Happy Halloween…and carving

Originally posted on Karl Quinney:

It’s that time of year again.

31st October. Pumpkins aplenty

31st October. Pumpkins aplenty

Well, as with most things the shops and superstores have had every related item they can muster on the shelves for months to set the scene.

Yes, it’s Halloween.

Typically my two kids have been up for what is essentially a ‘dress up, scare and sweet fest’ for a good week or so now. And as part of the whole shebang, boxes of costumes, masks and hats have been unearthed from the loft, dusted down and tried for size with the kids in the street. Plus two whopping great pumpkins have been dissected and carved out by the junior Qs (see below), to be adorned with the obligatory tea lights for full effect once dusk has settled.

Mr and Mrs Pumpkin Q

Mr and Mrs Pumpkin Q

(given my less-than-handy prowess at all things creative, I naturally and wisely kept a safe distance and made sure the carving kit was…

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Did you know?…Halloween

Originally posted on Karl Quinney:

The word Halloween is a shortening of All Hallows’ Evening, also known as Hallowe’en or All Hallows’ Eve.

31st October. Pumpkins aplenty


The history of Halloween goes back more than 2,000 years. The earliest celebrations of Halloween – or Samhain (pronounced “sah-win”), were among the Celtic people and it had its beginnings in an ancient, pre-Christian Celtic festival of the dead.

The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. Samhain was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and prepare for winter.


The ancient Gaels believed that on 31st October, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops. The festival would frequently involve bonfires. It is believed that the fires attracted insects to the area…

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Ideal Christmas gift for heritage lovers!

A change of focus to start the week, particularly towards my publishing involvement in the world of garden and heritage tourism.

(you will recall I am Content Editor for Discover Britain’s Gardens, Historic Homes & Castles magazine)

For those with a passion for visiting gardens and exploring our British heritage, here’s an ideal Christmas gift.

The 2015 edition of the Hudson’s Historic Houses & Gardens, which will be available to purchase from Monday 8th December.

Hudson’s Historic Houses & Gardens, now in its 28th year, brings together more than 1,000 of our grandest stately homes, historic houses and gardens including private and public owned properties, the National Trusts, English Heritage, Historic Scotland, Cadw and Historic Royal Palaces.

Organised regionally, the guide helps readers to find places to visit near their home or is an unrivalled tool for planning (and dreaming) about trips to other parts of the UK. The 500 page directory contains over 1500 stunning images, maps, opening times, details of catering, tours, plant sales, shopping, special events and other facilities.

Hudsons 2015 - Alwick Garden cover (2)

The 2015 edition features over 100 pages of fascinating interviews and articles catching up with Fiona Bruce and the Antiques Roadshow team at Chenies Manor House in the latest series of the popular show; Dame Jenny Abramsky talking about her 5 years as Chairman of the Heritage Lottery Fund and the difference she thinks it has made to Britain.; Simon Jenkins, Chairman of the National Trust, picking some country house views that he judges the best in Britain.

Britain’s best rose gardeners share their secrets and their favourite flowers plus information on where to celebrate 2015’s anniversaries from Magna Carta and the Jacobite risings to the Battle of Waterloo.

Other features consider the rescue of a ruined mansion in Cumbria, how country houses survived two world wars, plus trips by car and on foot, Hudson’s Heritage Award winners, recipes and much more.

Pre-publication copies can be ordered at a special price of £13.99 from http://www.hudsonsheritage.com.

After publication, Hudson’s Historic Houses & Gardens is available from all major retailers including WHSmith’s, Waterstones, Amazon plus independents at a price of £16.99.