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Witches, kings and whispering knights!

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My favourite place in the world is only minutes from my home and has always been a place of extreme importance to me. The Rollright Stones. A haven of peace , magic and calm  in this busy difficult world.

Set in a field next to an ancient ridgeway nestled in a beautiful wood  these prehistoric stones exude an air of power and mystery. Strong yet friendly, calm yet buzzing with life and myth they lie shrouded in trees, obscured from the busy B road that passes by as if in another time altogether.

Visit at any time of day and in any season and you will find offerings adorning the stones themselves, in the centre of the circle or draped from the trees.

Holly, berries, flowers and ribbons,  ivy, pine cones, ,feathers,  all are evidence of some sort of ceremony  both public and private, proving how special this little site is to so many from so many walks of life. 

People find themselves walking the steps of countless ghosts of the past around the inner circle of the King’s Men and then visiting the Whispering Knights and the King Stone.Each peron on his or her own journey but collective in their peace and tranquility the area exudes. 

 The stones are actually made up of three groups which were all built at different times between the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods. The largest group, known as the King’s Men were erected in 2,500BC, whilst the solitary King Stone was placed some 1000 years later and finally the three Whispering Knights, are the eldest of all, believed to be erected in 3,800BC. 

They are made of the same honey colour Jurassic oolitic limestone that many Cotswold villages are built from and it is believed the boulders used to create the site were probably collected within 500m. 

 

The unhewn stones are all different sizes and shapes each with its own little hole or crevice ,often stuffed with an offering ,with some being only a few inches off the ground and some standing 7 feet high.

There are many theories of the reason for The Rollright Stones, perhaps a religious significance or connected with the changing seasons or astronomy, a place to exchange goods for tradesmen, or a location to seal tribal agreements or perform marriage ceremonies. 

As with any stone circle, the Rollright Stones are steeped in local legend and myth, to see the man you will marry run naked around the stones at midnight on Midsummer’s Eve!  To aid fertility, visit the stones at midnight and give any stone in the circle a hug.In the 18th centuary local women believed they could help fertility and would touch the King Stone in particular with their breasts.

It is said that if you walk round the Rollright Stones three times, you’ll never count the same number each time. But if you do manage it – you’re entitled to one wish. Be careful what you wish for however! The Fairies that are said to emerge at midnight and dance among the stones are said to be tricksy and might grant you something with a twist!

The most famous story as to the presence of the stones is that a king and his army were marching over the Cotswolds when they met a witch who challenged the king saying,

 

 

“Seven long strides shalt thou take,

And if Long Compton thou canst see, 

King of England thou shalt be.”

 Obviously confident and eager to take all of England the  King stode off saying 

“Stick, stock, stone, 

As King of England I shall be known.” 

 On his seventh stride the ground rose up before him in a long mound obscuring his view.  

The witch cackled and declared: 

 “As Long Compton thou canst not see,

King of England thou shalt not be, 

Rise up stick and stand still stone, 

For King of England thou shalt be none,

Thou and thy men hoar stones shall be, And I myself an elder tree.”

Legend has it that one day the spell will be broken and the King and his men will return to life and continue with their conquest. 

My special place is so wonderful because the stones are completely accessible – there is no Visitor Centre, no ticket office. They are there, in the field, as they have been for thousands of years, and anybody can visit them at any time. 

The Stones are looked after by an independent trust, so a donation to the charity either via the handy QR code tacked onto the entrance signpost into the tin on the post. Suggested donations is £1 per adult and 50p per child

Dogs are allowed on a lead 

How to get to the Rollright Stones

 Address: Rollright Road, Little Rollright, Chipping Norton OX7 5QB

 Parking for the Rollright Stones is limited – it includes two wide official laybys along the main road. The entrance to the path to reach the Stones is situated about half way along the laybys. 

 And please abide by this sentiment 

Take nothing but photographs and memories. Leave nothing but footprints.

I'm a slightly deranged middle aged widow, living in the Cotswolds with two fabulously funny little dogs. A mother, grandmother, sister and friend. Determined to survive by writing to remember, to forget and to cope with grief. the memory of my husband supporting me, guiding me and probably laughing at me if there is a ‘somewhere’

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Travel

Douglas Corrigan, the man who flew to Ireland by mistake or maybe not…

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We still don’t know if Douglas Corrigan intended to fly to Ireland or ended up there by mistake. We know that he became famous for a while and was even nicknames “Wrong Way”. But his story is still fascinating.  Another of his claims to fame was that he was one of the builders involved in the Spirit of St Louis, Charles Lindbergh’s place. He was born in Texas in 1907 and died in 1995. This story takes back to the romantic days of early aviation. 

