Wisp #write photo for Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt

This week Sue has given us the word Wisp as our prompt, together with this photo:

For some reason it made me think of girls that look like talking toothpicks and the worldwide problems of anorexia, bulimia and other terrible eating disorders. This is what I came up with:

The girl was a wisp

As fragile as a china doll


Join in the fun here: https://scvincent.com/2017/08/17/thursday-photo-prompt-wisp-writephoto/

Robbie and Michael Cheadle are the co-authors of the Sir Chocolate Book series and Robbie Cheadle is the author of Silly Willy goes to Cape Town

The sands of time – a visit to Bungay, Suffolk


Today we visited Nethergate Street in Bungay. This is the street where my Mother was born and lived during her younger years during WWII. My Mother has always referred to Nethergate Street as Back Lane.

Our visit inspired this haiku:

The sands of time

Each day like fine sand

Slips through our careless fingers

One grain at a time


This is the house where my Mother was born. The small attachment right at the back was the dairy and across from the house was the barn and outhouse.


These little sheds belonged to Fiddledee Dee. He used to keep goats and I found out yesterday that he also used these sheds to store reams of paper which he delivered to Clays Printers when needed. You can read more about Fiddledee Dee here: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2017/07/04/the-1940s-through-the-eyes-of-a-child-the-people-of-bungay/

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Duxford Air Museum

Before we set off on this visit to England, I decided that everyone should be given an opportunity to chose one place that they particularly wanted to visit. My Mother chose to visit her home town of Bungay, Suffolk, I chose Darwin’s House, Greg wants to go to the home of Sherlock Holmes, Michael wants to visit Warwick Castle and Terence chose Duxford Air Museum.

Duxford Air Museum is a branch of the Imperial War Museum near Duxford in Cambridgeshire.  The venue comprises of 7 display hangars filled with more than 200 aircraft, military vehicles, artillery and even some minor navel vessels.

This Museum was a huge hit with my boys. They loved everything and would have stayed much longer if there had been time. My mom and I also enjoyed this fascinating peak into England’s historical air defence. It was a very emotional experience for both of us, dipping into the memories and memorabilia of all these brave men and women who have defended this Island country between WWI and 1969.


Do you remember Concorde? Wikipedia describes Concorde as a British-French turbojet-powered supersonic passenger jet airliner that was operated until 2003. It had a maximum speed over twice the speed of sound at Mach 2.04 (1,354 mph or 2,180 km/h at cruise altitude), with seating for 92 to 128 passengers.

We had all heard of Concorde but that did not prepare us for the incredible looking machine we saw.


Some interesting facts about Concorde were displayed. These two caught my interest:

“Concorde could fly from Duxford to London in just over 2 minutes and across the Atlantic in under three hours.”

“Concorde cruised at 18 300 metres. At this height you can see the curvature of the Earth and the sky is almost black.”

Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird

The other really “out of this world” air travel machine we saw was the Lockheed SR-71Blackbird“. This was the highest-flying and fasted manned jet aeroplane of its time. It looked like an alien spaceship to me.


The three other highlights, for me, of this visit to Duxford Air Museum were the following items:


This WWII bomb shelter brought back a lot of emotional memories for my Mother. It reminded her of her own experiences going down into air raid shelters at home, and later at school during her youth. I was really delighted to see it and to confirm that my Mother’s description and my own research into garden air raid shelters was correct. I am also doing research for my new book about my Mother’s life growing up in Bungay in the 1940’s.


A piece of the Berlin wall that separated East and West Berlin during the Cold War. The Cold War was very big during my youth and I grew up on a diet of Ian Fleming’s James Bond books and films in which the Cold War was a central theme. I recall clearly the collapse of the East German regime during 1989 and the breaching of the Berlin wall.

And lastly…


A warped and twisted piece of the World Trade Centre after the terror attack in 2001. I can also vividly recall this historic event and remember watching it happen on the television sets at the local gym. It still seems totally surreal, the memory of those planes flying into the towers, so callously destroying and killing.

Robbie and Michael Cheadle are the co-authors of the Sir Chocolate Book series and Robbie Cheadle is the author of Silly Willy goes to Cape Town


A day at Hever Castle

I must state right up front that Hever Castle was not what I was expecting at all. I expected a functional castle built for defence, similar to Dover Castle and Leeds Castle. Hever Castle is, in my view, more of a residential palace and has been restored along the lines of an American movie about Kings and Queens rather than as an authentic castle. That being said, Hever Castle is magnificent and you can completely wallow in the luxury and artistic splendour with which it has been restored.


The original medieval defensive castle was built in 1270. During the 15th and 16th centuries, Hever Castle was the home of the Boleyn family and it was during this time that the Tudor dwellings were added. Hever Castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII. Henry’s determination to divorce his first wife and marry Anne helped to bring about the English Reformation.

