Home » Blog (All Posts) » Events

Category: Events

Weekend Away on a Victorian-Era Sailing Ship

You know me, I love anything Victorian/Edwardian – and I love anything boat/water related…  So, this weekend I combined those two passions and spent the entire weekend away on “Pilgrim”, a glorious small tall ship that was built in 1895!

Walking along beside Brixham Harbour, it is wonderful to ponder what life was like here when the Pilgrim was first launched…

She is the one on the far right…

…and as soon as I was safely on board, I turned off my cell phone and didn’t turn it back on again until Monday morning…

Here is more background information on “Pilgrim”:  http://www.classic-sailing.co.uk/pilgrim-brixham-sailing-trawler

 

While she may be Victorian in age, the contents of her chart room are definitely not…

Our Skipper, Brendan in the yellow jacket…

…and this is one of my new absolutely favorite people, John.

As the sun began to set, it was time to tack and head into the mouth of the River Dart, otherwise known as Dartmouth, for safe mooring for the night…

I love watching as the lights all start to come on and twinkle…

Since someone was already moored where we were supposed to be, we simply grabbed a mid-river bouy and secured for the evening…

Just as you call a taxi on land, so too do we call a taxi on the water…

…and we say farewell to Bob…

…and thanks to Chris and Sarah for the lovely bottle of wine (birthday present) that was just perfect for this voyage… and then a wonderful and surprisingly comfortable night’s sleep…

Morning was magnificent, misty, chilly…  It was glorious watching Dartmouth and Kingswear wake up and come alive…

Historic Royal Dartmouth College…

This fellow rowed across the river…

…perhaps headed to work…

 

 

Another water taxi and our Skipper abandons ship to go in search of two new passengers who were to join us for the return voyage… however they were a no-show (but since the clock changed for daylight-saving time, we later worried they may have been there an hour earlier…)

Breakfast of champions…

…and now headed back out the River Dart for the English Channel…

It is so sad to see this little cottage falling apart…

…Dartmouth Castle…

…and another look at my little friend…

 

 

There is something very quirky of taking a photo of someone who is taking a photo of you!  🙂

WWII gun placement and watch tower…

Such a fabulous group of people!  I felt so incredibly honoured to not only take this journey, but to share it with such a lovely men.

France is that-a-way…

…back in Brixham…

…and here is a collection of short videos from the trip…

If you would like more information, here is the website:  http://www.classic-sailing.co.uk

Thank you to everyone…

~ Bella

Champagne Reception at Downton Abbey

After a lovely night in Derbyshire, I set out under a veeeery strange sky toward Highclere Castle, home of the famous Downton Abbey.

The sun was an eerie red colour through the clouds – and at one point, the whole sky turned an unusual colour – well, unusual for the sky, anyway…

…but I eventually made it safe and sound to my destination of the Carnarvon Arms.  Built by Lord Carnarvon (I don’t recall which one) as a coach house, this place is quite lovely and the staff are excellent and ever so friendly…

…and the food was superb!

So, it’s time to head off in our finest attire to Highclere Castle for a charity champagne reception hosted by Lord and Lady Carnarvon, and with David Robb (who played the doctor in Downton Abbey and is such a lovely man in person) in attendance.

Although no photos were permitted inside, we largely had free run of much of the main rooms in the castle, as well as visiting the extraordinary Egyptian exhibit in the bowels of the building.

In case you are not aware, it was the fifth Lord Carnarvon who, along with Howard Carter, discovered King Tut’s tomb – and many of the antiquities are still at Highclere Castle.

It is extraordinary to look at some of the jewellery and consider that thousands of years ago, that was being worn by a real life, flesh and blood, breathing person – someone just like us – but literally thousands of years ago…  What were they thinking as they put on the artifact?  What thoughts occupied their daily lives?  What were their dreams?

If you have read / are reading Bridgit’s story (my Quantum Lace series), you know that she uses personal touchstones including jewellery as her vibrational links (and if you have no idea what I am talking about, you’ll just have to read the book!) – and I wonder what she would have made of these items…

We have to thank the current Lord Carnarvon, a very lovely gentleman, for having the foresight to take all of the artifacts and put them together into such a fascinating exhibit.

Carriages were at 9:00pm and I then came together for wine with two new friends – Ginger from America and Naomi from Japan, both of whom were visiting England.  We were especially impressed by Naomi who, with very little English, was travelling by herself on a ten-day tour.

…then off to a glorious slumber in a huge bed fit for a princess.

