Little Known Tourist Sights of the United Kingdom, Posted from the UK

Activities at Ferry Meadows Country Park Pt 1

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Approximately three miles from Peterborough town centre lies the country park of Ferry Meadows.  With 500 acres of woodland and water, you’ll be spoiled for choice when choosing an outdoor activity.  For now, let’s see what there is to do on land.

On Land Recreation

Open Meadows and Fields

Coney Meadow, Ferry Meadows Country Park © Copyright 2012 by phoenix2327 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

With the wide open fields and green meadows that make up Ferry Meadows, you can easily enjoy your favourite outdoor activities without cramping anyone else’s good times; or their’s, yours.  Fly kites with the kids, play football or cricket with friends, throw the Frisbee around with Fido.  You can revel in all these activities and more.  Be sure to stop at the Visitor Centre as they have a selection of games and toys available for purchase so you can enhance your day at Ferry Meadows.

There are also playgrounds dotted around Ferry Meadows where you can turn the kids loose to burn off some energy and do their own thing while you sit nearby and bask in the sunshine.


Ferry Meadows offers long winding paths through pleasant, green scenery for those who like to wander while they ponder.  Most of the paths are surfaced making them wheelchair and baby stroller friendly.

The Nature Reserve is one of the few places in Ferry Meadows where people are prohibited from walking. This is so the wildlife can flourish and develop the way Nature intended.  There are, however, two hides were you can survey the Reserve without disturbing its occupants.  Remember to bring binoculars and/or a camera.  You never know what might be visiting.

Starling in the Bush, Ferry Meadows ©Copyright 2012 by phoenix2327 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The Nature Reserve isn’t the only place where you can observe animals.  They are, in fact, all around you.  Keep a sharp eye out and your camera ready.  This cheeky fellow was behind my left shoulder, right at eye level, avidly inspecting me.  If my daughter hadn’t pointed him out, I would never have noticed him.


National Cycle Network 63 and The Green Wheel, Ferry Meadows Country Park ©Copyright 2012 by phoenix2327 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Bike riding has always been a great pastime that you can enjoy solo or share with family and friends.  Ferry Meadows has miles of off-road, traffic-free cycling paths that also take in the National Cycle Network Route 63.  So pump up those tyres, get your helmet on and pedal your way around Ferry Meadows.

Haven’t got a bike?  No problem.  Bicycle hire is available at Lakeside Leisure where you can also pick a map of the Peterborough Green Wheel.  The Green Wheel is a network of cycle routes that provides continuous sustainable routes around the city of Peterborough.  Part of this route goes along Overton and Gunwade Lakes and through Short Meadow.

Horse Riding

Riding Through Ferry Meadows, Lynch Riding Farm

If you prefer a different sort of riding, there are dedicated horse trails in Ferry Meadows for those who enjoy riding horses and ponies in tranquil, bucolic settings.  You can contact Lynch Farm Riding, located on the edge of Ferry Meadows, for more information on hack rides.

If you’re interested in more innovative ways of exploring Ferry Meadows, have a look at these:

Segway Tours

People with Segways

By Elizabeth from burlington (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (

Ferry Meadows has approximately 500 acres of woodland and lake.  That’s quite a bit of ground to try cover in one visit.  But if you’re determined to see it all, maybe a Segway tour is the thing for you.

Segways are battery-powered, two-wheeled, self-balancing, personal transport vehicles.  Reaching speeds of up to 12.5 miles/20.1 km per hour, these nippy little machines can get you where you want to go in Ferry Meadows quickly so you can spend more time enjoying Ferry Meadows.

You can book Segway rides around Ferry Meadows at Nene Glides.


Richard Smith [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (

Orienteering is a sport that involves finding your way through unfamiliar territory as quickly as possible.  Using a compass and a map to guide you, race family and friends to checkpoints around Ferry Meadows and compare scores.

