"..a bardy view!"

Move down ladies and gents – Knife wielding incident at Buckingham Palace!

"They're changing the guard at Buckingham Palace; a man got
tasered and went down with malice"

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February 3, 2013 Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Europe, Events, General, History, Humour, London, Photography, Politics, The Philippines, Travel, United Kingdom, USA | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The London Olympics – Stop Bloody Moaning!

TowerbridgeolympicsHere at Bardiness HQ the control room is buzzing in anticipation at the imminent start of the greatest event of the century.

20,000 journalists are arriving to the Sceptered Isles, as well as 10,000 athletes, and over a million tourists.

Very soon the Olympic torch will pass just yards from the Bardy Command Centre, to eventually end up at the Olympic Stadium on the 27th July.

The hot news is that the main security contractor G4S (aka Group 4 Securitas) have failed to perform and grossly underestimated their ability to provide the necessary manpower. No gold medals for them then.

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July 17, 2012 Posted by | Boxing, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Events, General, London, Olympic Games, Photography, Politics, Sport, Travel, United Kingdom | , , | 2 Comments

“#It’s More Fun in the Philippines!”

ItsmorefuninthephillipinesWhat is? Well everything according to the Philippines Department of Tourism – It's the new slogan and has replaced "WoW Philippines!" (which I thought was rather good) and some other one which was so mundane that I can't even remember it! 

More fun in the Philippines is a bit like Marmite – you either love it or hate it (now there's a ditty you wouldn't forget in a hurry).

Anyhow, to mixed review, and some cheeky wit, the slogan has gone viral on the internet. Particularly with tweeters and the ubiquitous meme manufacturers.

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January 9, 2012 Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Humour, Photography, The Philippines, Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Lacock – A Wizard of a Place……

DSCF0583 Mrs Bardiness (the world renown historian on Tudor affairs) and I, were not aware prior to our short break in the village of Lacock that it had been used several times in the Harry Potter movies.

I'd heard that it had been used for Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford by the BBC, as well as their production of Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice.

We went primarily because it's a village owned by England's National Trust who have captured it in a time capsule.

There are no buildings here which are older than the 18th century. Many date back to the 15th century, and some as far back as the 13th. It was mentioned in the Domesday book of 1086, where it was recorded as having been both a Roman and Saxon settlement. Egads! You're in for a history lesson dear reader! Cranford_1_470x313

Lacock Abbey was founded by Ela, Duchess of Salisbury in 1232, who was also the ward of Richard the Lionheart. It was even the place where the first photographic negative was created by William Fox-Talbot in the 1820's, whose ancestors acquired the village through William Sharrington who purchased the abbey from Henry VIII after his dissolution of the monasteries.

Sharrington set about converting the abbey into a manor house, although much of the original features remain. (I'm writing on the hoof so bear with me!)

Lakock is 100 miles west of London in Wiltshire on the River Avon, and about 10 miles from the City of Bath in Somerset. Bath is renown the world over for its Roman Baths and famous Georgian architecture, but Lacock is a village which was little known until after 1946 when the last of the line bequeathed it to the Trust. Latterly film and television companies discovered it, and nowadays the village accommodates four filming events every year. DSCF0651

Yet surprisingly this is not a film set. Nor a fossilised village even though it is effectively frozen in time, but it is a living, thriving and working community of about 400 people with family shops and businesses that form it's life blood.

There are no ubiquitous yellow road lines or traffic signs, and the residents are not permitted to make external alterations to their buildings due to their graded listings, and any interior changes must be approved by the National Trust.

So don't think these residents are country bumkins – far from it. But they clearly value the uniqueness of their position, and indeed, outsiders who fancy living in it would go through a strict selection process.

The National Trust would only consider applications from people who have some historic or family connection with the village and be willing to be productive in the community. They certainly wouldn't entertain the second-home city dwellers looking for a holiday retreat. Which just goes to show money doesn't buy everything. DSCF0643

As a local remarked to me – it may seem idyllic, but everyone knows everyone and privacy or seclusion is a luxury which cannot be afforded. When the film crews are present they have to suffer a great deal of inconvenience because invariably their properties will have cameras and lighting outside their homes until the early hours, and their movements are severely restricted.

