Monday, 25 July 2011

Fabulous Exhibitions at Buckingham Palace

Oh wow! Both of this year's exhibitions are breathtaking. The first one is a selection of Faberge items that the Royal Family have been collecting since Queen Victoria. It has to be one of the largest collections in the world. Everything from the Mosaic Easter Egg to art deco cigarette cases and small carved animals. Then there are delicate flowers, a tiny miniature tea set, desk seals and even a clockwork elephant.

The other exhibit is Kate Middleton's Wedding Dress. As HM The Queen said to the Duchess of Cambridge when she inspected the exhibit - it looks like a ghost!

It is on a stand in the centre of the Ballroom with the veil and diamond Cartier 'Halo' tiara suspended above it. There is a video about the making of the dress, behind glass a panel of the lace to be examined and a chance to walk around the stand to get a good look at the dress.

(Copyright the Royal collection)                                      

Buckingham Palace is open to the public until 3rd October and tickets really are a 'hot ticket' item this year so it is advisable to book early.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

A Busy Week Ahead

Yes, very busy. On Tuesday I will be counting swans; Wednesday visiting a castle; Thursday evening attending a beach party in London and on Friday strolling through some fabulous rooms.

As you can imagine, I am hoping for good weather on Tuesday when I embark from Eton Bridge to sail up the River Thames to Cookham watching the Swan-uppers. This is an annual event led by the Queen's Swan Master to count the Mute Swan population, ring the cygnets and, most importantly, check the health of these beautiful birds.

I will be staying in Windsor so that on Wednesday I can make my umpteenth visit to the Castle, the oldest still inhabited castle in the world. (You can read about some of it on my TravelEditor page).

The beach party is a bit of an exaggeration. I've been invited to what I assume is a sales junket for the City of Sarasota on Florida's west coast. I used to live in the adjoining city, know Sarasota very well and, of course, know some of their tourism people. And, naturally, they want more press coverage! (Again, check out my TravelEditor page - so far there are three Sarasota based articles).

The fabulous rooms are those of Buckingham Palace which opens to the public on 23rd July. For sheer exuberance the d├ęcor of the State Rooms takes some beating. What a good job there is a 'pause' where you can relax among some of the most famous paintings in the world - in the Picture Gallery. (Guess what? There are two Buckingham Palace articles on TravelEditor!).

This year's special exhibition is of some of the Faberge items owned by the Royal Family. But probably the most popular exhibit will be a very special Wedding Dress. Yes, that worn by Kate Middleton when she married Prince William earlier this year. (No prizes - go to TravelEditor).

Back to the Swan-upping. If any of you are in the vicinity on Tuesday, do give me a wave on the Press Boat! That's the one with the cameras - natch. For details of viewing points go to the Royal Family web site. (

My link to TravelEditor:

People leaving Buckingham Palace from the Bow Room - into the back garden.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Homicide in Hampshire

I'm so excited.  My first crime novel has been published.  Admittedly its an e-book but after years of trying to get my books into print.....  Which doesn't mean that it isn't any good, just that publishers weren't interested.

I have several more books that I will, in time, e-publish but in the meantime, if you have an e-reader, you can buy this one.  Priced very low at $1.99.

To find out more go to:


Friday, 8 July 2011

Tiffany in Florida

The first thing most people think when hearing the name Tiffany is "Breakfast at Tiffany's", that wonderful film starring Audrey Hepburn. But that is the Tiffany jewellery shop in New York.

Then come stained glass windows, lampshades and vases.

The Morse Museum in Winter Haven (not far from Orlando) has one of the largest collections Tiffany-ware. The full title of the museum is actually the Charles Mosmer Morse Museum of American Art. In 1942 Hugh and Jeannette McKean opened the museum and added to it for the next 50 years, including the acquisition of a number of Tiffany items.

In 1957 Laurelton Hall on Long Island was destroyed by fire. Laurelton had been the home of Louis Comfort Tiffany and, of course, had a lot of windows and other items created by Tiffany. Or, to be exact, created at the Tiffany works.

After the fire one of his daughters contacted the McKeans to see if they were interested in buying a window, or part thereof. They bought a lot more.

Over the years they and the museum collected more items and some years ago opened the restored Chapel (a work of art in mosaic) at the Museum. In February this year the Laurelton Hall Galleries opened with the restored Daffodil Terrace, windows, parts of windows, vases and many other artefacts on display.

When visiting the Orlando area do go to the Museum, it is wonderful.

If visiting St. Augustine on Florida's north-east coast you can still see Tiffany-ware - at the Flagler College and in the Lightner Museum.

You can read about both the Tiffany Chapel and the Laurelton Hall Galleries on my page of The Travel Editor:

The Fabulous Tiffany Chapel.  Copyright the Morse Museum.