There are two orienteering courses available at Ferry Meadows.  The short course, approximately, 2.9k (1.8miles) is recommended for beginners.  There are also medium and long courses for more experienced orienteers as well as for those who want to challenge themselves.


By Stepshep (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons. org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

Yay, treasure hunt.  Who doesn’t like a treasure hunt?  Yes, geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunt that’s been updated for the electronic age.  Using global positioning system (GPS) receivers or mobiles, players try to find geocaches hidden around Ferry Meadows.  Interested?  Click here to find out more at Geocaching.



If you’d like to place a geocache, get in touch with the Nene Park Trust.


Golfers at Orton Meadows Golf Course, Ferry Meadows ©Copyright 2012 by phoenix2327 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Anyone who enjoys interrupting a good walk with a round of golf should make their way to Orton Meadows Golf Course.  An 18-hole, 5613 yard, par 67 golf course located at the entrance to Ferry Meadows, Orton Meadows also boasts a 12-hole Pitch and Putt course suitable for all ages and abilities.  For more information, contact Nene Park Golf.

Ferry Meadows Miniature Railway

One of my favourite activities at any leisure park is the tour.  It’s a chance for me to kick back for a bit and take in the scenery while conserving energy.

The Ferry Meadows Miniature Railway first opened to the public in 1978 and is still going strong.  Board up at Ham Lane Station where your journey will take you along the perimeter of Coney Meadow, pass Overton and Lynch Lakes and stops by Lakeside Leisure where you can get some refreshments.  Afterward, you can take a stroll and stop by some of the sights that caught your eye on the ride up and enjoy them at your leisure.

Thomas the Tank Engine, Ferry Meadows Miniature Railway, Ferry Meadows Photographer: Ian Britton

These are just some of the ways you can explore Ferry Meadows.  Next time, we’re going to look at some of the things you can do on water.

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Ferry Meadows Country Park

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Holidays are made for taking it slow and chilling.  It’s a time to indulge in our favourite hobbies or maybe learn a new skill.  It’s a time for kicking back and reconnecting with family and friends and really enjoying ourselves.  Holidays give us something to look forward and helps provide the incentive we need to get through the remaining 50 weeks.  But there are times when we just can’t wait for those two weeks to roll around.  We need to get away and relax NOW.  But it’s not always that simple.

With the economy that way it is, even staycations can be as costly as going abroad.  Even if you do find a good deal on late availability, it’s not easy to get time off work at the last moment.  So what can you do?  Consider this.

Lake in Ferry Meadows

Lake in Ferry Meadows (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A scant three miles from the town centre of Peterborough, nestled within Nene Park, are 500 acres of verdant meadows, tranquil lakes and ponds that make up Ferry Meadows Country Park.  With a wide variety of outdoor activities to choose from, Ferry Meadows is ideal for those looking for a break from the old routine that won’t break the bank.

Ferry Meadows is easily accessible by car, bus, train and boat.  There is free 24-hour mooring available on Overton Lake.

Set among picturesque lakes and woods, you can indulge in such outdoor recreational activities as walking, cycling, horse riding and water sports, to name a few. You can take the kids to the playgrounds located around Ferry Meadows, ride with them on the miniature railway and share special moments while feeding the ducks or, perhaps, teaching them how to fish.

Not sure where to start?  Stop by the Visitor Centre for more information on what to do and any special activities taking place on the day.  While you’re there, browse through the games, toys, gifts and souvenirs that are available for purchase.

The Granary at Orton Waterville. The Granary i...

The Granary at Orton Waterville. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you start feeling peckish during the day, Ferry Meadows has two eateries, the Lakeside Cafe and the Green Cafe where you can partake of some refreshments and snacks.  If you’ve worked up a hungry-man appetite however, stop by The Granary Beefeater Grill restaurant just outside the entrance to Ferry Meadows off Oundle Road for a hearty meal and drinks. With all that’s on offer at Ferry Meadows, you may want more than one day to enjoy it all. Why not make a weekend of it and book a room at the nearby Premier Inn or Holiday Inn.  Alternatively, you can take advantage of thecaravan sites available at Ferry Meadows.

