Category Archives: United Kingdom

Murder, Mayhem & Mrs Christie on the English Riviera – Torquay, England, U.K.

Bust of Agatha Christie

Bust of Agatha Christie

Not many of you may know, but I am a huge fan of Agatha Christie.  She got me hooked on the genre and a few years back, I went to a festival which is devoted to her, her writing and her home in Torquay.  Just pulling into the station feels like you are in another world.

Torquay

Our train driver to Torquay

Now, I said that things are changing on the blog and this is the start to part of that change.  I thought I would share more of my travel stories and this is one that came up recently, when I was having one of my ever endearing teas

Agatha Christie

My Christie themed tea with a friend – John loves Poirot – wants to get a cane like his!

with a friend who had just been there, so we got to talking… and, to be honest, I just love Agatha – she’s great.  I’ve read her autobiography and the book ‘Secret Notebooks’ by John Curran – this book is about trying to translate her notes on what she was writing or planning to write.  We, even got to meet the author of this momentous task and he signed our book.  She wrote her ideas in her own shorthand which only she could read, not even her family was able to read these famous notebooks.  Plus, I’ve now go a big photo of her on my wall to inspire me – you see, Agatha was not properly schooled like we are today, so her achievements as a writer are even more remarkable to me!

Agatha Christie

list of some of the Agatha Christie books

Back to Torquay and the English Riviera.  This is a beautiful seaside English Town and I can really see why it’s called the English Riviera because when the weather is nice, it’s truly the English seaside at its best.  Even in dull and rain, it’s still beautiful, but it really shines when the sun comes out.  As I said we went for the festival, but that doesn’t mean there is not lots to do without it, it was just our main push.  The highlight for me was going on a special, behind the scenes tour of her house – Greenway.

Greenway

Greenway coaster

When we went, the National Trust (the National Trust is a protection society for old properties of significant British heritage) had just finished getting the house ready for the public, as it’s not been accessible for long – she has a grandson who owns the inheritance on her estate.  So he finally has set the house up as a museum and what a museum, it’s like you are going to see her come around a corner at any moment.  It feels so lived in and alive.  They even have all her cloths that she wore on display – what a magical tour.  It is said that when she was a young girl growing up in Torquay, she went by this house, on the waterway in front of the house, and had said how much she had always wanted to live there, but she never knew much about the house.  Then she left Torquay as an adult with no intentions to return, but when she started making money with her writing, she found out the house was for sale and bought it and it’s estate.  One of my secret desires in to play Miss Marple when I get older – just putting it out there!  Ya never know!  At least for now, I’ve done a few murder mystery gigs, which I just love.

Museum

Torquay Museum

We went to various events at the local museum, all with the Agatha Christie themes running through them.

Greenway

Green Bus Tour to Greenway

A highlight was going on a tour on an old green bus with a tour guide that had never read her books, but seemed to know a lot about her life and times in the area – very odd combination, but still very informative – he said he loved history, not murder mysteries!

Torquay

Walk in Torquay

There was a gorgeous walk along the coast, past a very famous hotel – The Imperial Hotel – we had some tea here overlooking the water – beautiful – where we got sun and soaked in the same 10 minutes – ah, the English weather – a favourite topic here.  It’s all about layers!  Still, this was a great way to see parts of the town and see how much there is to see and do.

There’s some great shopping at the local market, we got our lovely bed spread at the market. It’s a great place to go, if you get one of those crazy English rainy days.  Also in the area are some great artisan shops where we found all sorts of lovely little items and beautiful gold rings – wear them everyday!

Torquay

Artisan shops in old stables – get all sorts from goldsmiths, metal work, clothing to hand-made chocolates.

Michelin Star

The Elephant Restaurant – Michelin Star

Food is stellar, there was a Michelin star restaurant – The Elephant which we had a fabulous lunch.

We loved Torquay and I would definitely go again, even if the festival isn’t on – I, sooooo want to go back and get to the famous hotel – Burgh Island, where some of her books have been set….but for this one, you must have it set up well in advance and have your pennies in a row – it’s quite expensive, but so want to give myself that treat or, they, can always have me stay and I’ll write-up a blog on my experience of this incredible island hotel with a murdering past!  Anyone got any contacts for me?!  Do they need a singer to perform – I’m available!

Just to note, we stayed at the Elmdene BnB – apparently, it’s won awards since we’ve stayed!