~ Bella

My Horse-Drawn Journey back to the 1890s

Anyone who knows me knows that I am very much a Victorian/Edwardian girl at heart – complete with a wardrobe to match!  So, when I heard about the opportunity to ride in an authentic and historic 1800s carriage, recreating a nostalgic journey in the actual coach, the ‘Tantivy’, that last travelled the same route in 1895, 122 years ago – I was in raptures!

After getting up when the sparrows were still in their jammies and the sun hadn’t yet peeked over the horizon, Prince (my trusty convertible) and I headed on a long drive north to the starting point for my part of the journey, the beautiful Greyhound Hotel, built in 1778, and now run by the lovely Paul and Tina who took such good care of me (I stayed the night there).  (Here is some history about the hotel)

…and some very rare photographs of yours truly – as you know, I much prefer to be behind the camera these days!

…one lady was fascinated by the back of my jacket…

The trumpeter signalled the arrival of the carriage…

(these people were on the first leg of the journey – I was about to embark on the second)

Btw, I’m not certain about this (and didn’t think to ask at the time) but I am pretty sure that different coaches had different tunes that would be played…

Here is an excellent article about the whole event:  http://www.derbyshirelife.co.uk/out-about/events/the-return-of-the-tantivy-recreating-a-nostalgic-journey-from-belper-to-cromford-1-5223492?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social_Icon&utm_campaign=in_article_social_icons

…and complete with BBC coverage of the event…

Once everyone had disembarked, we headed inside for a delicious lunch…

(photo on the wall of an earlier journey)

Two of my new favourite men…

This couple (below) were so lovely and recently married…

…and we are off…

The Derbyshire countryside is astoundingly beautiful!  It is the first place since I fell in love with South Devon that I could happily be ‘planted’ (as long as it was near water of some description – even if just a river!).

We were overtaken by a cyclist…

Very useful little spot for bag and umbrella!

The sun shining through the clouds was majestic!

Somehow I don’t think we were going fast enough to worry a helicopter…

Our wonderful photographer always racing ahead of us – he did an excellent job…

…but we definitely felt sorry for him when he dropped his phone mid-sprint…

…and safely arrived at our destination, the lovely Lion Hotel

Early dinner with lovely new friends…

…and then back to the Greyhound to change…

…and back to the Lion for wonderful local music…

Breakfast the next morning…

…and then I was off on my next adventure…

What a magnificently lovely day!  This was indeed one of the best days ever…

~ Bella

 

Q&A with the author of the “Victoria” mini-series

After travelling from Torquay by rail to Paddington Station (and by the way – there is a new Paddington Bear book that I was excited to read until I discovered, as one newspaper put it, “Paddington Bear will encounter migrants, electronic tagging, and ‘elf ‘n’ safety laws in a brand new story”… Ah, thank you, no) – I then took an iconic London Black Cab to my lovely hotel, where I was greeted by a doorman wearing a top hat…

The reason for this London trip?

A members-only Q&A with Daisy Goodwin, one of my favourite authors and the author of the mini-series, “Victoria”.

It wasn’t really the place for photos so instead here are a couple of stock photos to give you an idea…

First, as the event was in the evening after closing time at Kensington Palace, it was admittance through a private gate (not quite as an illustrious gate as this below), then driving past the residence of Prince William and Princess Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge…

…and for the event itself that began with hors de’oeuvres and a lovely crisp white wine, it was off to the magnificent Orangery, built in the early 1700s for Queen Anne…

Hosted by Lucy Worsley, another of my favourites and Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces…

…what I didn’t know was that Daisy Goodwin was once Lucy Worsley’s boss!

The event was extremely interesting and Bridgit was encouraged that my question to Daisy Goodwin related specifically to her transition from books to screen…

Also in attendance were several of the actors, including Jenna Coleman who plays Queen Victoria.

View as we were leaving…

Back now in my lovely hotel and tomorrow going first-class rail for the four-hour journey back to Torquay – but thankfully we have a direct line from Paddington Station so there are no transfers or changing trains between here and there…

I may not have seen much of London on this trip, but every time I come here I love it!  I wouldn’t want to live here, but I adore visiting London…

~ Bella

PS:  view from inside the train carriage on the way home…

…and Paddington Station…

 

Best Birthday Ever…

This year, I had the absolute best birthday ever!

Starting last Sunday with Goodwood, then on my actual birthday Gillian and her daughter Ellie took me out for brunch – it was soooooo lovely and delicious!

…then cruising on one of the last horse-drawn canal boat at Tiverton… followed by a boat trip over to Brixham… then a truly glorious evening at the Imperial Hotel with friends and family…

…this man below is named Paul and not only was he friends with John, Gillian and Michael, but Paul also played for me a Gershwin medley for my birthday!  I felt ever so honoured and special…

What a truly lovely evening!