Two-week holidays are brilliant, no doubt about it.  But if you don’t think you can hold out till then, why not give Ferry Meadows Country Park a try?

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Qualities of a Good House Sitter

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In previous posts, we’ve covered what house sitting is and some of the benefits of becoming a housesitter.  We’re now going to look at a some of the qualities that make for a good house sitter.


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As a house sitter, the care of the garden, pets and any other jobs agreed upon by you and the homeowners during their absence will rest on your shoulders.  The owners want someone who is capable of dealing with routine issues like a sink backing up, as well as major problems such as the heating system breaking down.

They also want someone who understands that their pets are members of the family.  It’s not enough to feed and water them.  You’ll need to exercise them and give them extra hugs and cuddles to help ease the stress of missing their family.  If the pet becomes ill, it’s you who’ll need to take him to the veterinarian and provide any after care.

Very few homeowners are likely to just ‘leave you to it’.  Review with the owners any contact details they provide to ensure they are accurate.  Make sure you understand when the owners wish to be contacted. Some may want daily phone calls or emails; even if all you have to say is, ‘Everything’s fine.  Enjoy yourselves’.  Others may only wish to be contacted if there is a dire problem that desperately requires their attention.


When you agree to house sit for someone, it is not unreasonable for the homeowners to expect you to see the job through.  Their main reason for engaging a house sitter is because they want someone who will oversee the property and give their home the ‘lived in’ look that makes burglars give their house a miss. And they want that house sitter for the entire time they are away.  If you’ve agreed to a six-month house sit, you shouldn’t bail out half-way through because you got a better offer elsewhere or you just don’t want to do it any more. This kind of cavalier attitude will seriously cut down on your chances of getting another assignment.

If you must leave the job due to circumstances beyond your control, you should make arrangements for someone else to takeover and let the homeowners know of the change.  It really is the least you can do.


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Get this one quality right and the rest should fall into place.  Respect isn’t just about saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.  It’s about showing consideration for the homeowners and their property.

While their residence will be your new home for a bit, it doesn’t make it OK to redecorate it to your liking.  The homeowners have every right to expect to find their home in the same or better condition as when they left it.  Every stick of furniture and accessories are in its place for a reason so don’t move anything out of its place unless it’s really in your way.  Make sure, however, you put everything back as it was before the owners’ return.

If the homeowners have chosen you and only you to house sit, don’t move your family, friends, pets and/or current lover in without their knowledge or consent.  Not only is this an abuse of trust and highly unprofessional, it could be viewed as a breach of contract and you could be sued.  As long as you treat the residence as you would want your own home to be treated, you shouldn’t have any problems.

If you feel you possess these basic qualities and would make a good house sitter, check out now to find out more.



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Benefits of Becoming a House Sitter

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Whether you go on holiday for two weeks a year or are a seasoned globetrotter, travel can be expensive.  If I told you there was a way to reduce the cost of travel, I would probably get your full attention, wouldn’t I?  OK, then listen up because there is a way:  by becoming a house sitter.  House sitting is an arrangement between a homeowner and a responsible adult, the house sitter, where the house sitter agrees to move into the residence during the owners’ absence.

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A major benefit of becoming a house sitter is the money you can save on accommodations.  While it’s possible to save some money by staying in budget hotels and hostels, as a house sitter you could save much more because you would live in a comfortable home rent free.  All that would be asked of you in exchange is to look after the home.  This would include gardening, pet care, pool maintenance and any other jobs agreed by you and the homeowners.  The only things you would be expected to pay for are your groceries and phone bill.  If the assignment is a long term one, you may also be responsible for the utility bills.  Despite that, though, it still works out cheaper than the daily cost of a room.

