Sunday, 25 October 2015

Never far from Loughborough!

This last week has seen me staying in South West Wales, Llanteg, to be precise. At one time I used to stay at Llanteglos every October half-term holiday, until we decided that we should investigate the whole of the Welsh coastline! We've done that now, apart from Swansea, so this year we decided to go back to Llanteglos, without the children, to celebrate the fact that we finally got married 5 weeks ago.

So, this time, we decided to visit some places that we'd been to before with the children, including Pembroke, Narberth and Llawhden castles, the National Botanical Gardens of Wales, and the towns of Pembroke, Sandersfoot and Tenby. We also visited some new places, like the Heritage Museum in Pembroke, Picton and Laugharne castles, and Lamphey Bishops' Palace.  And we did some different things, like walk from Llanteg to Saundersfoot, Tenby to Saundersfoot, and from Freshwater East to Lamphey and back!

Interestingly, I learned all about flying boats and the difference between these and planes that can float, at the Pembroke Heritage Centre. I'd never heard of Sunderland boats before, but how strange to read all about them and to then go back to the holiday accommodation and find that they were being featured on the One Show!!

So, the area of South West Wales is not Richard III country, so there was much information about his adversary, Henry VII. I don't purport to be on any particular side of the Richard III argument. Being Welsh myself, one might suppose I support Henry VII. Having parents who've lived in Yorkshire for 39 years, one might suppose I support the idea that he should have been buried in Yorkshire. Having myself lived in Loughborough for 37 years, and worked in Leicester for 29, one might suppose that I support the Leicester case!

Whatever my thoughts and feelings on the matter, I was impressed to see the house in Tenby where Henry VII is reputed to have escaped to France through a tunnel, in 1471,

and equally impressed to see his birthplace in Pembroke Castle.

A couple of other Loughborough - or at least, Leicestershire - connections caught my attention whilst I was visiting Pembroke castle.

The information boards talked of Lord Hastings: was this the same family as were formerly Lords of the Manor at Loughborough?

They also talked of Simon de Montfort, a name which is very familiar to me!!

And then there was a quotation about seeing Henry VII's birthplace, from John Leland, a traveller who wrote about his journeys, which included comments about Leicester and Leicestershire, and whose words are quoted in Nichols.

In one of the rooms in the castle, there was a display about more recent wars, and it was here that I spotted the uniforms of the Pembrokeshire Yeomanry, and was reminded of our own Leicestershire Yeomanry, whose collection is in the Carillon. [Apologies for the poor quality photos].

Then there was the town hall in Laugharne: a beautiful white building with a tower and a bell which struck the hour, which reminded me of our own town hall with its bell, and of our bellfounders, Taylors.

Picton Castle has never been open when we've been past before, but this year they had extended their opening hours (as had Laugharne Castle). We went on a guided tour of the castle, and when we heard that the owners were Phillips, it did make me wonder if they were related to the De Lisles of Garendon!

Wandering around Tenby one day, we went into a bookshop, where I was very surprised to see someone from Loughborough with whom I worked in Leicester about 23 years ago!!

On our final day we visited the National Botanical Gardens of Wales, which we discovered are built on the site of Middleton Hall. I've no idea why the hall was so named, as the owner was a William Paxton, so no relation to the Middleton bankers of Loughborough!

Unfortunately, I missed all the excitement of the Loogabrooga Festival, but I hope you managed to catch some of it!

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Loogabarooga Festival!

It has never been my intention through this blog to favour anything in particular other than events that promote the exciting town in which we live! So, my initial posts focussed on impressing upon you why Loughborough was not a "rubbish" town, and this was followed by descriptions and photographs of the town's successful In Bloom entries.

Today I'd like to remind you about the forthcoming Loogabarooga Festival, a festival which is a celebration of illustrated children's literature. And the reason it's being held in Loughborough, is, of course, because of our association with Ladybird Books. The history of Ladybird Books can be found on the internet, in books, in newspapers and in articles, but briefly, Wills and Hepworth (as they were at the time of printing of the first Ladybird Books) were originally based, I believe, in Market Street and produced trade and street directories. The first books in the Ladybird series were in 1914, when the company were based in Angel Yard. The trademark ladybird was registered in 1915, but more books in the series were not published until during the Second World War when other publishing work dried up. In about 1971 the company moved to the Beeches Road, and in 1972 the company became part of the Pearson Group. In the 1990s Ladybird became part of the Penguin Group and production at Loughborough stopped, although the books are still published today.

The factory on Beeches Road, once home to Ladybird Books, is now home to a wallpaper and fabrics company.

The Loogabarooga Festival has been timed to coincide with the 100 year anniversary of the creation of the first books in the Ladybird series, and features a whole host of events spread over the latter half of Leicestershire Schools' half-term, and the beginning of half-term for schools in most of the rest of the country. Festival leaflets and brochures are available in many shops and tourist places, and include details of the whole festival.

The range of events is wide and includes talks, book signings, many creative opportunities (like painting, pottery), and theatre performances. There are also a number of events taking place with a focus on schools, so a ladybird march, an author talk and a local illustrator will hold a workshop.

Local businesses are also offering a range of special deals, and there's a treasure trail and the chance to win your height in books!!

As if all this weren't enough, there's also a wide range of satellite events, including a fantastic Ladybird exhibition in Charnwood Museum, which runs until 1st November, and a local illustrator is exhibiting in the Queen's Park café.

And have you seen those lovely benches?? Designed in the shape of books, with colourful paintings covering them, benches have sprung up in town! The two I spotted were in Queen's Park, where I think they make taking a rest an exciting experience!

Posters, bunting and adverts are also popping up all over the town! There may have been an air ambulance landing on the bowling green in Queen's Park earlier in the week, but now this is the host of several festival advertisements!

The festival runs from Thursday 22nd October through to Monday 26th October. I think the aim is to make this the first of an annual event, but do pop along to at least one event this year if you can!!



Sunday, 11 October 2015

Walk from Loughborough to Beaumanor

I may have already told you that I have recently taken to seeking out walks in and around Loughborough. Up until now, my focus has been on urban walks, mostly because I am prone to being affected by tree pollen, which makes walking in the countryside in Spring most unpleasant, However, late Summer - early Autumn seems to be quite safe!!!

At the end of September I decided to pop along to the Art Deco fair that was taking place in Beaumanor Hall, and as it was such a lovely day, I decided to walk. Now, I've not done this walk before and I was using a rather old map, so it took me a while to find my way through the housing estate that has sprung up around Shelthorpe! My map reading skills leave a lot to be desired too, so I almost gave up when I couldn't quite work out where I was, but I was encouraged by the sight of families walking through the fields, and decided to follow their lead, and hope I ended up where I wanted to be!!!

I've blogged about a visit to Beaumanor Hall before, but I perhaps didn't tell you that it was designed and built by William Railton, the architect who also designed the Bavarian Gates of Garendon Hall, and Nelson's column.

Anyway, here's a photographic account of my most recent visit to Beaumanor - the way there, my stay there, and the way back. Enjoy!