Local History 

  “My Work as a Local History Detective”

    A talk that is intended to encourage others to seek out their local, and family past. 
 “Moses Holden 1777 - 1864: Self-educated Genius”    
Self-educated mathematician, Astronomer, telescope constructor, lens grinder, Evangelical Methodist preacher, Freeman of Preston, and much more

                                           Natural History related:

 This wonderful aerial photograph of part of the islands was taken by Professor Bernd Rohrmann of Melbourne University. He has given me permission to use it in my talk about the islands.
1.   St Kilda: The Lonely Isles”     (Above)
      A talk intended to whet the appetite of those still capable of going to the islands, and satisfy                    the curiosity of those who can’t!!

2.  The Smaller Isles of the Hebrides: In a Small Boat”
     Visits to some of the smaller groups of islands that Caledonian MacBrayne can’t get to.

3.    “Wild About Dorset”

4    “Follow me – I’m a Naturalist”

5.     “Oh Dear! What can the ‘Machair’ be?   
          The story of an endangered habitat and its flora.
        "St. Kilda: A Social History"   
                                             (above)                                                  A close look at how the remote islanders fared on this distant Hebridean outpost.


Scilly Isles

The sub-tropical gardens on the island of Tresco, part of the Scilly Isles, are completely different to any other garden in the United Kingdom. It is only in this part of the country, warmed by the south-westerly Gulf Stream, that many of the plants here are able to survive and thrive.

This talk looks at two day visits, on the last day of July and the first day of August.

NB  Don't expect to grow many of these plants in your own gardens (unless, of course, you live on the Scilly Isles!!)

This talk looks at the diverse range of plants on a one-day visit at the beginning of August. The diverse range of colours and textures are amazing in this coastal, ravine garden.
There is an 'other worldliness' about many parts of this tranquil Cornish setting.


"Yes, we have no Galanthus"
A story of the humble Snowdrop
A talk that is suitable for all sorts of groups, as long as you derive pleasure from this iconic herald of Spring.
I also think that this talk would be most appropriate between November and March, rather than at any other time.
Snippets of relevant poetry are interspersed among the photographs.
    "Levens Hall: Park and Gardens"   (above)
          A number of visits to this popular North Lancashire venue. 
The 'handkerchiefs' can be seen quite clearly hanging from this tree at Holker Hall 

               "The Hornbeam to the Handkerchief Tree"
                  An enjoyable hour with some of our loveliest and oldest trees.  This one is developing into one of my most popular talks.

                      See Press Cutting, here 
              "Gresgarth Hall Gardens: Thro' the Seasons"
Enjoy the colours and textures of the changing seasons; in fact you can almost smell the changing aromas! 

A vast patch of Camassia and Narcissus species at the foot of the Red Border, in May.
"Parcevall Hall: A Place of Retreat"

'The Sub-Tropical Gardens of Abbotsbury:  My View' 
This Dorset garden, in the delightful village of Abbotsbury is spectacular. 
"Holker Hall Gardens"
The beautiful Cartmel Peninsula is well worth a visit for a number of reasons, but none more than the stately Holker Hall. 
"A Year in Sizergh Castle Park and Gardens" 
The gardens that have been created around a magnificent limestone rock garden, are just one of South Cumbria's jewels. This talk follows its progress through a typical year.

An interesting garden not far from Henley-in-Arden, probably best known for it Topiarised Yews, known as "The Sermon on the Mount". However, there's a lot more to this garden.
"ROUSHAM HOUSE, Oxfordshire"
Much of the work here was done by William Kent in the 1700s, and has been described by Monty Don as 'one of England's greatest gardens'.
This is the frontage to Bourton House, but we're also going to visit Batsford Arboretum and the India-inspired Sezincote, all of which are in a two and a half mile triangle in the beautiful Cotswolds.
 'Dahlia Walk' is just one of the features of this restored Victorian Gardens that take you to Egypt and China...…..and back again!
"From Victoria to Ventnor"
Image result for osborne house
A visit to two contrasting gardens on the
Isle of Wight - Osborne House and the sub-tropical
gardens at Ventnor on the south facing coast of the island.
and  finally:

    “Inns, Taverns and Beer Houses of Preston”   

                                (Five talks)
    a.   “Invincibles to INN-vincibles”
    b.   “The Iconic Taverns of Preston”
    c.   “Licensed to Stroll the Market Square”
    d.   “Now, where did that name come from?”
    e.   “The Economic Growth of Preston, and their associated Watering Holes.”

Want a speaker at short notice?
Give me a ring; I can usually oblige.

Tel:      01772 768637        Mobile:  07726 318819

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