With the money you can save on accommodations, you could spoil yourself with a shopping spree or an extravagant night on the town.  If you’re a forward planner, your savings could be put towards educational fees or a down payment on a house or flat.   Or perhaps those savings could be the capital you need to start that business you’ve been dreaming of.

Staying in a hostel is not without its simple charms.  It can provide ample opportunities for meeting new friends and sharing travel stories.  But the opportunities for a hot shower and some privacy aren’t quite as plentiful.  As a house sitter, you could stay in a well-furnished home with plenty of room to move around in. Imagine having a kitchen with all the mod cons as well a living room all to yourself.  Not to mention reliable plumbing and a water heater that could guarantee you a hot shower or leisurely soak in the bathtub anytime you wanted.  And let’s not forget the restful night’s sleep you could have because you wouldn’t have any noisy roommates keeping you up.


A sitting room in the United Kingdom. Original...

Image via Wikipedia

As you pack for your adventure, you probably don’t imagine homesickness being an issue.  With all the beautiful sights and remarkable people waiting to be experienced by you, when would you possibly have time to feel homesick?  But it happens.  It happens.  You see, the thing that turns an incredible experience into a cherished memory is being able to share it with someone close to you.  You may find yourself thinking, ‘I wish my Mom/Dad/brother/sister/best friend were here.  He/she would have really liked this.’

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When you become a house sitter, the daily routine of looking after a home and possibly a pet or two, can help take the edge off that feeling of isolation.  Also, being part of a community, even temporarily, can give you a sense of belonging.  You’ll make new friends; learn about another culture and possibly a new language. Many homes have computers with webcams and Internet connection which makes staying in touch with family and friends simple.

If you’ve read this far, you may be toying with the idea of becoming a house sitter.  Or, at least, you want to look into it further.  If so, stop by  You can read more about house sitting and decide for yourself if it’s right for you.





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Find Cheap Accommodations through House Sitting

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Travelling around the world, like attending college, is one the best educational experiences around.  It’s an opportunity to learn new things, meet different sorts of people and broaden your outlook on life.  However, like attending college, travel can be costly.

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The expense of accommodations alone can quickly eat up your cash reserves leaving you with very little money to explore the area with.

Hostels are an economical alternative, but they can be noisy places with people coming and going constantly. Privacy is hard to come by as you share a room, kitchen and bathroom facilities with others.  If you prefer tranquillity and a place to call your own, maybe you should consider becoming a house sitter.

House sitting is an arrangement between two individuals, a homeowner and a responsible adult, i.e. the house sitter, whereby the house sitter agrees to move into the homeowners’ residence and occupy it during their absence.  In return for the free accommodation, the house sitter is required to carry out predetermined chores and duties in relation to the maintenance of said abode. These jobs usually include, but are not limited to, gardening and lawn care, pet care, pool maintenance and any other jobs the homeowner and the house sitter have agreed on.

If you prefer to forego the usual tourist traps in favour of experiencing the true culture of a region, house sitting will turn you from a passive observer to an active participant.

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As a house sitter, you will become part of the community and learn firsthand how the locals live.  You’ll meet and chat with neighbours who can fill you in on the finer points of running a household such as mail delivery and rubbish collections as well as where you can get medical/dental services.  You may even find yourself in lively debates about the state of the political situation.

Your new friends will quickly become your ‘go-to’ people when you want recommendations on where to shop for local foods and how to prepare them, the best places to eat and where the best nightlife can be found.  They will also be able to tell you about local customs that will help you integrate into the community more easily.  And they can also teach you commonly used phrases to help you communicate better. So you may even learn a new language.  Bonus.


If this sounds like an interesting option for you, click here to visit  Here, you’ll find more detailed information on house sitting and how you can register.




