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The garden of Plas Brondanw

I have never before visited a beautiful garden in the middle of a summer’s day and had it all to myself. That was what happened when I stumbled across Plas Brondanw, in North Wales, the beautiful garden created by architect Clough Williams-Ellis, famed for designing the quirky Portmeirion village, which attracts tens of thousands of tourists each year. It was only by chance I learned about...
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Have you climbed Snowdon?

I have just returned from a few sunshine days in Wales and my trip included an ascent up Snowdon – the less strenuous way  with Snowdon Mountain Railway as we had my 83-year-old pa-on-law with us. I was impressed by the scores of determined walkers who trekked to the top, the fittest walking both ways, while others chose either to walk up or down, and take the railway for the other trip. I...
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Socia media advertising event of the year

It’s billed on Facebook as the  “Social Media Advertising London Event of the Year”, and I plan to be there. It is being led by online marketing guru Murray Newlands, who has impressed my blogging mentor Geoff Jones, a Cambridge geek who held one of the first social media conferences ever in the UK in September 2005. And that’s good enough for me. This is what Murray has...
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Flatford Mill and pylons

I was impressed straight away when we set off yesterday from Manningtree Station for our walk to picturesque Flatford Mill in Constable Country as a new single storey car park has been built for commuters since I was last there two years ago, and it was virtually empty. Last time we struggled to find a parking space and cars were sprawled on nearby roads, leaving us no choice but to park on an...
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Forgiveness and Richard McCann

I met Richard McCann this evening and, like the entire audience at Cambridge’s Inspired Business Group, sat mesmerised as he told us his devastating life story and described how he had overcome one major personal catastrophe after another. Being born with ginger hair was another one of life’s challenge he was forced to face, he joked with us to lighten the mood as his story was dark...
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The Hoste Arms and canoeing on the Norfolk Broads

I’m been winding down this week and enjoying some of Norfolk’s stunning locations. I have very happy memories of our family summer holidays spent in Burnham Market in North Norfolk. Those years are now behind me as my independent sons now prefer to spend their carefree days playing golf or with a special girlfriend. So I took my mother there at the weekend and found it hadn’t...
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Glorious Wicken Fen and its Nature Trail

Wicken Fen Nature Trail Plan your trips with EveryTrail Mobile Travel Guides The last time I walked around Wicken Fen a couple of weeks ago I was almost eaten alive by mosquitoes as I had forgotten to wear my Moziban, a mosquito repellent. I swear  by it. I bought my first one from Lakeland several years ago and was delighted with it. Out of the blue, I was sent a refund because it had not been...
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Being the Soham Psychic – a year on

I saw a film on TV with other night about a young boy who kept seeing dead people and it reminded me about the book I was ghost writer for, Being the Soham Psychic, the life story of Dennis McKenzie.One of Dennis’ earliest memories was as a homesick four-year-old boy laying in a hospital bed and being “visited” regularly by a nurse in an old fashioned costume who comforted him....
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Dr Kelly’s death – let’s have an inquest

Not so long ago I saw a chilling TV drama where a detective was drugged and his wrists slashed with a knife to make it appear he had committed suicide. Sometimes fact and fiction are uncannily alike. I am, of course, referring to the apparent suicide of Dr David Kelly, the government’s weapons’ inspector whose body was discovered in a wood seven years ago  An inquiry led by Lord...
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University drop outs and shortage of places

I sympathise with the tens of thousands of disappointed students who are unlikely to secure a university place this year due to unprecedented demand. Like countless other anxious parents,  I am hoping my youngest son will be successful in his application for next year, and the excited anticipation we felt when his elder brother was at this same stage and planning his new life is now clouded...
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David Cameron should not have lost his bottle over free milk

I do not think David Cameron should have given in to the media onslaught and “milk snatcher” headlines over his Public Health Minister, Anne Milton’s, annoucement to scrap free milk for the under-5s, saving the government £50 million. I would have thought it was exactly the kind of cut Cameron was seeking. The Nursery Milk scheme allows children under five in approved day care...
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Labourhome’s libel victory – the full judgement

This is a guest post by barrister James Tumbridge (pic left) with an exclusive report about the official judgement following Labourhome’s libel victory, and the lesson bloggers can learn from it regarding their responsibility for comments which are posted on their sites. Defamation – Any lesson from Labourhome’s misfortune? Following the decision in Kaschke v Gray & Anor (‘the...
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The enormous cost of teenage car insurance

How can you not feel sorry for teenage drivers? As a mum of two teen drivers – the youngest who passed his test only a couple of weeks ago – I can understand why they want to take to the road and enjoy an independent life, especially living in a village like we do. David, my eldest, has just inherited my trusty Honda Max through necessity as his university internship year which...
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River swimming and Matthew Parris’s dip into The Thames

Who doesn’t cherish a dream? Have a plan? A wish list to complete before the body clock passes that looming landmark year? So I salute the courage of Times columnist Matthew Parris who has just made his 15 year dream come true in the run up to his 61st birthday; for him, his great accomplishment was swimming across the murky River Thames, a feat he succumbed to one dark night at 3.35am,...
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