I can remember being totally fascinated by Henry’s six wives when I was at school. We were taught the following little verse to help us remember their names and way of demise:

Divorced, beheaded, died;

Divorced, beheaded, survived.

Two of the most striking features of the castle are the superb wooden panelling and the moulded ceilings; this does take me back to my original comment about authenticity though as both the panelling and the ceilings were installed by thy wealthy American, William Waldorf Astor, during his restoration and renovation of the castle in the early 20th century.

The castle is full of heavy, carved wooden furniture, beautiful tapestries and other creature comforts. I was particularly taken with this cabinet of period baby clothes ; they were so tiny and sweet. They served to remind me that the important things in life have not really changed.


The gardens at Hever Castle are outstanding. I really enjoyed wandering about them, even though I was disappointed that I could not imagine Anne, herself, wandering along these paths with her entourage of escorts as I know that the gardens were mainly the result of William Astor’s restoration efforts.

On the whole, our visit to Hever Castle was an enjoyable one and I loved the artwork. It is not a castle I will visit again as the lack of authenticity spoilt it for me – I am a romantic and like to imagine I am following the footsteps of which ever famous person is the subject matter of the day.

PS Should you come across Mr Fox out for a stroll one day, don’t tell him these romantic thoughts – he already things that I am mental [grin!]

Robbie and Michael Cheadle are the co-authors of the Sir Chocolate Book series and Robbie Cheadle is the author of Silly Willy goes to Cape Town


Down House – the home of Charles Darwin


Theory of evolution

Picture courtesy of Google

Who hasn’t seen this graphic depiction of the theory of evolution?

According to Wikipedia, the essence of Charles Darwin’s ground-breaking theory is that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual’s ability to compete, survive, and reproduce. Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution challenged the established religious dogma of creationism.

Who wouldn’t want to learn more about this fascinating man and see his famous home? Of course we wanted to and that is exactly what we did. We went to visit Down House in Kent; the home of this very controversial and amazing scientist.

Darwin’s house is incredible. A truly beautiful English manor house with an outstanding and interesting garden and hot house.


I have never read Darwin’s book, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. To be honest, I probably never will but it was delightful to visit his home and see the places where he conducted his research and worked on his ideas.

I gleaned a lot of new information about this man from our tour of Down House. He was a great family man and had ten children, seven of whom survived to adulthood. Charles was devastated by the death of his oldest daughter, Anne (Annie), at the age of 10 years old and this lead to his turning away from the established Church. Following her death, Charles who was with her at the time, sent the following letter to his wife Emma Wedgwood:

My dear dearest Emma

I pray God Fanny’s note may have prepared you.  She went to her final sleep most tranquilly, most sweetly at 12 oclock today.  Our poor dear dear child has had a very short life but I trust happy, & God only knows what miseries might have been in store for her.  She expired without a sigh.  How desolate it makes one to think of her frank cordial manners.  I am so thankful for the daguerreotype [from 1849 and maintained at Down House].   I cannot remember ever seeing the dear child naughty.  God bless her.  We must be more & more to each other my dear wife— Do what you can to bear up & think how invariably kind & tender you have been to her.— I am in bed not very well with my stomach.  When I shall return I cannot yet say.  My own poor dear dear wife.

C. Darwin

Emma Wedgwood was Charles Darwin’s first cousin and was of the family of Wedgewood pottery fame. We saw some beautiful Wedgwood pieces inside the house, including a ceramic depiction of the famous artwork, The Infant Academy, painted in 1782 by Joshua Reynolds.

The Infant Academy, 1782 - Joshua Reynolds

You cannot take photographs inside the house but photography is allowed in the garden. I thought the doorway below was rather gorgeous and I liked the way you could see my reflection in the glass in this photograph.


There were a number of lovely fruit and other trees around the house and garden and also some really pretty flowers.

We went through the hothouses, where Charles conducted some of this research. The hothouses contained a couple of Venus Flytraps. I tried to grow one a few years ago and it died. I still find it most amazing that a plant that ingests insects is so sensitive to weather and soil conditions.


Naturally a visit to the home of such a controversial scientist could not pass without an argument between Mini-Me and Mini-T over the merits, or otherwise, of the theory of evolution. Michael is very religious and does not currently believe that humans evolved from apes. Greg is going through a very scientific phase and is adamantly convinced that this is the truth. A huge argument ensued which was only settled by my filling their mouths with lovely, fruit-filled English scones. There is a lot of truth in the old adage that the way to a man’s heart [and to stop him arguing with his brother and the stones in the street – smile] is through his stomach.

Happy Sunday!

Robbie and Michael Cheadle are the co-authors of the Sir Chocolate Book series and Robbie Cheadle is the author of Silly Willy goes to Cape Town