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First Impressions of Yaxley, Peterborough, UK

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At age 28, I joined the military because I wanted to learn new skills, see the world, and experience new cultures.  As soon as I was able, I volunteered for overseas duties.  My first and only assignment was at RAF Alconbury, UK.  I was very pleased because I had always wanted to visit England ever since I first heard an English accent.  (Lesley Howard, The Scarlet Pimpernel.  I was six.)

I arrived at Heathrow on July 25th, 1989.  When I stepped off the plane I felt as if I’d come home.  Not quite a week after arriving at my base, I met my first real Brit.  He was blond, cute as a button and his quiet, laid-back demeanor was a pleasant change from the brash and boorish New Yorkers I was accustomed too.  I was instantly smitten and, long story short, we married nearly a year later.

As a married airman, I was entitled to base housing.  My new husband, Awesome Dude, and I were given a list of housing choices and we chose Yaxley, Peterborough partly because we already had friends who lived there and partly because there was something about the x and the y in one name that I found appealing.  We soon found ourselves settling into a lovely house in an area the local residents referred to as the ‘American estate’.

After Awesome Dude and I unpacked a few necessaries, we decided to take a stroll along Main Street and get acquainted with the village.  Farmers’ fields ran along one side of the street, while houses complete with lovingly cultivated and colourful gardens bordered the other side.  Many of the houses on Main Street had a sedate, settled quality that added character to the area.  I later found out that this part of old Yaxley had actually been settled for at least 1,000 years.

I admired the self-sufficiency of the village.  We walked past many shops and businesses that catered to life’s necessities.  There was a bakery, a florist’s shop, a Mom ‘n’ Pop store that rented videos, a small café and a family-run butcher shop.  I couldn’t remember the last time I had been inside a butcher’s shop.  I must have been 10 or 11. There was also a hairdresser with a beauty therapist, (facials and manicures…yes!), dress shops, a bank, a post office, a doctor’s surgery, a dental surgery and an optician’s.  There were also various takeaways, newsagents and a police and fire station.  Nearly all these establishments were owned by the people who ran them.    You could find just about anything you needed in the village and you pretty much went into Peterborough, the nearest city, if you wanted to shop till you dropped or for a night on the town.

But for me the best part was, and still is, the horses.  I’ve been horse-mad since I could remember and to see people actually riding their own horses in the street was a delight for me.  I know that to a lot of you this might not seem like a big deal but to someone who grew up in the ghettos and truly believed that places like this only existed in the movies, Yaxley was a revelation.  There were worlds other than the one I had been born into and it was possible to attain them.

It’s been 20 years since Awesome Dude and I moved here.  We have raised three really good, sensible kids in that time.  We enjoy village life and the kids have made some good friends here.  The people of Yaxley are friendly and we all have at least a nodding acquaintance with each other.  I don’t worry too much about my children being out and about on their own or with friends.  And as an added bonus for me, the place is steeped in history.  It boggles the mind when I think of the events this land has witnessed in its 1000+ year.  I knew Awesome Dude and I had made the right choice when we moved to Yaxley.

Spirited Away To Wales Again and Again

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My flock and I have been on holiday in North Wales.  We needed it too.  It was a tough year this last one.  Health problems, the death of a cherished family member, the death of the family pet, work issues and the recession make for a good recipe for anxiety and stress.

We returned reluctantly from Wales last Saturday.  We put off the return trip home as long as we could.  We stopped by a small cafe, lingered over coffees we didn’t really want and chatted about inconsequential things.  Eventually, we made our way back home with me taking in every moment and every sight of the journey.  I didn’t want to miss a thing.  You see, I was making long-lasting memories.

I still haven’t completely returned from holiday.  My body’s here and my mind checks in as and when needed, but my spirit?  Well, she’s still in North Wales lazing on the warm sand and soaking up the sun.  She’s still walking along the beach and splashing about in the surf like a Nereid, enjoying Nature at her most tranquil.

