Welcome to the blog
The village of Churton in West Cheshire, a short drive south of Chester, is a terrific base for exploring many different aspects of life and landscape on the edge of the Cheshire Basin, along the Dee Valley and further afield into north and mid Wales.
The basic premise of the blog, is that everything I talk about should be do-able within a day’s drive (there and back) of Churton. Some of my topics may be on my doorstep (quite literally where the garden and local footpaths are concerned) but others may require short drives or day trips. This includes all my topics, be they walks, visits to heritage, eating out and anything else that interests me on the day. I have a great love of the past, and many of my posts will be about local history on both sides of the Welsh border.
I bought my house in Churton in late 2019 and moved here in February 2021, and although I was (and still am) a committed Londoner, I am now having great fun taking advantage of all that the northwest has to offer. Between leaving London and arriving in a somewhat higgledy-piggledy fashion in Churton after lockdown, I had lived for two years in Aberdovey on the west coast, a lovely experience.
Now, both the house and garden, each requiring a serious amount of restoration work, are keeping me very busy, helped to an enormous degree by my father who lives in Rossett. It is often difficult to abandon the house and garden when so much remains to be done, but the area’s country walks and villages lure me away. From the point of view of a blogger, this whole area is full of things to talk about both right now and in the future.
For those wondering about my qualifications, I trained as an archaeologist a long time ago. In my university vacations I spent my time digging up most of Britain from the earliest prehistory to the Roman period, including the Cuppin Street site in Chester in the mid 1980s. Since then I have done all sorts of things, both within archaeology and beyond it, spending much of my career working in mobile and Internet, with a major strand in website and software development management. Some years ago I decided to go back to archaeology to do a PhD (and if you are feeling reckless, my PhD thesis about prehistoric livelihoods in today’s deserts of Egypt has been organized as a website, which you can find here). Last year I wrote a weekly slot on the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology’s Facebook page, focusing on object histories.
Although I am not a historian, I have done a lot of work on local history in my former homes in southeast London’s Surrey Commercial Docks and Aberdovey on the midwest Wales coastline, my research written up in blogs about each area. Even so, most of my historical posts are based on secondary research and if you are here for a serious research purpose, please check the sources I list on each post.
A blog is organized by date, like a diary. In many ways it is a far from ideal format for what is essentially magazine content. Some of the posts are very long, and the blog itself is difficult to navigate. There is a fix for the latter, however. Under each of the page headings along the top (Walking, Heritage, Objects of Everyday Life) you will find links to the main posts on each topic, together with a list of labels at the right of the blog, which should help you to find topics of potential interest.
If you choose to follow the blog by clicking on the Follow by Email button just underneath the Search This Blog field (my thanks if you do) you will receive an email whenever I post anything, but nothing else. No spam/junk mail or other unsolicited email will be sent to you from here.
In the photo to the right, on a superb day with my parents at the temple of Abu Simbel on the border between Egypt and Nubia, I’m the untidy one on the left.
If you would like to get in touch, it would be great to hear from you. Please use the contact form on the Contact page. I don’t show my email address on the site to prevent an inundation of junk mail, but the contact form simply routes any messages to my personal email address, from which I will reply.