This week… pumpkins, previews and Philadelphia

If you are one of many who feel dismay at turning the clocks back to give us an extra hour of annus horribilis 2020, just bear in mind that it will take Horological Conservators over 40 hours to adjust Her Majesty’s mechanical clocks this weekend.

This includes 450 of the finest historic timepieces, musical clocks, astronomical clocks, miniature clocks and turret clocks, at Windsor Castle, 600 at Buckingham Palace and 50 at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. I’ll never complain again about faffing with the kitchen clock, the digital bedside piece and the clock in the car, the latter often left rebeliously one hour behind for months.

‘Out and about’

A press briefing on tourism with the Italian Ambassador and Sir Rocco Forte (the latter seemingly suffering from Zoom fatigue).

Zoom attendances this week included a press briefing for 2021 by the Italian Tourist Board and a preview of a new exhibition Ray Harryhausen: Titan of Cinema at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art which opened this weekend (review out this week).

L to R: Vanessa Harryhausen with models by Ray Harryhausen. Ray Harryhausen with one of the famous skeleton models. Photos The Ray & Diana Harryhausen Foundation.

Survive and thrive

The Arctic has been home to some of the most resilient cultures on the planet for almost 30,000 years. It takes particular ingenuity and perseverance to not only survive but thrive, in this dramatic environment. Climate change is especially demanding on its 400,000 Indigenous Peoples. Arctic: Culture and Climate exhibition opened this week at the British Museum and my review went live at Travel Begins At 40.

Arctic: Climate and Culture, The British Museum.

Día de Muertos

This coming week is National Pumpkin Day (Monday 26 October) in the UK and Halloween, an annual festival marked around the world in different ways. It originates from the Western Christian All Hallows’ Eve, a time to remember those who have died, although many traditions have ancient Celtic roots. Growing up, Harvest Festival was a significant celebration too at this time of year and marked the end of the summer bounty, and a start of the more frugal winter. Not to put a damper on it, the whole season feels particularly poignant this year. Traditions are important and reassuring, connecting us to the past and providing hope for the future. I find the English winters a challenge but take pleasure in the rituals of putting away lighter clothes in favour of warm sweaters. The aromas from a rich casserole cooking slowly in the oven is a joy and curling up on the sofa with a good novel when the rain – or worse snow – falls endlessly outside is one of the best ways to spend a freezing cold afternoon.

Día de Muertos. The Mexican Tourist Board stand at WTM 2019.

Mexico’s annual Day of the Dead celebrations take place on 1 and 2 November. A significant cultural holiday, underpinned by the ancient religious traditions of Mesoamerica’s indigenous population, Día de Muertos is an affirmation of life with celebrations focusing on loved ones, past and present. The national holiday is inscribed in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

NIZUC Resort & Spa located in the protected mangroves amidst lush foliage, and facing the white sands of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, is encouraging virtual participation by sharing everything you need to celebrate Día de Muertos at home. Learn how to make a Flor de Cempasuchil or Mexican marigold, an important symbol associated with the sun and rebirth; enjoy a Spotify playlist of traditional and modern music; cocktail tutorials; a cooking demonstration of a traditional Pan de Muertos, a delicious loaf of sweet bread coated in sugar; and a Calavera Catrina make up tutorial. Materials will be available from 26 October at NIZUC’s Instagram page and IGTV, on Facebook #DíadeMuertosNIZUC.

Philadelphia: Unexpected & Eerie Experiences

Pumpkins and gourds, not just for carving lanterns but good to eat too!

Explore spooky experiences LIVE from Philadelphia on their Facebook page including: A spooky graveyard tour of Philadelphia’s Laurel Hill Cemetery (27 October); an Art in the Age cocktail demonstration featuring two cocktail recipes and one mocktail masterclass (28 October); and A Ghost Tour of Philadelphia’s Historic District (29 October). Check in at the Discover Philadelphia page at Facebook.com/discoverPHL at 5pm GMT, on those dates for an exclusive experience.

Trick or Treat

In-room Trick or Treat at Treehouse Hotels.

Have your own private Halloween holiday at the Treehouse Hotel in London with a special Trick or Treet package, offering an in-room cocktail making kit and sweet delvilish treats, with a spooky sleepover. Treehouse rooms are perched high in the city skyline and feature big bay windows that look out to some of London’s most iconic landmarks. Pumpkin carving will be available at The Nest, and you can then adorn your room with your own creation. The Halloween package is from £100. All guests are entered in a lucky dip, with the potential to win further tricks or treats during their stay. 

Escape the everyday

Sting Rays in the Cayman Islands.

Although borders remain closed to commercial airlift and cruise traffic at this time, digital nomads can upgrade their home offices by choosing to live and work remotely in the Cayman Islands for up to two years by applying for a Global Citizen Certificate. Make the change from your usual 9 to 5 scenery and lifestyle by living the dream life in the Caribbean, beginning the day with a stroll along Seven Mile Beach, snorkelling with stingrays in the clear waters of the Caribbean during your lunch break and being home in time for dinner without the usual commute.

Facilitated by the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism (CIDOT) in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism and supporting government departments, the GCCP will provide the highest standard of personalised service for long-term guests and global citizens from arrival to departure.

In my inbox

Food and drink hamper featuring small, owner-run producers by Tom Savano Cocktails.

British start-up James Kerslake of Tom Savano Cocktails a young company featured in the Hashtagtravelling monthly interview series a little while ago. James has teemed up with other small, owner-run food producers on a festive gift campaign in support of charity. I love receiving a hamper, the surprise of new foods to try and maybe some of your favourite treats. That this one also supports small businesses is a significant bonus. All profits raised from the special range of Christmas food and drink hampers will go to the Trussell Trust. #SaveChristmas


That’s it for this week. Happy Day of the Dead or Halloween and I hope you have a peaceful and safe week.


As always please check the Foreign travel advice web site for the latest on domestic and international travel guidelines.

Unless otherwise stated, I have no affiliation with the brands mentioned but simply aim to share places and products that have caught my eye. I will always state if a post is sponsored or gifted.

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