She marvels still at the beauty of Mount Snowdon on a clear day and relishes the quiet solitude of a walk in the woods.  In the evenings, she dines on tasty and satisfying fare at local eateries and enjoys a drink and a laugh afterwards with the family.  Am I envious?  No, not really. My spirit is what allows me to get through the day to day routine we call life.  While she remains in Wales going where her whims take her, I can relive holidays and special moments at will.  The memories I created during our time in Wales are the key to unlocking those carefree, aimless days.

When faced with a day I’d rather not be having, I can stare out of my bedroom window, tap into memories and be spirited back to Wales (or wherever).  I no longer see a backyard fence.  I see a grassy sand dune and beyond that, a golden beach that seems to stretch into forever.  The sound of traffic and lawnmowers is transformed into the sound of the surf rushing to the shore and my children cavorting in the sand.

While running errands, I’m no longer in Yaxley but in a quiet wood where all is still and peaceful and if you’re very fortunate, Nature may reward you with a glimpse of a shy, gentle  deer, or present you with a perfect bloom.

Like anyone else, I have times when I wonder how I’ll manage another day.  These are the times when I can call upon my spirit to take me away to a happier time.  It’s during these sojourns that I find balance and stability again.  And when I return to the real world, the problems don’t seem quite so insurmountable.  But, I’ve learned over the years that fleeing reality is something that should be done as a little as possible.  I’ve learned that if you take your memories out to often, the sensation of really being there gets that little bit fainter and the inner glow I feel gets that little bit dimmer.  It’s best to keep these flights of fancy to a minimum.

I would encourage you to find your own spirit that you can call upon to spirit you away when the road gets a bit bumpy.    Unless you have a really understanding, flexible boss or you’re fabulously wealthy, these memories will have to last you till your next holiday or special occasion.  So choose your moments wisely.

North Wales Coast

North Wales Coast

Just the Two of Us in Peterborough

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Due to unforeseen, but welcomed circumstances, I had a free, unstructured Saturday.  Brilliant.  It had been a drizzly, rainy week, but today promised sunshine and good cheer.  My husband, Awesome Dude, had the day off and the kids were off doing their own thing.  It didn’t take much to convince the big guy to spend the day just strolling around Peterborough city centre.

Peterborough is, I think, an acquired taste.  There are those who would turn their nose up at the idea of taking a leisurely stroll around the town; they consider it ‘rough’.  I prefer to think of it as ‘gritty and edgy’.

Starbucks, Peterborough City Centre ©2013 Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon All Rights Reserved

After parking the car, we walked to Starbucks™.  It had been nearly an hour since my last caffeine fix and I was getting a little touchy.  It felt odd sipping coffee in the building where I used to do my banking.  Don’t let this photo fool you; Starbucks™ doesn’t use the entire building, so it’s kinda cramped, and seating is at a premium.  Still, they do make a lovely coffee.  And Frappuccinos®.  Lord, I do love their Frappuccinos®.  On a hot, summer’s day, they just can’t be beat.  If you ever find yourself in Starbucks™ on a hot, summer’s day, do yourself a kindness and get a Frappuccino®.  I recommend the caramel one.  Heaven.

Queensgate Shopping Centre, Peterborough City Centre ©2013 Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon All Rights Reserved

When we’d finished chatting over our coffees, we strolled next door to Queensgate Shopping Centre.  Although the recession is biting hard and some shops have closed, there is still a decent variety of stores to shop and browse through.  Stalwarts like John Lewis, H & M and The Body Shop® were holding their own.  One shop got smart and moved out of their dedicated unit to buddy-up with BHS department store.  Clever.

Our oldest daughter, Lil Diva, was working today at one of the shops in Queensgate, so we surprised her by treating her to lunch at Little Frankie’s.  This is one of our favourite eateries in Peterborough.  Tucked away on a small side street just outside Queensgate, it’s a pleasant place to get away from the crowds.

Little Frankie’s offers a wide selection of pastas, salads, sandwiches, desserts, drinks and ambitious burgers.  And they do milkshakes the way milkshakes are meant to be; thick, creamy, icy-cold and downright sinful.  Delish.

