This week… bread and circus

Another odd week in an age of odd times. In addition to the gods’ conspiracy to thwart travel writers with lockdowns, complicated travel guidelines and such-like, now there’s the fuel delivery shortage. After trying around eight stations (I lost count, and almost the will to live, after four) I queued for an hour to fill up. Having expected a wait of a couple of hours I thought that was reasonable (how mad can things get?).

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This week… chimney tops, ration books and guardian angels

Every September heritage houses, museums and other buildings throw open their doors to the public. Entry and tours are free despite the work of many of these organisations being independently funded, so a donation is welcome. The nationwide Heritage Open Days festival closes today and I took the opportunity take a peek behind the scenes over the nine-day event in Winchester. Here’s what I discovered.

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Whistler’s Woman in White: Joanna Hiffernan

If you have never read Wilkie Collins’s novel Woman in White written in1859, I urge you to remedy the situation before you visit a new exhibition opening in February. (So, no excuses, you have plenty of long winter nights to catch up). It is a wonderful Victorian tale of intrigue surrounding a mysterious woman lost in London and dressed entirely in white. A new exhibition at The Royal Academy of Arts also aims to ‘cherchez la femme’, in this case the flame-headed Joanna Hiffernan, through the work of American painter and printmaker, James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834 – 1903).

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This week… pottery, postcards and rats

So, in the UK someone appears to have switched off summer, and in the cold rain temperatures have dropped dramatically. Of course, being British we staunchly hold on to the hope that the sun will come out again before autumn sets in but the mood as I write feels like the dog days of summer. I’m craving a bowl of warming homemade soup (broccoli, pea and pesto, thanks for asking) so there’s definitely a slight shift to the earth’s axis. Ahem.

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This week… Mr MacGregor’s potting shed and rabbits

I continue to enjoy the delights of regional locations with historic sites and glorious English gardens in all their summer finery, right on my doorstep. I’ve had a few wobbles, days when the news was sad, scary or downright frustrating, but on balance I’m still here, scribbling in my online journal with one eye on that light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you for joining me again this week, and I hope you enjoy my latest ramblings and photographs.

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