Then the next day, we went exploring to Port Isaac, where the television series “Doc Martin” is filmed…

All in all, the most magical birthday EVER!

Thank you to everyone who helped me celebrate…  I love you all so very, very much…

~ Bella xxx

Classic Car Racing at Goodwood

Goodwood Revival

There are a handful of experiences one has that are so wonderful, there are simply not enough superlatives to describe them – the Goodwood Revival was such an experience!

This was one of the best days I have ever had – ever!

So, what is the Goodwood Revival?  Read below…

When I left Torquay, this was the view from my door – a perfect start to the day!

…and each time I drive this route, the incredible gift of being able to pass so close to Stonehenge is never lost on me.  Visiting the monument had been on my Bucket List since I was a child and now, in addition to having visited it up close, I drive past it once a month or so…  Amazing.

…and speaking of Bucket Lists, I have checked off several things on mine over the past two weekends so need to go back and note them as such on my list.

After checking in to a hotel the night before, for the Goodwood Revival, I treated myself for my birthday (it is this week) to the full VIP treatment – starting with bypassing the crowds and public car parks and having private parking at the Goodwood Hotel.

…and I met up with one of my dearest friends who came over from Hastings for the event to help me celebrate my birthday – Karen and I started the day by meeting for breakfast at 7:30am…

Then it is off to the event… courtesy of being chauffeured in a vintage car!  (the first of many this day)

This Mercedes (below) was our first form of transport.  The vehicle was purchased new by this man’s parents.

…and we were deposited at one of the entrance gates… where a man came up to us and thought I was someone famous but he couldn’t remember her name…

…before changing to a different type of chauffeur…  See the buggies below?  That was to be our next form of transport!

What was interesting and quite lovely, was that Karen and I agreed, we already felt as though we had experienced a whole day’s worth of fun and adventure, and we had barely made it through the gates at that point!  …and the day only continued to get better!

…and here (below) is our chauffeur – and he was wonderful!  Not only chauffeuring us around the grounds, but also running errands…  We felt like royalty.

…and we were perched on the back…

By this stage of the day, my cheeks were sore from smiling soooooooo brightly!!!

There was sooooooo much to see and do, we have already decided that next year we are doing the entire weekend, not just one day – and VIP all the way, of course!

Up, up and away!

Our first destination?  Past all the vintage aircraft for our helicopter ride!

This was the departures lounge…

…and our next form of transport – Willy’s Jeeps from the lounge to the helipad area…

The entire team at Elite Helicopters were wonderful – as was everyone we encountered!

Some go-go juice for our chopper…

…and we are up!!!

This was the onsite camping…

What a fabulous experience!!!  This was my first helicopter flight (another check off the Bucket List) and I loved every minute of it!  I want one!  🙂

…and our chauffeur was there to collect us when we landed…

I love private access!

Ref photo below, remember, we are shooting from the back of the vehicle – they are now closing the gates behind us after we have gone through…

We had ever so many people turning around to look at us, chatting with us, laughing with us…  We felt like local celebrities!

Our buggy chauffeur dropped us back to change vehicles yet again – heading back to the Goodwood Hotel for a special VIP chef’s lunch…  This, below, was our next mode of transport…

You know you’re in England when you see a sign that says…

Oh, and here is a shot of some of my accessories I was wearing on the day, complete with flared skirt and tailored jacket with frill to match umbrella…

…and then back to the event via a new limousine.

…and then it was off to the track to watch the racing!

It was SO exciting!

…the noise was incredible – and nothing like modern racing…  I loved it – and the smell of racing fuel!

It was so sad – this car and another one had been going back and forth with first place for ages – but then his car caught on fire…

…and as the rain was about to set in, we decided to call it a day…

This collection (below) looked like a handful of M&Ms…

…and our final chauffeur in a vehicle that was unknown to me – a Jowett (British made during the 1920s and 30s)…

Then in to my final mode of transport – my glorious convertible I just bought a couple of weeks ago.  His name is Prince and I love him!

It was lovely leaving the Goodwood Estate, to still see a variety of classic vehicles, including this one (below) with Ohio plates…

…and if you would like to join me next year, here is the link to get notification when tickets go on sale…

All in all, this was truly an incredible experience!

It was honestly one of the very best days of my life…

…and a huge “thank you” to Karen for coming over to share it with me.

~ Bella

 

Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace

No sooner did I pick up the keys to my beautiful apartment, I dropped my luggage, repacked, and was off across the country…

First stop after an overnight rest-break part-way, was collecting the car I just bought – a black Volvo C70 convertible, with black leather interior and wood trim – he’s just lovely and I have named him Prince after a beautiful black Shire horse I love.  It was funny that while I was at the car yard, a couple was also there who lived only 10 minutes away from my place in Charleston, South Carolina, at the same time I lived there several years ago – and they also now spend six months of the year in England.

