Bonjour, Barfleur!

During a recent location research visit to Normandy Kathy and I visited the lovely little coastal village of Barfleur in northwestern France. It’s not far from Cherbourg and well worth a side trip! And as well as one thousand years and more of history there are some wonderful eateries featuring its famous mussels, Blonde de Barfleur, which connoisseurs rate very highly.

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UK’s largest zoo extension opens – Eight years of work by Barton Willmore comes to fruition


The UK’s largest zoo extension has opened to the public at Chester Zoo. This marks a significant day for Barton Willmore, the UK’s largest independent, integrated planning and design consultancy, which were instrumental to the ‘Islands’ scheme by advising on the planning permission, adding the first Zoo project if its kind to their repertoire.

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Forthcoming Book – The Times History of Britain’s Railways: from 1603 to the present day


By Julian Holland
Publication date: 30th October 2015
Price: £30

Follow the development, decline and later revival of Britain’s iconic railways with passionate rail enthusiast, author and broadcaster Julian Holland. Discover their remarkable history through expert commentary, stunning photographs and archive material from a lifetime of railway research.

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Vintage Summer Steam Trips and Pop-up Tea Room – Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 September 2015



· Hop on a steam train on the Metropolitan line on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 September

· Enjoy a vintage pop-up tea room at Watford Tube station

· Join the festivities and dress up in vintage clothing


Combine nostalgic steam train travel and tea and cake on the Metropolitan line for a late summer treat. Customers can travel back in time on a beautifully restored steam train and enjoy a one-off retro tea experience at a pop-up tea room at Watford Tube station on the weekend of 12 and 13 September 2015.

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Windsor Festival celebrates 45 years of entertainment


Annual arts festival will celebrate nearly half a century of entertainment focusing on anniversaries of the Magna Carta and historic battles

Windsor, 8 July 2015

Windsor Festival is celebrating 45 years of entertainment in autumn 2015. The highly respected annual arts festival will be located within and around the grounds of Windsor Castle, and takes place from 20th September 2015 to 4th October 2015. The vibrant fortnight of celebrations will reflect on the signing of the Magna Carta at Runnymede, the anniversaries of the Battles at Agincourt and Waterloo, and Windsor’s place in Royal history.

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IWM marks 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain and the Blitz


IWM (Imperial War Museums) announces plans to mark the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain and the Blitz with a major Battle of Britain Anniversary Air Show at IWM Duxford (19 and 20 September), new exhibition Duxford’s People in the Battle of Britain (21 August) as well as the large-scale family exhibition – Horrible Histories®: Blitzed Brits at IWM North (opens 11 July).

Summer 1940 impacted on the lives of civilians and military personnel in new and unprecedented ways.

From 10 July the Battle of Britain began, as Britain’s pilots became under attack from the Luftwaffe in an attempt to gain air superiority.
The fighting reached its peak on 15 September which was seen as an overwhelming and decisive defeat of the Luftwaffe and is now known as ‘Battle of Britain Day’
By 7 September the Nazi tactics switched to strategic bombing of towns and cities, the Blitz had begun and would continue to affect millions of civilians until May 1941.

Key Facts and History can be found on our Factsheet about the History of Battle of Britain and the Blitz

Blogging away, blogging away – more thoughts…

Blogging away, blogging away – more thoughts…

by BigJules

Jack TarFirst, I must thank you again for all the feedback and comments on my blogs.

Being an author can be a pretty isolated life so it’s always great to hear from readers! And while I thoroughly enjoy writing the Tom Kydd series – and my other historical fiction – it’s a pleasant diversion to put pen to paper (metaphorically) outside the confines of the structure of a novel.

As well as regular blogs via BigJules for the past two years, I’ve been honoured to be invited to write guest blogs a number of times.

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Internet Society’s 2015 Global Internet Report: Mobile is Key to Fulfilling the Promise of Internet Connectivity for the Next Billion People


Challenges remain as ‘affordability’ and ‘relevant content’ surpass ‘availability’ as main barriers to global Internet access

[Washington, DC and Geneva, Switzerland – 7 July 2015] – The Internet Society today released its 2015 Global Internet Report,, the organization’s second annual report on the global state of the Internet. Focused on the impact of the mobile Internet, this year’s report shows that mobile has fundamentally transformed Internet access and use, and holds the key to fulfilling the promise of Internet connectivity for the next billion people.

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Book Review – Warships of the Great War Era, a History in Ship Models



The author followed an RN career as a pilot, then with a period as Curator of the Fleet Air Arm Museum, before becoming a successful author of many highly regarded books. Naturally, he started with books covering aspects of naval aviation, but this new book provides a valuable review of warships of the Great War Era. Surprisingly, there have been very few books published on the same topic and those that have appeared have tended towards a narrow selection of classes and relied on drawings and photographs. This book follows a different path and features the history of warships through professional models. It is incredible that Britain has failed so spectacularly to preserve vintage warships that have not only been important to the Royal Navy, but marked a new standard in warship design. It is necessary to travel to the US to see a preserved battleship of the Great War Era. In Britain there is no Dreadnought or pre-Dreadnought or post-Dreadnought to view. The revolutionary early aircraft carriers all died in the breakers yard. Cruisers, destroyers and submarines have faired equally badly. There are many photographs and drawings, but these do not convey all of the character of warships that broke boundaries and took naval warfare to a new level. So strange when Britain literally led the World. However, there are many surviving models that all too often lurk in the recesses of museums or in the rarely viewed reserve collections that are hidden away because the museum lacks space to present them to visitors. This book is therefore not only very informative but it reminds us that these highly detailed models exist and provide a presentation of the character of the real warships that have sadly passed to scrap. An enjoyable and recommended book.