Anyone for tennis?


So the joy and spectacle of Wimbledon fortnight gets underway today.


Two years on since my last ramblings on this very subject, nothing has changed much – particularly where tennis here in the UK is concerned.

Originally posted on Karl Quinney:

So, the sporting delight and typically British institution that is Wimbledon is here to grace the public’s attention and domain for the next fortnight.


Despite being an avid follower of virtually most sports – some more than others, I make no apologies for the fact that I just cannot get excited about Wimbledon, and tennis itself for that matter.

Wimbledon. Interested? Bothered? Wimbledon. Interested? Bothered?

Not any more anyway.

Strange perhaps as I did actually enjoy tennis growing up as a teenager. Not only were their great household names of McEnroe, Borg, then Becker and Lendl, but back then as kids a group of us would play pretty much two to three times every week for 2-3 hours (sometime more) from spring to autumn. That and cricket.  Evenings, weekends, we’d thrash out five sets until dark.

The fact we were not technically supposed to play where we did (on the hard courts…

View original 615 more words

9 applications of the world’s most versatile cricket pitch…

Originally posted on Our 2G Flicx Pitch BLOG ... :

We believe that we have created the worlds most versatile cricket pitch.

You can roll it up, move it around, use it for hard or soft ball cricket for adults or children playing inside or outside – on top of a surface or rolled in for a more permanent wicket … the choice is yours and you can be assured (with correct preparation to the undersurface) of a consistency bounce that will enable great performances with both bat and ball. All this versatility and flexability comes at only a fraction of the cost of other artificial surfaces… Take a read below at some of the various applications – our top 9 if you like; then if would like a quote for a 2G Flicx Pitch for your club/ school, simply complete our new QUOTE form

9 applications - twitter

1.Indoor Cricket

The 2G Flicx Pitch will solving the age old problem of finding a suitable…

View original 462 more words

Discover Darwin With Evolutionary Events At Down House

Visitors can explore a unique place in the history of science and evolution at the English Heritage home and garden of Charles Darwin.

Down House in Kent is a place of discovery where families can combine a fascinating day out with an entertaining adventure to see the past brought to life with brilliant events.

English Heritage Down House

English Heritage
Down House

Children can delve daringly into the mysteries of science at Discover Darwin on Tuesday 26 through to Friday 29 May. A chance for eager little ones to grab a lab coat, dust off craft kits and discover answers to questions such as, why giraffes have long necks, why a penguin can’t fly and why a monkey has a tail.

Visitors can enjoy an hour-long walking tour of the gardens with Summer Garden Tours. A chance to hear about the experiments Darwin carried out to help prove his theory of evolution and see how the grounds have been restored to their original Victorian layout, complete with authentic planting. Orchids, sundews, peas, hollyhocks and even weeds all played a central role in Charles Darwin’s evolutionary studies. Many of the experiments he conducted on them in his ‘living’ laboratory have now been recreated and form the highlight of these twice-weekly guided tours of the grounds taking place throughout July and August. The tours will bring to life Darwin’s prolific studies of nature both in the garden at Down House as well as the surrounding estate. Families are welcome, but may not be suitable for younger children.

However, children will love to set sail on a nautical adventure as they learn the ropes of seafaring at Seafaring School on Tuesday 28 July through to Saturday 1 August. They can experience life on HMS Beagle when setting sail for the Galapagos Islands ready to make a big discovery and if that wasn’t enough Brilliant Bones on Tuesday 4 to Saturday 8 August gives little ones the chance to uncover the secrets and importance of archaeology. They will be invited to step back to the 1800s and join John Lubbock, the father of archaeology as he’ll regale tales of his digs in Austria and tell how to discover the past by what is found in the ground.

Children can get their thinking caps on and get brains buzzing at Discoveries and Inventions from Tuesday 11 to Saturday 15 August. They can design something great to add to the record books, whilst taking a trip through history’s most exciting inventions.

Small hunters are wanted for Ugly Bug Safari on Tuesday 18 to Saturday 22 August; where children can grab magnifying glasses and join in the big hunt for some mini beasts and discover a bug’s life. This is hotly followed by the popular Victorian Games Galore event, from skittles to quoits, this is a chance to play like a Victorian as kids can master their skills to outmanoeuvre their opponent from croquet to chess.