Then Prince and I headed down to Hampton Court and checked into a glorious suite complete with private balcony in an historic hotel, immediately across the road from the Palace.

Dating back in parts to 1665 and located on the Thames, The Mitre Hotel originally served as lodging for courtiers who could not be accommodated at Hampton Court Palace opposite.

…and the final destination for my journey…

The magnificent Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace.

My welcome kit for the Concours…  I decided to go all out and purchased a full VIP package that gave me access to the Owners tents etc…

Across the road to the gates of Hampton Court Palace…

…and if you are not up on your history, Hampton Court Palace was originally built for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, who was at the time a favourite of King Henry VIII. In 1529, Wolsey fell from favour and Henry VIII seized the palace for himself.

From this angle, it looks like she is hitting him on the head with the jug!

What an incredible ceiling!  (below)

Through these doors is heaven…………

With literally hundreds of millions of dollars worth of classic and historic vehicles on display, I felt so incredibly privileged and honoured to be there.

There were film crews from all over the world…

Relaxing for a while in the Owners’ Enclosure (one of the VIP perks) and enjoying a cup of tea, I met several owners and had some wonderful conversations – including what it takes to ship such a vehicle internationally.

This man (below) looks like he is praying… perhaps for one to be delivered for Christmas…

British fashion is unmissable…

…and even with such magnificence on display, this crew from Europe were still glued to their phones…

This lovely example below was awarded “Best In Show”…

Unfortunately, my body was in too much pain to stay for the entire day but I am still glad I went for the time I could.  So, then it was back through the Palace and back to the hotel…

…and so now I am curled up resting and watching the Burghley Horse Trials on the enormous television in my suite.

Sending love and smiles to all…

~ Bella

PS:  am now watching a program about auctions that deal with this level of vehicle, and for one car, the bids are going up by 1 million Euro per bid!  The car was magnificent and eventually sold for $$18 million.

Sligo Rally

Welcome to the Connacht Motor Club Sligo Rally!

I caught up with a friend today and we went to Riverstown Folk Park for what is known as a regroup halt – essentially a short rest-stop during the Sligo Stages Rally.

After a wonderful fill of motor fuel fumes, we headed to Sandhill for lunch…

All in all, a fabulous day!

Oh, and yesterday I went wandering but there wasn’t enough in my wandering to warrant a separate post, so here are my photos…

Wishing you a most blessed Sunday!

~ Bella

Romanian Day of the National Flag

I awoke this morning to the sound of a PA system being set up and tested downstairs and then when, about an hour or so later, I heard drums I thought I would go and investigate…

It turns out today, June 26th, is The Day of the National Flag here in Romania.

Romanians are quite big into celebrating – and the military is no exception.  Here is the Military Celebration Calendar just for June and July:

June 10 – The Day of the Military Paratroopers
On June 10, 1941 by the Order D.M. 93/1941 the first Paratroopers sub-unit was established – the Company of Special Missions– commanded by Lieutenant Stefan Soverth.

June 18 – The Day of the Military Builders
On June 18, 1920 they established the Directorate of Buildings and Military Domains.

June 26 – The Day of the National Flag
The National Flag Day was established by Law No. 96/1998, to be held annually on June 26. The Ministry of National Defence and the Ministry of the Interior organize military ceremonies in units across the country while public authorities and other civil institutions celebrate the day through various festive activities.

July 1 – The Day of the Military Bands
As provided by the “Organic regulations” of 1/13 July 1831, “musician soldiers” (a band comprising 1 drum, 24 musicians and 8 drummers) became part of and started their service in the Permanent National Army.

July 13 – The Day of the Military Speciality “Electronic Warfare”

July 14 – The Day of the Military Communications
On July 14, 1873 was established the first Communications sub-unit – the Telegraphy Section, marking the beginning of the Military Communications

July 15 – The Day of the Military Submarine Men

July 20 – The Day of Aviation and the Air Force, the Orthodox celebration of Saint Elijah the Thunderer.

July 23The Day of the Military Press
The first issue of the “Observatorul militar” weekly appeared on July 23, 1859.

July 25The Day of the Radiolocation
By the National Defence Minister’s Order of July 25, 1955 the Radio-Technical Troops was established.

July 26The Day of the Military Archives
On July 26, 1920 by Order no. 4 of the General Staff, the Archives of the 6th History Section of the General Staff was established.

July 29 – The Day of the National Anthem
The Day of the National Anthem was established by Law No. 99/1998 to be celebrated every year on July 29.

…and now back to work…

~ Bella