Sir Ian Botham’s big 60th birthday bash at Wormsley cricket ground, Buckinghamshire

The ripple of applause as the new batsman strolls out to take guard at the crease. The rustle of a picnicker frantically searching his hamper for that last sausage roll. The relaxing drone of the urn, heating water for another round of teas. The thwack of leather on willow as the former England cricketer they call “Rhino”, Darren Gough, scores another massive six off the bowling of Australia’s retired Test great Glenn McGrath.… Read more

Beer, tea and tug of war at Soberton Fete, Hampshire

I might be showing my age here, but is there anything better than a village fete on a warm and sunny summer’s day?

OK, maybe there is. But there aren’t many other places where you get to drink tea and beer in the same sitting, bowl for a pig, watch a tug of war tournament (which used to be an Olympic sport don’t you know), get your face painted and eat endless cakes and scones.… Read more

Cycling through Valencia’s Jardin del Turia

Valencia is a great place to cycle. It’s pretty flat, the roads are relatively quiet (especially the back streets), there’s a network of segregated cycle paths and pedestrians seem happy enough to share the pavements with cyclists. Plus, you can hire a bike for around £6 a day.

We hired bikes on our second full day in the city. This was so we could cycle down to L’Oceanografic (oceanarium), which is part of the City of Arts and Sciences complex near the port.… Read more

In search of elderflower near Cheriton, Hampshire

Every year around this time, Tiff and I make a few batches of elderflower cordial to drink over the summer.

Elderflower seemingly pops up everywhere in late May and early June. Yet we always struggle to find any in a good spot – on a public right of way, easily accessible (not too high up!) and away from traffic fumes.

One reason for this is that the elder tree is inconspicuous for most of the year – only when it’s in blossom or in fruit is it easy to find.… Read more

A sunny evening stroll around Shaftesbury, Dorset

On Sunday evening, we stopped off for a short while in Shaftesbury on the Dorset/Wiltshire border to take Tilly for a little walk.

We parked in the town’s main car park as the day’s last tourists were jumping on their chartered coaches to head home. Then we made our way through the town, which was bathed in long shadows caused by the rapidly decending sun.… Read more

Hiring a beach hut in Charmouth, Dorset

My mum decided that she didn’t want a big party for her 60th birthday. So we decided to hire a beach hut in Charmouth in east Dorset for the day on the Whitsun bank holiday Monday.

Tiff and I had been to the Common People festival in Southampton on the Saturday, so we decided to get up relatively early to drive down to Charmouth on Monday morning, rather than stay at my parent’s house in Sherborne and go from there.… Read more