British Isles

Cairgorms Scotland
St Ives, Cornwall

I have travelled to different countries, east and west, but when it comes to variety and quality of life I find the UK difficult to beat. From the remote, dramatic mountains of the Cairngorms in Scotland to the almost Mediterranean like beaches of Cornwall, and in between there is lush green countryside dotted with pretty ancient villages, thatched cottages and buildings with so much character it is possible to imagine the ghosts of the countless past generations that lived and worked there. cotswolds

The country is busy with it’s relatively dense population and the cities and large towns have good and bad areas, but like all the major towns and cities in Europe they have history and character and such a wealth of architecture spanning centuries. Despite it’s density peace and tranquillity can still be found in the thousands of colosheepurful parks, or on the wild moorlands and hill tops where the stress and noise of modern life is left far behind, replaced by the sound of the wind, the rustling of trees and the call of the birds.

I love the sea, perhaps because I am from an island nation; it has a power and a life that is simply not present in the great lakes of the world. seaWherever I am in the UK I am little more than one hour from the coast; the gentle lapping of sea on the shore or the thunder of waves against soaring cliffs; the screech of gulls and the smells of salt air and sea shore; the atmosphere is invigorating and brings renewed life and vigour to a tired soul.

The UK is ever more multicultural, a colourful and vibrant mix of cultures and history and within 2 hours I can be in the heart of Europe, enjoying the culture first hand. It is easy to browse the romantic streets of Paris or sit in the canal side cafés of Amsterdam, so close yet so different. In a similarly brief time I could be on the shores of the Mediterranean enjoying the laid back atmosphere of a small Greek fishing village or walking in the unique sophistication of the South of France. Europe is so close and is so varied with every nation having its own individual eccentricities and heritage.


I am not “patriotic”, I am not “proud” of my nation, I did not choose where I was born and like so many nations the U.K. has had a chequered past and done many bad things, but we cannot judge a country on it’s history, we live in the present and look to the future and there are worst places to be. Besides, perhaps the unpredictable temperate climate suites my mild, predictable yet temperate temperament (others may have a different opinion).





Minster-at-night_tcm4-52111A small town in the north east of England in the county of South Yorkshire.

cbc_crestDoncaster began when the Romans built a fort in the area about 71 AD. The Romans called the fort Danum. However in the 4th century Roman civilisation declined and the last Roman soldiers left Britain in 407 AD. mansion_night_tcm2-5729

After the Romans left, the Saxons invaded Eastern England. The Saxons called a Roman fort a ceaster. When they arrived in South Yorkshire, being built beside the River Don, they called this one Don ceaster. In time the name changed to Doncaster and they created a village nearby.

In the 12th century Doncaster grew into a busy town. In 1194 King Richard I gave Doncaster a charter (a document granting or confirming certain rights). In the Middle Ages Doncaster was a busy little market town although it would seem tiny to us. In 1204 Doncaster suffered a disastrous fire. In the Middle Ages most buildings were of wood so fire was a constant hazard. On the other hand if buildings did burn they could be easily be replaced.

The street name “gate” is derived from the old Danish word ‘gata’ which meant street. In Medieval towns craftsmen of one type tended to live in the same street. Baxter is an old word for baker so Baxtergate was the baker’s street. Frenchgate may be named after French speaking Normans who settled there.

corn exchangeIn the 14th century friars arrived in Doncaster. The friars were like monks but instead of withdrawing from the world they went out to preach. In 1307 Franciscan friars arrived in Doncaster. They were called grey friars because of the colour of their costumes. Carmelites or white friars arrived in the middle of the 14th century.

During the 16th and 17th centuries the little market town of Doncaster continued to grow. This was despite outbreaks of plague in 1562, 1582, 1583, 1604 and 1606. Each time plague struck a significant part of the town’s population perished but each time it recovered.

Transport has played an important role in Doncaster’s heritage. The stagecoach trade of the 17th and 18th centuries generated the wealth that built the town centre in the Georgian fashion complete with one of only three Mansion Houses in Britain as its civic headquarters.

Horse breeding for the stagecoach trade gave rise to Doncaster racecourseRacecourse and the founding of the Great Northern Railway Locomotive and Carriage Buildings Works, the factory that built the Flying Scotsman and the Mallard, brought further recognition.

One of the founding Pilgrim Fathers, William Bradford, was born within the Borough and Doncaster’s rich history also includes an archaeological site in Sutton Common, grand country houses and magnificent churches.

conisbrough_castleThe spectacular white circular keep of Conisbrough Castle dates back to approximately 1180. Made of magnesian limestone, it is the oldest circular keep in England.

The Minster Church of St. George Doncaster lies at the heart of our town, where a church has stood for over 8 centuries. The present church was built between 1854-1858 after the medieval church was sadly destroyed by fire in 1853. St George’s Church, is a landmark on Doncaster’s skyline This masterpiece was designed by architect Sir Gilbert Scott who also designed St Pancras station. The church also boasts a rare Schulze organ and fine Victorian glass.






Christ Church, Thorne Road, Doncaster

The Rose

P1010494The Rose

A rose is delicate and sensual as a woman’s soft skin,
Slowly opening, unravelling, revealing beauty within;
It glows like a blush on a warm summer day,
Its heady perfume marks the passing of May;
One of life’s contradictions in so many ways,
So tender, so gentle we marvel and gaze;
Its feminine beauty is bold, its petals laid bare,
But they also hide thorns so we must tread with great care;
We should cherish and nurture, love and admire,
Never take them for granted or be blind with desire;
In the earth they will grow, don’t place in a bowl,
Nature’s gifts to the world, they enrichen the soul.

The robin’s morning song

robinI was woken at 3:00am by the sound of a robin singing his proud, lonely song to the world. He was alone and his voice was clear in the peaceful, quiet beginning of this new day. But then the quieter sound of another perhaps lonely bird, far away answering his call despite the distance between them. They never got closer despite their shared song but appeared like soul-mates taking comfort from each others voice.

Far too soon the distant call stopped and the robin is again alone with his seemingly sad but beautiful song. He sings clear and bright in the cold dark early morning, perhaps if he sings tomorrow and the next day they may eventually be united……..  It is nearly Spring after all, and maybe then I will get some sleep.

Spring in 62 words

PrimroseSpring in 62 words

As the tides of the great oceans slowly ebb and slowly flow,
so the seasons of the year will come and they will go;
There is beauty in winter when trees stand naked and bold,
and snow brings peaceful tranquility despite being cold;
As the cold winter ebbs spring approaches with ease,
it feels that life is renewed, newborn lambs, budding trees.