Stoneleigh Abbey – a Glorious Restoration and a Fascinating Historical Tour

We recently made another visit to Stoneleigh Abbey, very near where we live in Warwick: a stately home that has been beautifully restored since it was devastated by fire in 1960. Originally home to an order of Cistercian monks granted land by Henry II in 1145, this later evolved into a gracious seventeenth century residence,Continue reading “Stoneleigh Abbey – a Glorious Restoration and a Fascinating Historical Tour”

Stoneleigh Abbey: A Setting to Inspire Jane Austen for Her Novels

If this be error and upon me proved I never writ nor no man ever loved. Shakespeare:  Sonnet 116 Certainly, among novelists living and working in the centuries following Shakespeare’s outpourings of genius, it can most truly be said of Jane Austen that if anything she wrote be error and upon her proved, then sheContinue reading “Stoneleigh Abbey: A Setting to Inspire Jane Austen for Her Novels”

Hattton Locks, Warwick: The Stairway to Heaven

I have long felt that canals are like a parallel world, a shining ribbon running through our towns and countryside, often hidden from us by lush greenery.  All the haste and anxiety and stress of our frantic, driven lives seems to melt away for those climbing the steps down to, walking alongside, boating on, orContinue reading “Hattton Locks, Warwick: The Stairway to Heaven”

The Throckmortons of Coughton Court, Warwickshire: A Family Forever Linked to those Who Conspired to Murder their King

Approaching Coughton Court, the ancestral seat of the Throckmortons, near Alcester in Warwickshire, we may admire the mellow sandstone sixteenth century house with its dramatic battlemented gatehouse tower and lovely timbered north and south wings. In front is the most exquisitely laid-out garden packed with abundant lavenders. Everything about this house and its surrounding groundsContinue reading “The Throckmortons of Coughton Court, Warwickshire: A Family Forever Linked to those Who Conspired to Murder their King”

Felix Dennis, Eccentric Millionaire Poet – a Man with a Vision for the Future, and Founder of a Great Forest in the Heart of England

In an age of information where we are bombarded with news and facts and false facts and opinions, both genuine and prejudiced,  I find we tend to select our own blind spots, to filter out the onslaught. Which is why, sometimes, although something and somebody can be publicised hugely in innumerable ways, it’s still possibleContinue reading “Felix Dennis, Eccentric Millionaire Poet – a Man with a Vision for the Future, and Founder of a Great Forest in the Heart of England”

The Power of a Picture: the Burton Dasset Hills Country Park, Warwickshire

It’s said that an image is much more powerful than words; which is rather a shame for authors who write books that don’t have any pictures! And so an author’s alternative is to paint a picture with words. Because, as author Isamu Noguchi says, We are a landscape of all we have seen. In myContinue reading “The Power of a Picture: the Burton Dasset Hills Country Park, Warwickshire”

Taste the Spirit of Warwickshire – A Shakespeare-Inspired Spiritual Travel Guide

My proposed new non-fiction book, Spirit of Warwickshire, is currently in the early stages of its journey into the world. Richly illustated with full colour photos by photographer Abigail Robinson, the book contains twenty short pieces about places  in Warwickshire that I love, visit often, and believe to have spiritual presence. I define a placeContinue reading “Taste the Spirit of Warwickshire – A Shakespeare-Inspired Spiritual Travel Guide”

New Book: Spirit of Warwickshire

Now I’ve begun work on my new book Spirit of Warwickshire, here’s a taster of what you’ll find in it. The book, which I plan to release later this year with Luminarie, will contain a selection of articles about places in Warwickshire which I’ve visited and which have spiritual resonance. These will be places whichContinue reading “New Book: Spirit of Warwickshire”

Oxfordshire Place of Inspiration: Castle Inn, Edgehill

A place of inspiration is any place which arouses strong emotions, or perhaps memories, dreams, or reflections. The Castle Inn at Edgehill Oxfordshire is one such place. A tavern was first built in this high location in 1742 – one hundred years after the date of the Battle of Edgehill which took place in the valleyContinue reading “Oxfordshire Place of Inspiration: Castle Inn, Edgehill”

A Visit to the Prinknash Bird and Deer Park, Gloucestershire

What a lovely place the Prinknash Bird and Deer Park is. I was very impressed with it when we visited on Easter Saturday. The park is beautifully landscaped with some enchanting gypsy caravans and playhouses for young children, and the birds and animals are very tame indeed.  A word of warning – do buy theContinue reading “A Visit to the Prinknash Bird and Deer Park, Gloucestershire”