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WEIRD. WONDERFUL. WALES.

Great Britain is composed of three nations: England, Wales, and Scotland. The United Kingdom adds Northern Ireland to the mix, and hence the official name of the country is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The point of mentioning this terminology is that both Scotland and Northern Ireland are parts of the UK that are some distance…

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SHEFFIELD: A COMPLICATED RELATIONSHIP

People often talk about love at first sight, whether it’s meeting that special someone to spend your life with or buying a house. But what about the opposite? Because that was my reaction to Sheffield when I first encountered this northern city almost fifteen years ago. I was on a flying visit to find a place to situate one of…

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RETURNING TO ROUSHAM

The cliché that lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place is patently false: after all, lightning rods are designed specifically for the task! But when it comes to magical moments, there is often a kernel of truth in the statement. How often have you gone somewhere and had a fantastic time—maybe it was an incredibly delicious meal at a…

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OF LIONS, LAMBS, AND A WALK ALONG THE BOW WOW

In like a lion, out like a lamb. This familiar quip about the month of March actually seems quite logical. After all, the beginning is still winter, with the spring equinox arriving at the tail end of the month. Which is, I admit, no guarantee of good weather, but this year it proved to be more accurate than anticipated. Early…

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POSTCARDS FROM FEBRUARY

Postcards feel like a modern day anachronism: bits of paper covered with photographs, a scribbled line or two on the back, and sent through a postal system that operates at human speed rather than almost instantaneously. Why bother with all this when you can pop a picture on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter in the time it takes to hit a…

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A ROYAL VISIT TO THE COTSWOLDS

Okay, I admit it: I am addicted to snowdrops. If you have been following along with Facebook or Instagram over the past few weeks, you’ll have seen these little white flowers have had a starring role in my February travels. One of the first things I learned as a novice snowdrop hunter is the importance of sun to bring out…

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A Simply Stunning Seasonal Spectacle

Japan is known for its sakura, ornamental cherry trees that cover the country in billowing clouds of pink and white blossoms. Their blooming is considered an annual event, not just a sign of the season. There are daily forecasts that track the developing buds and, once open, families, friends, and work colleagues participate in hanami, viewing parties to enjoy the…

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A Light in the Darkness

I never gave much thought to winter before moving to the UK. After all, I grew up in Florida and if there’s one thing it’s known for besides Disney World, it’s sunshine, palm trees, and a tropical climate. Okay, that’s three things but you get the idea. Temperatures in Florida range from warm to scorching, with a side helping of…

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Exploring Edinburgh in Technicolor

[ PART 1 ] [ PART 2 ] Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is known for many things. There’s whisky, which I don’t partake in, but I can vouch that tastings are a popular activity on offer for those who want to sample a beverage that is practically synonymous with the country. There’s its architecture: the “newer” parts were built during the…

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London Accompaniment

Our inside joke started way back in the distant year of 2010, when MrElaineous was still known as Jon and I was just about to embark on the phase of my PhD euphemistically known as “writing up” (reality: “academic hell”). I had a paper accepted to an archaeology conference in Granada, Spain and Jon was interested in going as well;…

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Opening Doors in London

Imagine a house you’ve lived in for years. You can navigate to the bathroom in the middle of the night without turning on a light or stubbing your toe. You know those spots of scuffed paint or the peeling wallpaper you keep meaning to fix. You are familiar with every step, every floorboard creak, every quirk of architecture or design.…

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Dive into Bath

“Hi, would you like to participate …” “Hello, I’m researching the audio guides and …” “Hi, would you like to take part in a survey about the audio guides here at the Roman Baths? You would? Great!” Over a period of months, I accosted hundreds, if not thousands, of visitors to the Roman Baths Museum with a spiel like this.…

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She seeks seashells (and fossils) by the seashore

Fishpond Bottom. Thornfalcon. Monkton Wyld. Cricket Malherbie. Beercrocombe. Curry Mallet. Cheddon Fitzpaine. Queen Camel. MrElaineous and I were heading south, and as I followed our route across the map I couldn’t help but wonder about the subconscious impact of cartography on a nation’s mindset. After all, this is a country that has given the world both Monty Python and Middle…

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Wiltshire Round Up

If you have ever watched any television series, you’ll be familiar with the phenomenon of the clip show. These often string together the best segments from previous episodes, or perhaps are built around a particular theme. Welcome to the clip show in blog format! This past summer I’ve been exploring closer to home and enjoying the wonders of Wiltshire, but…

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Summer, Shakespeare, and Sightseeing

It was Shakespeare—and a very dedicated English teacher—who brought me to the UK in the summer of 1999. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying a number of plays (and the odd musical or two) in gardens across the country. This is because once the weather warms up, outdoor spaces are converted into open-air theatres for local amateur dramatic…

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Seduced by Salisbury (Part 2)

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” This famous quote by writer L.P. Harley opens his novel The Go-Between, and I think it gets to the heart of why I enjoy history so much: it’s just like travelling, but in your imagination. There’s the same excitement of learning and discovery, of figuring out how things work,…

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Seduced by Salisbury (Part 1)

[ PART 1 ] [ PART 2 ][ VISIT WILTSHIRE ] [ If you follow along on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter you may have caught my trip to Salisbury this past weekend — I am reposting it on the MissElaineous Blog to make it easier for everyone to access. ] I have a confession to make. Narrow, winding stairs are my…

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Making the Past Present (Part 2)

[ PART 1 ] [ PART 2 ] We are all time travellers. We just happen to be moving towards the future at the pace of one day at a time. But the past is all around us and, with the help of the right person, it’s possible to find it. John Swann of the Travelling History Company is one…

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Making the Past Present (Part 1)

[ PART 1 ] [ PART 2 ] Car parks are not exactly known for having great views. Indeed, that is one of their defining characteristics: whether situated underground, in a multi-storey tower, or sandwiched between shops, they tend to prioritise function over form and practicality over aesthetics. So pulling into Chepstow’s Castle Dell car park was unexpected: as the view of a medieval…

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MissElaineous Blog: Escape & Explore & Discover & Enjoy