After lunch, Lil Diva rushed back to work leaving Awesome Dude, and I to ponder what to do with the rest of the afternoon.  I suggested the Peterborough Museum as I had been wanting to visit but never got around to it.  Awesome Dude agreed, and we proceeded there.  On the way, we passed the old Woolworth’s store.  I still can’t believe Woolies is no more.  It’s like part of my past had been wiped out.

Peterborough Museum, Peterborough City Centre ©2013 Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon All Rights Reserved

Peterborough Museum hadn’t always been a museum.  Very few buildings in this country start out as they intend to finish.  The museum was originally a private residence, then became Peterborough’s first hospital and finally a museum in 1931.  I like wandering around museums, learning about the people that lived before us.  While looking at the various exhibits, I envisioned what day-to-day life might have been like and why they lived as they did.  Societal pressure to conform?  A reaction to the times they lived in?  Or was it just pure survival?


Unfortunately, Awesome Dude doesn’t have much fascination for anything that doesn’t involve spherical objects being flung about on a green playing field, so I couldn’t lose myself in the past as much as I would have liked.  (Note to self:  Must return on my own with camera).

As we left the museum, my husband reckoned the kids would be returning home soon.  I agreed, and we walked back to the car and drove home to resume family life.  It’s not often Awesome Dude and I have a day to ourselves.  But when we do, it’s a kind of magic.




Little Frankie’s is no longer operating in the city centre.  It has been replaced by a generic Italianesque restaurant.

M&B American Italian Restaurant, Peterborough City Centre ©2013 Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon All Rights Reserved


English: Alternative Logo of TK Maxx




The old Woolworth’s store is now home to a TK Maxx outlet.


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A Walk at St. Peter’s Church, Yaxley

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It’s funny how most inhabitants of any area, be it a large, cosmopolitan city or a small, rural community never seem to appreciate what’s under their very noses. I am guilty of that twice over. First, as a native New Yorker (never been to Statue of Liberty) and now again as a long-term resident of the United Kingdom (never seen Big Ben). I simply took it for granted that one day when I wasn’t so busy I would be able to go see and do the things I’d always wanted to do. I’ve finally realised that day was never going to happen on its own. I had to make it happen.

With three children to think of, it’s not easy to just jump on a plane, train or automobile on a whim. But that doesn’t mean I have to give up travel altogether. I just need to keep closer to home. Since the hub of any small community is its church, I decided to research it and see what I came up with. I googled St. Peter’s Church, Yaxley and came across a website with some really good photos of the church. I was intrigued with what I saw and grabbing my camera and daughter, Sleeper Girl, went to see the church with new eyes.

First mentioned in the Domesday book in 1086, St. Peter’s church has seen much history in its day. Musket shot marks on west wall of the church suggest a battle may have taken place on or near the church grounds. Some say these “offerings” were left by Oliver Cromwell’s troops after a visit around 1643.

Walking around the church grounds, I found myself admiring various styles of architecture used to build the church over the centuries. Up till now I thought gargoyles were only found at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. But upon closer inspection I could see small gargoyles at the four corners at the base of the spire and at the entrance of one of the lower extensions. Erosion isn’t as bad as you’d think considering they’ve withstood the elements and vandalism for centuries.

Many of the headstones in the cemetery are barely legible. Those that my daughter and I could read showed the short life spans that was the norm of a bygone era. A few had familiar-sounding family names and Sleeper Girl and I wondered if they still had descendants who lived in Yaxley. We wandered around the silent churchyard awhile longer. It was a hot, humid summer’s afternoon and you knew a summer storm was coming. The sky was becoming overcast and the church grounds became even more still and silent, if that was possible. Suddenly the church bell rang out causing me to utter a most irreverent explicative and attempt to leap into my daughter’s arms. Six o’clock already? Time to head home and get dinner on the table.

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