By Unknown photographer – http://www.hill.af.mil/museum/history/corrigan.htm, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=520511

In the summer of 1938, Douglas Corrigan had landed in Dublin Ireland after a 28-hour flight from New York. Despite the grand achievement in the early days of solo transoceanic aviation, the pilot claims that he wasn’t supposed to travel to Europe. He actually filed to fly to Long […]

Click here to view original web page at simpleflying.com

In the summer of 1938, Douglas Corrigan had landed in Dublin Ireland after a 28-hour flight from New York. Despite the grand achievement in the early days of solo transoceanic aviation, the pilot claims that he wasn’t supposed to travel to Europe. He actually filed to fly to Long Beach, California! H

At the age of 31, Corrigan flew out to New York City from Long Beach. The pilot filed to return back to Southern California on July 17th, 1938, but during that foggy morning, he headed east from the 4,200-foot (1,300 m) runway of Floyd Bennett Field, flew into the mist, and vanished for over 28 hours. Nonetheless, he eventually appeared in Dublin, all the way across the Atlantic Ocean.

When explaining the situation to officials, Corrigan said that he left New York en route to California but had then gotten mixed up in the clouds and haze. He also shared that he had an issue with his compass. Overall, the airman expressed that he noticed the error after flying for approximately 26 hours. However, there is good reason to believe that this transatlantic hop wasn’t actually a mistake.

Importantly, Corrigan, a man of Irish descent, in 1935, applied to the federal government for permission to make a direct trip from New York to Ireland, which was turned down. Officials felt that the aircraft was not in the right shape to make this transatlantic hop. He then made several modifications and additions over the next few years but was continuously denied. Despite not being approved for transatlantic flight, the government did certify the plane for cross-country trips.

Moreover, the U.S Centennial of Flight Commission highlights that Corrigan grew frustrated with the bureaucracy by 1937 and flew to New York late at night after authorities had gone home. He would then have filled his tanks and set flight for Ireland. Unfortunately, there were several mechanical issues while heading to the East Coast and he lost his window of safe flying weather. Therefore, he decided to fly back west.

 

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News

The best UK attractions according to Tripadvisor

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There are notable surprises in this list compiled by Tripadvisor users, for example you don’t find the great museums in London but we have museums in other places and two football stadiums. In first and second place we have two fairly predictable London attractions the Tower of London and Tower Bridge which are also close together although they don’t have much in common other than the name and proximity. The Tower dates back to 1100 and the bridge to 1800.

In third place we have Arthur’s Seat, the hill located in Edinburgh. Not only is this a nice walk, but once you get to the top you will have a nice view of the whole city. In fourth place we have Etihad Stadium, the Manchester United stadium. You can visit it when there are no matches, they organize a guided tour.

Arthur’s Seat

In fifth place we have Anfield Stadium, a practically sacred place for Liverpool fans. When there are no matches, the stadium is open for guided tours. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum ranks sixth, it is Scotland’s most visited free attraction. It has 22 themed galleries displaying over 8000 objects of international importance. Birmingham Back to Back is in seventh place, back to back houses were heavily used during the industrial revolution. Not really hygienic or comfortable and they don’t make us envy those times. The museum is a very informative blast from the past. Crumlin Road Gaol is in eighth place. An old Belfast prison closed in 1996 and reopened as a museum. There are guided tours of the prison and you can discover the story when women and children were held within its walls and of the political segregation of republican and unionist prisoners. In ninth place we have the magnificent National Railway Museum in York. Home to iconic locomotives and an unrivaled collection of engineering works, the museum celebrates the railroad’s past, present and future. What’s more, free. In tenth place we have the Churchill War Rooms which are located in London. Surprised? What did you expect to see in the top ten tourist attractions in the UK?

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Architecture

The strange Egyptian house in Penzance in Cornwall

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In all parts of the world there are always weird things to see and Cornwall is certainly no exception. If you go to Penzance, try to pass by the strange Egyptian house. It was built on Chapel Street by Plymouth architect John Foulston around 1835. At this time everything Egyptian was in fashion. In London at Piccadilly they had built the Egyptian Hall at the same time and the province tried to adapt to trends.

Photo: Jhsteel / CC BY-SA

It was a Plymouth bookseller who wanted this house, his name was John Lavin and he had a passion for maps and travel guides but he also traded minerals. He had then bought two properties here, which were in fact two cottages but he wanted to stand out so he had the two buildings join together with a single facade.

In addition to transforming the architecture of the two buildings, he also built a small mineral museum inside. The house still exists now and houses three apartments, it is a listed building. The interesting thing is that it is a precursor of the Art Deco that conquered the world a century later.

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