Hungerford Christmas lights

Hungerford’s Christmas lights are the best in the area owning to their simplicity and elegance,  and they’re going to be switched on again for 2015 on Sunday, 29th November at 6.30pm!

Here’s a selection from last year:

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An important part of our childhoods came to life last week when we met Floella Benjamin!



She’s one of the most recognisable stars of 1980s TV and I seem to remember that there was much talk of the fact that she appeared on TV while – shock, horror – pregnant!

She was pretty much how we remembered her from Playschool all those years ago. She hasn’t aged at all and was really lovely and welcoming. We’d emerged from the outskirts of a protest outside into the House of Lords where she was hosting an alumni reunion. Bring inside Parliament on Bonfire Night is quite an experience at the best of times, but the whole evening seemed to be set to a soundtrack of police sirens.

Anyway, back inside, she spoke about her 10 years at Exeter University as they’re about to come to an end. In that time thought, she’s made quite an impact. She’s given 35,000 hugs to graduating students, she’s attended 172 degree ceremonies and has even had her feet kissed by one graduate. (Were we supposed to do that at our graduation? I was too busy trying not to fall over to remember).

Steve and I probably know our shapes, colours and numbers thanks to Lady Benjamin, although both of us struggled for a while to remember that there was a Hamble in addition to Humpty, Big Ted, Little Ted and Jemima!  While Steve talked about round, square and rectangular windows,  Floella gave us a huge smile and called us her “Playschool babies” and remarked that we were a special generation.

I just love this picture, even though I’ve ruined it by looking completely bedraggled and by carrying a massive rucksack!



I wonder if any of the TV programmes that LO watches now will make such an impact. Will he be photographed years later with a star from CBeebies?  Perhaps Dr Ranj?  Mister Maker?  Or Mr Bloom? My money’s on Mr Tumble….


Hong Kong

A couple of weeks ago, I left Newbury and spent a few days in Hong Kong. The two places are of course, very similar.

On this visit, I didn’t do much of the touristy stuff such as going up to the Peak or taking the 360 up to the Buddha but mostly did everyday stuff such as going swimming and hiking around some of the outlying islands.

I also got to have a good walk around a standard Hong Kong housing estate. Mei Foo, on Kowloon side, was built in the late 1960s and early 1970s, making it one of the oldest housing estates in  Hong Kong.  It’s a pure concrete jungle but it has a nice community feel and is located next to a beautiful park with a 50m swimming pool.

2. swimming pool

Living in a small space seems to make people much more tolerant of each other and ingenious in finding ways to maximise their space.

Livin1. Housing estateg in close proximity is just one of those things you put up with here. With house prices rarely dipping below £1m for a very bog standard flat, you can’t afford to be choosy. That’s when  I took this photo to show my LO, just so he would appreciate how lucky he is to have his own room and a bit of outdoor space.

This photo … is much better, but both were probably taken with the same kind of thought process, that we need to be more appreciative of our spacious houses.

3 dragon fruit

Newtown Road cemetery, Newbury

It seems like a slightly odd thing to do on a Sunday – or indeed any other day of the week, but we spent a very interesting hour at the weekend in Newtown Road cemetery.


A hard-working group of Friends of Newtown Road cemetery have recently been looking after this small corner of Newbury and have painstakingly researched the history of many people buried here; 12,000 in total.

We we treated to a tour of the graveyard and chapel, a brilliant idea that brings the history of the town to life whether it was tales of heroic men saving others from traffic accidents or tales of the workhouse or Queen Victoria’s artist.

Sadest of all, of course, are tales of children doomed to die at a young age including a devastating story of a baby Alice who died at 17 days old in the workhouse.

There’s other interesting stories including a man who died suddenly in his sleep and whose death certificate has “visitation from God” as the reason for his death.


Many thanks to the people who work so hard to look after this little spot – it’s a great place for a walk, particularly if your ancestors are here or you have an interest in the last two centuries of local history.