12 June, 2010


A visit to Esher in Surrey, although I didn't go to the races at Sandown Park. I hadn't intended to set off for Esher but that's where I ended up. I intended to go to Weybridge but when I got off the train at Surbiton there was a bus waiting to take me to Esher, so that's where I went. Travelling through Hinchley Wood, which has the distinction of being 49 in the book 'Crap Towns' . This book says that Hinchley Wood 'sucks the life out of you like a mock tudor vampire' so I didn't stay to test it.

Esher is a bit different. It has some genuine old stuff as well as the racecourse with its 16th century church of St George in the care of the churches conservation trust

This little church has a family pew for the Earls of newcastle accessible only from outside the church, but with a fireplace in each of the two pews. There was also an art exhibition in the church when I called. Queen Victoria worshipped here when she was a girl.

There is a grotty grotto on the Portsmouth Road

opposite the Town Hall

The real village church built on the green is Victorian.

05 June, 2010


Mr Pooter (the Diary of a Nobody) liked to spend his holidays in Broadstairs, as did Charles Dickens. One assumes that by Mr Pooter's day it was somewhat unfashionable and that if Mr Pooter liked it then there was something wrong with it. I think I can go along with that. The town certainly makes a little Dickens go a long way with plaques and busts all over the place although the main bust at Bleak House (that Dickens would have called Fort House) was covered with scaffolding when I saw it.
Never the less, it is a seaside resort with a lifeboat station dating from the 17th Century adorned with figure heads salvaged from ships.
Strolling around the bays was pleasant, even on a really busy Saturday although the crowd was rather chavvy as is often the case in Kent.

The hospitality industry also needs to learn a thing or two. Most people don't carry much cash these days and when a pub (named after the town's most famous visitor) sets a £20 limit for credit card purchases it is decidedly Pooterish!

04 June, 2010

Another visit to the Chilterns - the Chilterns Open Air Museum

Another Metropolitan Line ride, this time to Chorleywood and the Chilterns Open Air Museum. Arriving at Chorleywood with the right OS Map this time I set out to walk to the museum, it should have been about two miles by my navigating skills. Unfortunately I got a bit lost because the map was unclear. Never mind it was a beautiful day for a walk in the country. I eventually found the museum which contained all kinds of buildings salvaged from the chilterns and the environs, including a public lavatory from Caversham (they don't make them like that any more) a mission hall made of corrugated iron made by Boulton and Paul and a prefab from Amersham furnished with utility furniture.

There were other buildings too, a lot of farm buildings and a toll collector's cottage with office for collecting tolls and living accommodation (Kitchen, Bedroom, wash house and earth closet) although not very much of it.

The museum was pleasant with woodland walks and an iron age house that had been built from scratch.

I walked back to the station taking a slightly different route, the one I should have used going there which was in the shade of the Woodland Trust's Phillips Hill Wood.

03 June, 2010


A short holiday in Hampshire including Romsey and Winchester. Many thanks to R & J for kind hospitality!

Here is a Hampshire hog and a sculpture of King Alfred, both in Winchester.

Southampton's Ocean Village was a trendy spot to go during my college days although it never really took off, and has now died somewhat. Previously the terminal building for sea crossings, it is now a coffee shop. The lightship from Calshot Spit looks a little decrepit and forlorn.