Thousands of people will trek to Stonehenge to celebrate Summer Solstice this year, even more than usual because it is on a weekend. Many celebrants will arrive as early as 7 p..m. on Friday, June 20, and stay overnight on their blankets (no camping equipment or chairs allowed) until the Sun makes its appearance at 4:52 the next morning. There may be no visible sunrise if it’s cloudy, as was the case last year, but you can be sure there will be plenty of people even if it rains.
If you have the urge to spend a different kind of pleasant afternoon in London, you could do a lot worse than visit the site of my daughter’s once-a-week college classes at Enfield, on the Cambridge road north of the city. This is the 30-acre home of a medieval abbey that is no such thing, a score of typical English gardens, and even a family of South African animals that act like prairie dogs but would die on a vegetarian diet. It’s a fascinating place.
Capel Manor Gardens is a thoroughly up-to-date fusion of science,
It gave me a thrill to walk through the great HMS Victory again, moving from deck to deck and seeing everything shipshape and seaworthy, as though this 250-year-old warship were ready to move out and put to sea again from her dry-dock in Portsmouth, England. Striped in her distinctive horizontal yellow and black, her stern galleries, mostly reserved for officers’ quarters, were glittering with windows and richly decorated with carvings in the wood (Most of the rest of the 821 crew, cramped but well-fed, lived on the smelly lower gun deck.) The husky see-through timbering in her prow is unusual looking for any later design,
What was life like for sailors who manned the decks when Britannia truly started to “rule the waves”? We went to Southampton, England, to take a look.
This is the second of several short travel memoirs written in the English west-country, where I stayed with my London family at a small village cottage. My purpose here is to let readers know about some of places of interest in Thomas Hardy country, which are often left out by tourist day-trip excursions that may range out only as far as Stonehenge before returning to London.
Tonight I celebrated my birthday – at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Except that it wasn’t my birthday. On my real birthday, six weeks ago in New Mexico, my son Jonathan presented me with a most unusual and much-appreciated gift, two tickets to the BBC Proms concert of Tuesday, July 16.
The Albert Hall is a magnificent domed structure that epitomizes Queen Victoria’s determination to fulfill the wish of her husband, Albert, to promote understanding and appreciation of the arts and sciences. Nearby in South Kensington are other parts of “Albertopolis” —
This blog post is excerpted from my book Wonderment, an autobiography that is available worldwide in paperback and eBook format. This excerpt is set in Moscow in 2003.
For a change it would be a quiet day in Moscow. So I phoned Tanya Pitchugina, a TV science writer with whom I had exchanged emails – we had never met in person — and asked if she was free that evening. To my delight she said yes.
It was late November, 2003, and I was in Russia to do final research on my book The Star Wars Enigma,