In addition the village receives thousands of tourists from all over the world almost every day, and yet it seems very happy and accommodating. For all that, there is an incredible calmness and slow pace, and the locals know that hassle or not, they wouldn't give any of it up. Their children are encouraged to grow up in it, and to that end there is a primary school, and the older ones only have to travel three miles to Chippenham to get their senior education.

Families here are very fortunate for they live in a microcosm of history, embraced by the modern world which is theirs to utilise with ease, and yes…wifi is easily available! This is not a world akin to the secular Amish or Mennonite communities of North America with all their hang-ups – nothing could be further. These people are just regular Brits. DSCF0653

You'd be forgiven for thinking, when walking around Lacock on a late summer evening, that you have been transported back in time. It's a time when the day-visitors have gone, and the village recovers itself. It's a time when the streets become quiet and the only sound is birdsong or the occasional trot of horses hooves on cobbles. Somewhere, in the local inns, people are eating and drinking, but they fade away unnoticed and unheard. 

Residents sell plants, herbs, books and handmade items outside their homes. Just drop a pound through their letter-box. They even provide carrier bags. It's just a sideline. Not Amazon – but Avonon!

Sadly, things are going to change in Lacock. An employee of the Hotel we stayed in remarked that the yellow lines and parking signs are coming soon. Apparently all avenues have been considered, all options analysed, but over recent years they have failed. Many of the ever increasing flux of visitors which arrive are not willing to use the designated car-park outside the village, and drive with impunity throughout it in the belief that their car can take them anywhere. A village with no visible parking restrictions is an open invitation for a driver to abuse. Lacock's charm is it's lack of traffic and that is slowly being eroded.

The residents don't want the yellow lines on the road. They don't want the sign posts, but the times have dictated them. The parking cones which are dotted around are not working, and blight the scenery, so it's the lesser of two evils. This will change the village – the 21st Century has finally arrived – if not the 20th! DSCF0650

Nevertheless, I suspect that after all said and done, it will protect the village further, and the film crews will just have to work harder and cover up the signage when they are present.

If they can cover the abbey with fake snow for Harry Potter and transform it into Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry, they can do anything.

Lacock is a village where the history of England can be measured by each footstep. (The cauldron above dates from the 13th Century – it's not a facsimile!)

From the Roman Invasion of Britannia, through Saxon times, through the Plantagenets and Tudors, to the English Civil war with the Stuarts and Oliver Cromwell, to the Restoration, the Industrial Revolution and right up to the invention of photography. Now that's magic!

July 4, 2011 Posted by | Conservation, Culture, Education, Film, General, History, Photography, Religion, Science, Travel, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The iconic and Incomparable Audrey Hepburn – a personal tribute….

Feminine beauty can be defined both within and without. Yet there are few women who exude both. Marilyn Monroe – stunning, flawed and vulnerable. Rita Hayworth, stunning, confident and – vulnerable. Sophia Loren, stunning, strong etc.  Audrey

What identifies these stars is the era they came from. A period spanning 20 years between 1945 and 1965.

There are others of course – Eva Gardner, Lana Turner, Jane Russell, and so on. Each one with a particular asset (or two).

Non of them could be regarded as great actors in comparison with their more thespian contemporaries, but they symbolised womanhood as far as the silver screen followers were concerned.

It was the age were women were women, girdled and strapped to enhance form and desire.

The 1960's marked a change in the presentation of women, the burning of the bra, and the freedom to wear clothes less restricted but allowing flow and natural grace – Raquel Welch being the exception.

A new breed of stars graced the screen – and with them heralded the girl next door persona – the girl who could be attainable.

