a name, a face, a personality and hopes and dreams, my mind moves into a state of confusion and this concept begins to feel completely incomprehensible. For me, the artists who created the installation succeeded in creating a space for people of all ages to come,…

View Post

Nestled beside a busy boardwalk and a wide sandy coastline, stand a neat little row of perfectly aligned wooden beach huts painted in soft pastel shades. These elegant little dwellings on the beachfront at Lytham St Annes are effortlessly pretty like a vintage postcard. They ooze nostalgia and evoke childhood memories that remind us of the simple pleasures in life – spending quality time with the people we love with sand between our toes and the sea breeze rustling through our clothes and our hair. However much we enjoy the modern technologies that seem to make life so much easier, yet complicate our lives without us often realising, sometimes it is refreshing to leave it all behind for the day. Petite in size they may be, but don’t be fooled, once inside you will feel like the King or Queen of your very own piece of the seaside. Of course it isn’t really yours and you do…

View Post

Where is it? Portmeirion, Gwynedd, North Wales What do you love about it? Quite simply, blink twice and you might start to think you are strolling through a romantic town in Italy. This exceptionally picturesque little village was intentionally built with this very thing in mind by the Welsh architect and conservationist, Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. He bought a peninsula in North Wales on a whim and started building in 1925. Owing to some disruption brought on during the war years, the village was finally completed in 1976. I like to think Sir Clough was an old-school romantic at heart having followed his dreams to build a coastal village on a clifftop close to his home. To build something so beautiful, he must have had a love affair with architecture and design from an early age. With coastal views and beautiful gardens and woodland to wander through, as well as vibrant and colourful Italianate architecture,…

View Post

Where is it? Menai Strait, Anglesey, North Wales What do you love about it? It’s a striking welcome for visitors to the Isle of Anglesey after crossing over from mainland Wales. The Menai Suspension Bridge was the biggest suspension bridge in the world when it was built in 1826 and through its design, Thomas Telford was able to take away the significant danger people faced when crossing the strong tides and currents of the Menai Strait by boat. I found it breathtakingly beautiful the first time I saw it but I appreciate it so much more knowing the significance of the Bridge and the impact it had on people. Why does it make you smile? The bridge is a large man-made heavy structure which at first seems like it should dominate the photograph. Instead the bridge looks as if it has simply been picked up like a piece of lego and dropped in the middle of…

View Post

Good memories create little bursts of excitement inside. They stimulate the mind and help to relive favourite moments, almost always resulting in a beaming smile. I love these moments so each week I will share a memory that makes me grin and feel happy, giddy, tip-top, peaceful or some other smiley word. Simples! Where is it? Longford Park, Chorlton What do you love about it? Longford Park is a beautiful wide open space, accessible to everyone and conveniently located in my back yard! Why does it make you smile? The man on his bicycle was so relaxed as he cycled past me. It was a sunny Saturday morning and the skies were blue, and who doesn’t love sherbet pink blossom? What word best describes this memory? Pink!  

View Post

Like most people who enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and the thrill of discovering where a path, dirt track or passageway will lead, I enjoy looking at maps and planning trips to the countryside. Sometimes though, it’s fun to just pick a place, and go! As a child I remember lots of times, usually on Sunday mornings, when my parents would say, “let’s go out for a drive” and I would respond at times quite unenthusiastically asking where we were going and for how long… but then I probably just wanted to go out to play with my friends. Now that I’m older I love picking a place on a map, packing a rucksack and heading off into the hills with just a handful of uncertainty about where I’m going or what I’ll see. It still amazes me that less than an hour’s journey from the hustle and bustle of Manchester, it is…

View Post