The fun isn’t just for kids, there is the fantastic chance to join expert gardeners who’ll uncover a different topic every weekend in September on a special gardener-led tour of the productive parts of the gardens. Kick starting the Harvest Season is Verdant Vegetables with heritage salad crops and leafy vegetables, followed by Bee Keeping giving visitors the opportunity to discover how to have a harmonious hive to collecting the fruits of their labour. Then there is Curious Cucurbits as guests can explore the wide range of cucumbers, courgettes, gourds, pumpkins, marrows and squash. The final harvest event is Apple & Pears, from cultivating heritage varieties to picking and storing problematic pears.

There are also hands-on activities available for younger visitors over October half-term, families can pick out their pumpkin at Halloween Pumpkin Carving on Monday 26 to Saturday 31 October and show off their carving skills as little ones scare themselves silly.

Back by popular demand, is an incredible opportunity to see Darwin’s garden as the nights grow darker and the stars grow brighter at Sky at Night – Star Gazing on Friday 20 November.   Visitors will be introduced to astronomy and hear expert talks and top tips, before looking through the telescopes to explore the night sky and gaze among the twinkling stars in a wonderful twilight atmosphere. It is advised to book in advance. This is followed by Origin Weekend on Saturday 21 – Sunday 22 November, as visitors can celebrate the anniversary of ‘Origin Day’ with a variety of specialist talks and tours.

A Natural Christmas: Decoration Making and Gifts inspired by Nature will bring the 2015 events to a close on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 November as visitors can see how Victorian house staff would have celebrated Christmas. The opportunity for festive craft making using natural foliage found in the garden while families weave their magic to make small seasonal items, from winter stems, to holly and pines cones.

200th Anniversary of Battle of Waterloo to be marked at Apsley House and Wellington Arch

The Duke of Wellington’s handwritten orders from the Battle of Waterloo, his battle sword, and a pair of original ‘Wellington Boots’ are among the objects that will go on display in two new exhibitions next year at the two central London properties associated with the battle and its victorious commander – Wellington Arch and Apsley House.  

Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington

Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington

On 18th June 1815, in a terrible confrontation in present-day Belgium, the first Duke of Wellington commanded an allied army which, aided by the Prussian forces of Marshal Blucher, finally defeated the French Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte. The victory ended over 20 years of conflict in Europe and the wider world.

The Battle of Waterloo by William Allan

The Battle of Waterloo by William Allan

Opening on Saturday 18 April 2015 and to mark the Waterloo bicentenary, the two exhibitions at Apsley House and Wellington Arch will together explore the life of the Iron Duke and one of the most important battles in English and European history.

Built in 1825-27, Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner was intended as a proclamation of Wellington’s victories over Napoleon. The Arch is surmounted by the largest bronze sculpture in Europe, depicting the angel of peace descending on the four-horsed chariot of war.

Wellington Arch

Wellington Arch

Hyde Park Corner

Hyde Park Corner

A new exhibition at Wellington Arch: Waterloo 1815 – The Battle for Peace, will give an overview of the battle, the reasons for it, the people involved in it, and its legacy. Items on display include the sword the Duke of Wellington carried at Waterloo, his handwritten battle orders on scraps of vellum, and an original pair of ‘Wellington boots’. The leather boots that Wellington had custom-made for campaigning were much admired and imitated: adapted over the years to new materials, they still remain popular today.

Apsley House stands opposite the Wellington Arch – still home to the Dukes of Wellington today, Apsley House has changed comparatively little since the first Duke lived there. The house was enlarged in 1828 while Wellington was Prime Minister by the architect Benjamin Dean Wyatt.

Inside Apsley House

Inside Apsley House

In 2015 the Waterloo Gallery – where Wellington held the annual Waterloo Banquets to commemorate the great victory – will be re-presented. A copy of the only surviving menu plan from the annual banquets will go on display and the magnificent Portuguese silver gilt centrepiece and dinner service will be returned to the Gallery, taking its place on a formal banqueting table. The service was commissioned by the Portuguese Council of Regency in 1816 to honour Wellington’s role in liberating Portugal.

Elsewhere in the house, a new exhibition will open with a host of Wellington and Waterloo memorabilia and visitors to Apsley House will be able to explore the collection via four new multimedia tours.

Outside of London, Walmer Castle in Kent – where the Duke of Wellington spent part of each year in his role as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and where he died in 1852 – will be redisplayed in 2015 to shed light on the Duke and on the other fascinating figures from the castle’s history.

Walmer Castle, Kent

Walmer Castle, Kent

New displays will chart Wellington’s career, the story of his time spent at Walmer, his death there, and the iconic ‘celebrity’ status he attained during and after his life.