On This Day – The Dad’s Army Museum in Thetford

Even though travel restrictions are easing I am not yet minded to risk it so I still have no new stories to post so I continue to go through my picture archives and see where I was on this day at any time in the last few travelling years.

On 3rd August 2018 I was in the Norfolk town of Thetford in East Anglia meeting a sort of hero of mine…

Mainwaring Thetford

I visited the Norfolk town of Thetford a year earlier but didn’t do my research properly and the Dad’s Army Museum wasn’t open.  The simple reason was that it is run by volunteers who, unlike me,  have jobs to go to during the week and only opens on a Saturday so this year I made sure that we went there on the right day.

Dad’s Army was an English situation comedy which was first broadcast in 1968 and fifty years later remains one of the funniest, often repeated and most popular of all BBC programmes.  I am a huge fan and will happily sit through endless reruns of the shows.

Kim is not so keen I have to tell you.

Dad's Army

My plan was to stay in a hotel called the Bell Inn because  the cast of the show used to stay here fifty years ago and I wanted to stay there too.  I hoped I might get lucky and get the very room that Captain Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe) used to sleep in.

Sadly the Bell Inn turned out to be a massive disappointment, yes there was some Dad’s Army mementoes hanging on the walls but the place was a complete dump and the room we were allocated was tired, uncared for and dirty.    A real shame, I was so looking forward to staying there but I had to agree with Kim that it most likely hadn’t been decorated or cleaned since Arthur Lowe himself slept there in the 1960s.  Kim refused to stay and sent me to reception to get a change of room.  I was told that this was not possible so we decided to leave immediately.

005

‘Dad’s Army’ is set during the Second World War and is a story about the British Home Guard which was a amateur defence force army made up of local volunteers otherwise ineligible for military service either because of age (hence the name “Dad’s Army”) or by being in professions exempt from conscription.  Their job was to defend Britain against a German invasion force of Panzer Tanks and battalions of crack Wehrmacht troops. This was most unlikely and is the real basis of the whole series of programmes.

The show called the fictional town they defended Walmington-on-Sea which was said to be on the south coast of England but it was actually filmed in Thetford in East Anglia.

The little museum turned out to be a real treasure store, crammed full of memorabilia relating to the series, pictures, video clips, scrap books, newspaper articles and pictures and photographs of all the stars.  Kim is not such a big fan of Dad’s Army as I am but enjoyed this place just as much as I did.  We stayed longer than expected and then finished with a cup of tea and a cake at the Marigold Tea Room which is a recreation of one of the sets famous from the series.

Mainwaring's OfficeMarigold Tea Rooms

Thankfully the Wehrmacht never invaded!

Believe it or Not Tales – Spooks

Earlier today my blogging pal John in Australia posted a ‘Believe it or Not’ story.  Shamelessly copying his idea here is one of my own about a séance…

Ouija Board

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On This Day – Leyburn and Middleham in Yorkshire

Even though travel restrictions are easing I am not yet minded to risk it so I still have no new stories to post so I continue to go through my picture archives and see where I was on this day at any time in the last few travelling years.

On 1st August 2016 I was in Yorkshire on ‘Yorkshire Day’…

02 Yorkshire

Middleham describes itself as a township, smaller than a town but bigger than a village and it is a very fine place. Less frantic than other towns in Wesleydale but blessed with history and a magnificent castle, almost as big as the town itself. We parked the car and found a pub for lunch called ‘Richard III’.

Richard III was the last Plantagenet and House of York King of England, the last King of England killed in combat, at the battle of Bosworth in 1485, and succeeded by the victorious Henry Tudor of the House of Lancaster.  Before he became King in 1482 he lived for a while in the castle here in Middleham.

Richard III

 

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On This Day – The Greek Island of Symi

Even though travel restrictions are easing I am not yet minded to risk it so I still have no new stories to post so I continue to go through my picture archives and see where I was on this day at any time in the last few travelling years.

On 30 July 2010 I was on the Greek Island of Symi close to Rhodes…

Symi

On arrival in Symi there was no one to meet us, no notes pinned to the door of the room or instructions giving any sort of advice at all on what to do and the phone was not being answered.

It was eleven o’clock and extremely hot and all we could do was sit on the sun terrace, sweat and wait.  Luckily I had a couple of tins of Mythos in the bag so I had to drink them quickly before they heated up in the midday sun and after an hour or so and I had almost recovered from the ordeal of the climb I went all the way back down the steps to get some more and to buy some food for lunch.

Getting back up the steps returned me to my previous state of sweat streaked exhaustion and what I really needed was a cool blast of air conditioning but still the phone remained unanswered and still no one came.

A French guest came and went and told us that usually someone came by at about two o’clock so this meant that we would have an hour or so to wait so we made some lunch and drank some more Mythos and competed with each other for the shade of the wooden  pergola.

Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…

 

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On This Day – On George’s Boat in Corfu

While the current travel restrictions are in place I have no new stories to post so what I thought that I would do is to go through my picture archives and see where I was on this day at any time in the last few travelling years.

On 28th July 1983 I was enjoying a boat ride on the Greek Island of Corfu…

George's boat 1984

This was George’s boat and at mid morning we joined about thirty other holiday makers when we arrived at the untidy concrete quayside opposite the hotel.

We were welcomed on board by George himself, a man with a big smile and a flamboyant sense of humour who worked hard to get us all to enjoy ourselves before casting off and steering the brightly coloured boat with the steady rhythm of its chugging diesel engine away from Corfu and out into the Ionian Sea.