Do you have a favourite place in England you’ve been to?  Love to hear about it!  Any ideas for future topics you’d like to hear about, let me know and I’ll see if I can do a future blog on it, just comment below!

Debx

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4th Month – October Videoblog on You Tube

Below is the link to my video blog on you-tube from October:

Castle

Week 6 – Last Week in England!

‘Inspiration comes to us slowly and quietly… prime it with a little solitude.’ – Brenda Ueland

[How this works is, each week, I will write to someone on my list, picked randomly and I will post it online on this blog – just in case the letter doesn’t reach it’s destination.  The letter includes a card with a random quote, which I hope you will enjoy (at the top of this blog page).]

I’m sitting at the new terminal 5 at Heathrow waiting to drop our bags off.  Soon I will be on the big plane to start the longer haul flights.

First it’s Vancouver, Canada – my home town. I’ll let you know next week, on the blog, how my first week back went, but, for now, my last week in the UK.  I met up with John, again, in Hove at a friends place.  It was odd to be in the old neighbourhood, but not our home.  It was recognisable, but a little out of place.

My trusty stead

My old bike which has moved onto it’s new owner.

Still, this time was a God-send to tie a few loose ends with final bills and other such stuff.  We were even able to have some fresh vegetables from the garden – lovely!  The weather has been good and I managed to meet up with many friends and say good-bye.

This included a stellar breakfast with my walking ladies, seeing a movie – ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ (highly recommended), BBQ,

BBQ

BBQ with Friends

Pub Quiz (where we won when John got the exact date of the last public hanging in the UK) and ending with High Tea at the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne with some lady friends.

High Tea

High Tea at the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne

Also, this week, saw us move to another friends place, in Pevensey Bay, to sit back and relax before our big adventure.  If you ever get there, do the Pub Quiz at the Castle Inn – good fun, good food, good quiz and all for £1.

Pub Quiz Winners

Pub Quiz Winners

I feel raring and ready to start this first leg and content that all the loose ends are tied and all’s well that end’s well.

Do you have any Shakespearean quotes that you love?

Debx

Globe

Week 5 – back in London Town

‘Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference’ – Winston Churchill

[How this works is, each week, I will write to someone on my list, picked randomly and I will post it online on this blog – just in case the letter doesn’t reach it’s destination.  The letter includes a card with a random quote, which, I hope, you will enjoy (at the top of this blog page).]

My first month of travel has started, but not as I had expected.  I’m still in the UK, but there is only one week left before I jump on the jumbo jet to Canada.

Plane Comic

Plane Comic

My last week found me back at my friends in London and seeing some new sights in the ‘big smoke’.

The Buxton Memorial

The Buxton Memorial

Naturally, there was the wind down from my week in Henley.  Got 2 excellent reviews!  (You can view one online here) – 4 stars!  So, sorted out some after show admin, seems my life is always full of this form of work.

Still, I went to the Tate

Tate Gallery

Tate Gallery

for the first time.  While I saw some lovely works, I like the Tate Modern over the Tate.  Seems this is a normal game where people like one or the other, but not normally both.  How about you?

On my final night in London, I went to the Battersea Power Station

Battersea Power Station

Battersea Power Station

to watch an outdoor film – ‘The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.’

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

I would call it an art house comedy and I had an awesome time.  Brilliant way to end my first month of travels and my last night in London.  As when I come back to the city, this beautiful old building will be changed to flats.  Also, going here was on my bucket list of places to see before they remodeled it and what better way to do that, than with an outdoor movie.  Do you know of any other such outdoor movie gems?

Battersea Power Station

Battersea Power Station

I’m now back in Hove for a few days.  House sitting at a friends.  It’s been a lot of meeting with friends (to find out more about, my friend, Kate and her production – ‘To Freedom’s Cause’ #emilymatters, see post note at bottom of blog).

Kate Willoughby

Kate Willoughby and I enjoying a fond farewell.

and saying good-bye.  Makes the leaving a tad melancholic, but I’m sure there will be many more friends along the way.

Tea

Jasmine white tipped green tea – my favourite!

See you soon, hopefully, on my travels!

Bye for now.

Dx

‘To Freedom’s Cause’ – #Emilymatters was created by Kate Willoughby as part of the social media campaign to open up the special House of Commons event on 13 February 2014 to a wider audience, where To Freedom’s Cause was performed, followed by a lively & informative debate that was chaired by Jane Garvey (BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour presenter).

