MissElaineous and the Very Proper Adventure

The M4 is a British motorway that snakes its way across the south of the country, starting in London and passing near a number of major towns and cities before petering out just past Swansea. Chippenham is one of those towns in the middle, located just a few miles south of this main artery that ferries people east and west…

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A Walk on the Wild Side (Plus Sheep)

There are a few things you might expect to see when you go for a walk in the British countryside: Sheep? Most likely. Cows? Probable, especially in the area around Barbury Castle. Horses? Always a possibility. Intriguing architecture? Chances are good. Stunning landscapes? Guaranteed. But an elephant? Or a herd of zebra? These slightly more exotic creatures do not instantly…

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Down the Rabbit Hole

I found my first decorated rock in Beer, Devon a few years ago. Since then, I’ve enjoyed following the community of people who paint and hide stones for others to find, marvelling at the creativity and skill of many of the artists who give away their work. Other pieces are made by children, a way to keep them occupied on a…

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Marlborough Magic

Travelling is often synonymous with getting away from it all or venturing to the other side of the planet to see the new, the unfamiliar, or the exotic. However, I would also argue that some of the most eye-opening travel experiences can happen practically in our own backyards when we are willing to look at the familiar in a new…

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MYTHS, LEGENDS, AND LONGLEAT

St. Ignatius of Loyola said, “Give me the child for the first seven years and I will give you the man.” Career coaches use the question “What were your three favourite activities as a child?” to help people focus on finding a job that sparks the same joy as a child at play. The impact of these formative years before…

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A WINTER RETREAT

“We are addicted to busy-ness,” Olivia said as I focused on contorting my body to match the yoga pose that she demonstrated. She wasn’t wrong. Indeed, it was the very reason that MrElaineous and I found ourselves at a yoga and meditation retreat in the Welsh countryside. When I was in the grips of burnout several years ago, we made…

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THE THREE Ms OF GLASTONBURY

Outside of the UK, the word “Glastonbury” is synonymous with music and mud. Within the UK, the definition is pretty similar, with the annual(ish) music festival regularly dominating headlines. Tickets for the 50th anniversary in 2020 recently sold out in under forty minutes, and even I took the time to brainstorm how litter could be reduced at future festivals after…

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BANKING ON IT (PART 1): BARBURY CASTLE

Outside of the UK, the term “bank holiday” is likely to be met with a puzzled expression. Is it a day to celebrate banks? Or a day that they’re closed? Or something completely different? After all, the UK is the country that also gave the world Boxing Day, which has nothing to do with pugilistic endeavours! The reality is the…

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HAMPSTEAD NORREYS. FINALLY.

I have a confession to make. Way back at the turn of the century (i.e. the year 2000), I watched the first series of the American television show Survivor. Little did I know then, but this one programme would give rise to an entirely new genre: reality TV. For me, that one series of Survivor was enough, and I didn’t…

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POSTCARDS FROM LONDON: SUMMER EDITION

I first visited Europe when I was fourteen. This was well before digital cameras were common and full eons before I could even imagine having a camera, phone, and computer combo that fit in my pocket. I borrowed my father’s basic 35mm camera for the trip and, for those who don’t remember a time before digital, that meant I was…

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THE SOUNDS OF SUMMER

I consider Bath a city I know well: my PhD research focused on the Roman Baths; when MrElaineous was just known as Jon, we went on countless dates to the local cinema and Theatre Royal; our first year(ish) of marriage was spent living near Sydney Gardens. So I tend not to play the tourist when visiting, typically going from A to…

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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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THE SWEET TASTE OF TRAVEL

Gallons of ink, both real and virtual, have been spilled extolling the virtues of travel, with quite a few pints by yours truly. Whether described as expanding one’s horizons, sampling new experiences and cultures, or simply part of shaking up a daily routine, it can’t be denied that going to new places can introduce you to things you never imagined…

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A POSTCARD FROM LONDON: SOHO TO MAYFAIR

“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” This much beloved, much overused quote by Samuel Johnson is just as true now as it was two centuries ago. No matter how many times I visit London (and trust me, I visit a lot), I always find something new to see. A recent excursion was no exception.…

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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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THE “OTHER” LAKE DISTRICT

The English Lake District is one of the most visited (and beloved) regions of the country. Located in the northwest county of Cumbria, it is a dramatic landscape of rocky fells, steep valleys, picturesque villages, and, as implied in the name, lakes. It was a favourite haunt of the Romantic poets in the early 19th century, and it became a…

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A BRIEF LOVE LETTER

I sometimes find myself saying “I grew up in Bristol”, which is patently untrue as anyone with half an ear can tell my accent lacks the required West Country twang. But I do consider the city my adopted hometown, and it’s a place that has shaped my life more than most: spending a year as a study abroad student was…

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MissElaineous Travel Blog: Escape, Explore, Discover, Enjoy