Looking Around Lichfield

A few weeks ago, we took a “staycation” and ended up doing more sightseeing and exploring than we have done on many trips to far more distant locales. It was fabulous. I’ll be writing it all up (been slack on that, I know) but in the meantime, a summation of our day trip to Lichfield, Staffordshire, UK. That’s without a “t” for those of you who might confuse it with Litchfield, CT.

It was as lovely as I had heard it would be. The people were delightful, the cathedral impressive and full of helpful guides, the streets and sidewalks almost bizarrely tidy and we experienced what may have been the world’s greatest chips at Pom’s Kitchen & Deli.

Until I get a chance to go into more detail, have some pics from one of the lovelier days (all pics courtesy of and belong to dungeekin, Modern Parlance’s fave photog)

Brooklyn Bridge Bites

Last September (2015), dungeekin and I headed to Brooklyn from Manhattan (walking as the weather was fine) and what emerged was a whole different view of this iconic bridge. So many messages …

Vintage Lover’s Guide to Banbury

alice_chess_blogIf you are one of the many people who love vintage décor, collectibles, clothes, and accessories – then Banbury and its surrounding villages are the place for you!

The Vintage Lover’s Guide to Banbury, the Banbury blog post that was on this page has now moved to its new home on The Banburian, a site devoted to exploring Banbury and the surrounding areas. Other posts about shopping in Banbury on The Banburian include:

Book Mad in Banbury


Banbury PhoneBox Library – a Little Free Library of sorts which started out unofficially and ended up being done up properly and making the news.

I’ve been book mad a long time, long before I moved to Banbury. When we were house hunting, one of my criteria (and I didn’t have many) was that where ever we ended up, it have a bookstore.

After all, I was moving from Manhattan – land of The Strand (and especially their Central Park Stalls), Housing Works Bookstore, McNally Jackson, – not to mention Mysterious Bookshop, the late lamented Murder Ink and the even more lamented Endicott. I couldn’t go cold turkey.

We ended up in Banbury for a number of really excellent reasons – and while it was not the deciding factor, I am happy to report than Banbury is awash in places for me to feed my book habit.

Read more about what I found, including books swaps, arket stalls, used book stores and charity shops full of titles to feed my habit … Book Mad in Banbury


Spring Shopping in Banbury

There are many signs of Spring in Banbury. The sun shines more often, daffodils are swaying in the breeze, a few bees start buzzing around. It all brought me out to shop and browse.


The plant and garden stall at the Banbury Market was a veritable riot of colour

It was Market Day so I made a point, as I always do of browsing among the stalls – then had some lunch, did a bit more browsing and a spot of shopping.  This is great for the local economy and a bit hard on my wallet. But only a bit since I have to say – Banbury’s independent shops did right by me this week. From the handbags, to the repair, to the pins – bargains all around. Wanna know what else I saw and what I ended up hauling home? Check out Spring Shopping in more detail over on the Banburian.

Museum News from the Banbury Area

It’s all happening at museums in the Banbury area lately (and as a museum-lover, this pleases me).

To find out more, head over to The Banburian and see all the Museum news for the Banbury area.

Banbury: Who’s Riding to Which Cross?

Tell someone you live in Banbury & they’ll start reciting:

Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross,
To see a fine lady upon a white horse;
Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
And she shall have music wherever she goes.

Considering how well-known that little ditty is you’d think we’d know a lot about its origins but we don’t. We don’t know

  • which cross they are talking about
  • who the woman riding to that cross
  • how many versions of the rhyme there are
  • when the rhyme first showed up
  • what they meant by cock-horse
  • how the frog fits in

The answers to these mysteries (or at least my best guess in some cases), is to be found in Who’s Riding to What Cross over on The Banburian.

The Fine Lady's bell-adorned toes. Photo by dungeekin.

The Fine Lady’s bell-adorned toes. But who is the lady? —  Photo by dungeekin.


BOO! Haunted Banbury

It’s Halloween and while I know you’re probably madly rushing around putting finishing touches on costumes or exerting massive self-control to keep from eating all that candy you’ve purchased, let’s take a minute for a ghost story – or two! Ghost are always fun and Banbury has two that I know of.


As if having hidden staircases and priest holes weren’t enough, Whatley Hall has a GHOST! Yes, the ghost of Father Bernard. Though having a ghost pop out at you is no doubt a shock, Father Bernard is not supposed to be especially scary. He is said to hum, chuckle and smile as he moves briskly about the place, usually on the stairs or in the garden.


The ghost at Ye Olde Reindeer Inn is a Cavalier (which fits in nicely with the history of the place). The ghost is reported to appear, complete with plumed hat and lace ruffles, both on the upper floors and in the Globe Room. No word on whether he is as jolly as Father Bernard.

I’ve put together a few more details on these buildings and their spectral residents over on The Banburian’s Haunted Banbury post. If you’re interested in what else I found out about Banbury’s history – of a less spectral nature – you should check out my piece on Local History Is Awesome called “Banbury’s History of Prudes, Drunkards and Murderers.” It’s not all mayhem though – it also touches up a bit of culinary history of Banbury cakes and cheese.

Summer in Brittany

We wandered over to Britanny – lounged about, saw Benodet, Quimper, Oceanopolis Aquarium in Brest and Parc Branfere, did more lounging. Many pictures were taken (dungeekin was a camera fiend and all these pictures are courtesy of and belong to him) but these are some of my favourites.


Chocolate Cherries, Quimper


Beach Huts


Holiday Ice Cream


Shared Solitude

Banbury’s Independent (Shop) Spirit

The weather was too nice to stay inside today so I went out along the canal into town – took some pics, made some purchases along the way and shared it all over on The Banburian.

One of the things we like best about Banbury is that while it is well-supplied with the usual big name chains, there are also a great many independent shops – and offering a wide range of goods. What this means is that yes, I can go and pick up my contacts at Boots, or check out the sales at Debenhams but I can also treat myself (and others) to “won’t see everywhere else” handbags, toys, gifts and books, etc. I love Banbury’s Independent Shop Spirit.