Somewhere in the middle of all this one stood out above all. Audrey Hepburn personified womanhood in a different light. Waif-like, elegant, stylish and free from the trappings of the hour-glass figure which most young women then, and even more today, aspire to. Audrey2

But before I am accused of being a male chauvinist, drooling over times past – (after all I make these social observations having been innocent of all the charms at the time – mainly because I wasn't alive in the first half of the period and secondly because I was a child in the second half, a child in the sixties, not of them – there's a difference) it is because that during my years of development I recognised beauty both outside and in.

The prepubescent youth who slobbered together with his equally hormonally challenged friends over Raquel Welch in One Million Years BC, also watched enthralled at Audrey in movies like My Fair Lady and Breakfast at Tiffany's.

But it was a different stirring of the loins.

It was the realisation that women are more than sculptured flesh, painted and dressed to excite, but on the contrary, there are women who exude sex appeal with dignity and grace, with charm, intelligence and modesty.

If all of that could be bottled, then Audrey Hepburn had gallons of the stuff.

Many try to emulate her, some have been compared to her, but non have come close. She was unique. She was a fashion designer's dream. Her iconography ensures her face adorns a myriad of places.

Advertisers perpetually seek an "Audrey".

But how many know of her? how many look beyond the veneer? She asked those very questions herself. She devoted much of her time as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and worked tirelessly for them. No doubt in part because of her experiences as a child in danger during WWII.

Always bemused and astounded by the attention she garnered, once when she was being photographed by a US magazine during a UNICEF mission, she was asked if they could airbrush out her wrinkles "Don't you dare airbrush a single wrinkle" she replied with horror "I've earned every single one!"

She died on the 20th January 1993 at just 63 years old. Eighteen years ago. But she has left a legacy and memory that few will ever forget.

Her son Sean Hepburn Ferrer devoted a book to her entitled "An Elegant Spirit". Three simple words which perfectly sum up a life. Many seek such a spirit, some may lose one, some may hold on to one.

Perhaps we are all looking for one – an elegant spirit. I found one!

So if you find yours, don't lose it, and never let it go.

"For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone." – Audrey Hepburn



February 16, 2011 Posted by | Arts, Books, Education, Film, General, History, Photography | 6 Comments

I've been searching for a travelogue platform to write in real time about my day to day travel experiences. Travelbloglogo.3

There are many social network travel sites – Virtual Tourist and Globosapiens for example (I've dabbled with them both) but I find most of them rather self-aggrandizing. 

What I find particularly unsavoury for my palette is the need for members of these sites to accompany their moniker with slogans or mottos. You know the type of thing "Take nothing but your memories, leave nothing but your footprints" (actually that could be one of mine), or "A million miles starts from a single step", and so on ad nauseam.

What is it with people who seem to think their motto is profound and unique, when in essence they have been said before, over and over by someone else – perhaps with slight variation?

My own (yes, I have one on one of the aforementioned) is "Leave your mottos at home – they're  pretentious". Hmmm, that could be construed as quite pretentious too! Best not to have any in my opinion.

Still, after a little research I have landed on Travelblog. I like its crisp and clear presentation. I like its informative and educational elements, and I like its ease of use.

I like the discreet advertising which is not "in yer face", and I am impressed by the quality of contributions. I would be happy to pay a small subscription for it (such as I do here on typepad), but Travelblog is free – gratis! I like it's professional yet understated approach, and I admire its confidence. (I'm not being paid for this article incidentally).

So the facility in a nutshell is that a day to day travelogue can be generated and uploaded at will, but if an internet connection was poor, then it can be saved easily and hassle free. Friends and acquaintances can read the daily (or weekly) events, with accompanying photos, and can be kept up to date. To dip in or out at their leasure. Indeed, they may even see their own friends and relations at the same time depending where their correspondent may be! This is a lot more practical (and more fun) than sending emails, and it has the potential to generate a much wider, but no less interested audience.

For me this is an exciting prospect. All good things need a method of delivery. Sites like Facebook, twitter, Hubpages, Squidoo and blogs such as this are perfectly positioned to be utilised for it.

So now I embark on the next step.

And the motto is? Watch this space.

Now…that would make a good one!

October 19, 2010 Posted by | Culture, Education, General, Photography, The Philippines, Travel, Weblogs | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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