George's Boat Corfu 1984

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On This Day – The Disappearing Coast of Yorkshire

While the current travel restrictions are in place I have no new stories to post so what I thought that I would do is to go through my picture archives and see where I was on this day at any time in the last few travelling years.

On 26th July 2019 I was in Skipsea in Yorkshire just a few miles north of where I live…

Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…

The advance of the sea is relentless.

Every year along the Holderness coast nearly two metres of coastline is swept away, an estimated average of two million tonnes which is moved south on the tides towards the Humber estuary and builds land there where they don’t want it whilst it takes it away from here where they do.

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On This Day – Edinburgh Castle and Lead Soldiers

While the current travel restrictions are in place I have no new stories to post so what I thought that I would do is to go through my picture archives and see where I was on this day at any time in the last few travelling years.

On 24th July 2015 I was in the Scottish Capital City of Edinburgh visiting the castle…

Edinburgh Castle

Even at ten o’clock there was a long queue at the ticket office, sensible people buy their tickets on line and get through quicker but I had failed in this instance to think ahead so I waited in line and shuffled ponderously towards the ticket office like a man with his shoe laces tied together.  I was cheered up however when I got there and noticed that I qualified for a 20% over 60s concession – there are some benefits to getting older but disappointingly the desk clerk didn’t ask me to prove it!

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Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…

 

 

On This Day – Corfu Town and a Boat Ride

The architecture of the town is Venetian; the houses above the old port are built up elegantly into slim tiers with narrow alleys and colonnades running between them; red, yellow, pink, umber – a jumble of pastel shades which the moonlight transforms into a dazzling white city…” – Lawrence Durrell –“Prospero’s Cell”.

While the current travel restrictions are in place I have no new stories to post so what I thought that I would do is to go through my picture archives and see where I was on this day at any time in the last few travelling years.

On 22nd July 2012 I was on the Greek island of Corfu.

Corfu Town 01a

Corfu Town boasts the stateliest of Neoclassical buildings, legacy of the nineteenth century British Protectorate of the Ionian islands.

Earlier during two short spells of Napoleonic occupation the French left their mark. This influence is best seen in the arcaded Liston, a tribute to Rue de Rivoli in Paris and a sun-drenched venue for sipping coffee and people-watching.

Before all this, the Venetians bequeathed all of the Ionian islands a distinctive landscape of Italianate buildings, silver-leafed olive trees and grape-heavy vines.

I am very fond of Corfu.  Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…

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On This Day, Palermo in Sicily

While the current travel restrictions are in place I have no new stories to post so what I thought that I would do is to go through my picture archives and see where I was on this day at any time in the last few travelling years.

On 20th July 2007 I was in the classical Italian City of Palermo in Sicily…

Palerm 10

A couple of years ago I suggested to some regular travelling pals that we should go to Naples in Italy for a few days.  They were horrified by the suggestion because of the city’s reputation as being rather dangerous.  They said that they would prefer to go to Barcelona in Spain even though I pointed out that the Spanish city is the pickpocket capital of Europe and had recently suffered a terrorist attack.

I couldn’t persuade them to reconsider so we travelled to Naples by ourselves.  We thought of ourselves as intrepid adventurers stepping out boldly into a dangerous Italian city.  For us this completed a trio of visits to so-called risky Italian cities because previously we had stayed in Bari in Puglia which enjoys a similar reputation and Palermo in Sicily, the home of the Mafia.

Michael Corleone

I have often wondered where all of these crime stories come from and are they true?  It seems that they are linked to a web of crime syndicates that operate across all of southern Italy.  Sicily has the Cosa Nostra, Naples the Camorra, Calabria has the ‘Ndrangheta and Puglia  the Sacre Corona.

In preparing this post I did a little research and was surprised to find that not one of these cities is in the top ten hazardous places in Italy with the top three spots being taken by Milan, Bologna and Rome all of which are all further north.

I think it is fair to say that a tourist is at more risk from a street pickpocket attack than an organised crime syndicate.

A year later we went to Madrid and my friend, who thought Naples was dangerous, had his wallet stolen in the street.

Click on an image to scroll through the Palermo Gallery…

 

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On This Day, The Greek Island of Tinos

While the current travel restrictions are in place I have no new stories to post so what I thought that I would do is to go through my picture archives and see where I was on this day at any time in the last few travelling years.

On 18th July 2005 I was on the Greek island of Tinos in the Cyclades…

tinos-town-view

“If you’re spending your holidays to the popular Greek party island, hop on a ferry from Mykonos to Tinos and 20 minutes later you’ll arrive at the holy Tinos island. It’s a great chance to have a taste of both sides of Cyclades!  Trust us, you’ll be bewitched by the pristine beauty of Tinos!” – Greek Islands Travel Guide

One of the reasons so many Greeks visit Tinos is that it is an intensely religious island famous most of all for the Church of Panagia Evangelistria which holds a reputedly miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary and is the venue for an annual pilgrimage that is perhaps the most notable religious pilgrimage in all of the eastern Mediterranean.

Many pilgrims make their way half a mile or so from the ferry wharf to the church on their hands and knees as an extreme sign of devotion.

The day I was there was extremely hot and it was hard enough work just walking up the long hill to the church so I imagine that you would have to be seriously determined to do it on all fours, although to be fair there is a ragged strip of dusty red carpet at the edge of the pavement to stop pilgrims ripping their hands and knees to shreds or getting stuck in the melting tarmac.

Tinos Shop 1

 

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