As a result, the event went viral & boosted the growing momentum of Emily Thornberry MP‘s campaign for a statue of suffragette Emily Davison to be erected in the Houses of Parliament.

#emilymatters

Emily Davison’s statue

London 2 013

Week 4 – Henley – Miss Givings

‘Just when the caterpillar thought it’s life was over, it became the butterfly…’

[How this works is, each week, I will write to someone on my list, picked randomly and I will post it online on this blog – just in case the letter doesn’t reach it’s destination.  The letter includes a card with a random quote, which I hope you will enjoy (at the top of this blog page).]

The first month is drawing to an end and what a month!  This week, I left my home of 16 years to go straight into a week run of my one woman show – Miss Givings.

Miss Givings

Miss Givings

This was the reason we didn’t leave sooner, as this Festival was booked ages ago and I was keen to be able to do a whole week in one place – quite a luxury for a show of this type.

It was a lot of fun and we ended on a packed house, always good to end on a high.  Some of the highlights for me were seeing the other shows and films (for links of the shows/bands/films I can recommend, go down to the bottom of the blog).  I had some awesome nights out, as there was great stuff to watch and listen to.  Reminds me why I love to watch live performances and go to the movies.  Felt like a week of really great play!  Plus, Henley was beautiful, with fantastic places to eat.  I, especially, enjoyed my hot chocolate and raspberry parfait cake at the ‘Chocolate Cafe’.

The Chocolate Cafe

The Chocolate Cafe

Also, this was the setting for the TV series ‘Midsomer Murders’

Midsomer Murders

Midsomer Murders

and the book ‘Wind in the Willows’

Wind in the Willows

Wind in the Willows

which I didn’t know.

I’m, now, back in London at a friends and did an awesome roller blade through the downtown streets of London – I ,only, found out, on my train ride to Henley, this was possible in London.

Roller Blading London

Roller Blading London

I first knew about these groups from a trip to Paris and have wanted to do it since, so ‘tick’ another thing off the bucket list.  Can honestly say, it’s not for the faint-hearted, but I managed to keep up and up right. (for details on where to hire roller blades click here)

What crazy last minute things have you done?  I’m always looking for new adventures!

Roll on next week!

Love

Debx

Shows/Bands/Films at Henley Fringe:

Women of an Uncertain Age, Sign of the Times

Bands/Music:

Naomi Vallance, Crossfire Hurricanes

Short Films:

Amaqqut Nunaat, The Wires, Four Tails, Things I like about sex and dogs & Keep Fighting

Week 3 – Leaving Home and heading to Henley Fringe Festival

‘Laugh like no one is listening’

[How this works is each week I will write to someone on my list, picked randomly and I will post it online on this blog – just in case the letter doesn’t reach it’s destination.  The letter includes a card with a random quote, which I hope, you will enjoy (at the top of this blog page).]

What a week it’s been!  I arrived back from Holland on Monday, hitting the ground running by arriving home and then going straight out to pick up my computer, which was had a ‘tune up’ for my trip around the world, then, it was remove the bed from the spare room with a lovely finish of a BBQ on the beach with my walking ladies (a group I started in September and am now having to leave behind!) – what a great way to start the week!

Walking group BBQ

Walking group BBQ

After that, the week turned into a blur of cleaning house, various meetings to finalise things (bills & such) on the house, packing everything which hadn’t been packed, prepping for this weeks run at the Henley Fringe Festival of my one woman show, Miss Givings, various personal meetings and seeing friends.

Miss Givings

Miss Givings

As part of the excitement of the last few weeks, I had to make a whistle stop up and back to London to pick up my mobile phone, I had left there before I went to Holland.  It’s a vital prop in my show, not to minimise it’s helpful communication, now that I have no home = no WiFi.  Good thing my contract has good data roaming.

Also, a bit of drama, my director’s car has blown up and he was meant to drive me and the props/costumes to Henley.  So, last minute change of plans for me to take the train and sort out the box to come on Tuesday for the opening day of the show – fingers crossed!

Henley is beautiful with some fantastic walks along the Thames, lovely cafes and very friendly shops.

Thames at Henley

Thames at Henley

The shops have been brilliant at taking flyers, plus very chatty and interested in the shows – next week will see the end of my run and back off to London.

What are some of your favourite places in and around London?

Love Debx