Napoleonic forts and being “walked to death”

Yesterday it was my birthday, people! I am now 30! Ta daaaaaa! Goodbye 20s. I enjoyed you but I can honestly say I’m looking forward to whatever my 30s will bring.

To commemorate entering a new decade, Danda and I had wanted to spend the day on Ischia but for various reasons, it wouldn’t really have worked so we went for a walk instead. A really really long walk. Danda actually said he thought I was trying to “walk him to death”.

We headed down to the lighthouse where we had watched the sunset on our first day and found the beginning of the Sentiero dei Fortini, the walk of the old forts. The walk stops at five of the Roman forts that were rebuilt during the Napoleonic wars and finishes at the Grotta Azzura, the infamous Blue Grotto.

Before heading out, we had a coffee and it’s probably the prettiest place I’ve ever had a coffee!


The views on the walk were literally amazing. I was loving every second of being out under the huge sky, no-one else around, the wild rock faces and vegetation refusing to bow to the human desire to tame it. The carved steps and paths were the most the island would allow.


The majority of the walk was just steps up and down! At this point, Danda described it as an “endurance test” that was “not fun anymore.”


Napoleonic forts en route




More steps…


Danda had resigned himself to his fate of being “walked to death” and was resolutely marching on ahead by this point.


Steps to nowhere


Taking a break in the last fort

A few hours later, we reached the Grotta Azzura and decided to do the tourist thing and look inside. It was quite pretty, I’ll admit, but why it is the most famous sight on the island, I’m not sure.


Distinctly knackered after all the walking, we then headed back to Anacapri and changed for dinner at my favourite restaurant from our last visit, Aurora.


A little pre-dinner nibble of a kind of parmigiana bite


Danda’s tomato soup and my parmigiana


Danda’s shrimp three ways


My linguine with lobster and asparagus

My dessert at Aurora was an absolute triumph. It was described as a “sphere of chocolate” which I immediately ordered because it said chocolate but I had no actual idea what was about to happen.

The waitress arrived and told me to get my camera ready. Obediently I watched and waited while this happened.


She poured chocolate sauce over a gold and white ball….


…and I realised that the sauce was warm and it was melting the gold ball! It. Was. Amazing. Inside was a hazelnut ice cream and soft meringue and chocolate crunchy balls. It was fabulous. I stuffed it in my face faster than I thought possible!

Bursting at the seams, we made our way back up to Anacapri and collapsed into a long-trek-and-chocolate-dessert induced coma.

Pretty good birthday, as birthdays go.

The long road to Tiberius’ palace

The road to Tiberius’ palace has taken us a long time. Two years ago, Danda and I decided to walk to Tiberius’ palace and then have dinner at a restaurant called Ristorante Savardina da Eduorda that was up on the hill near the palace. Without placing blame anywhere specific, one of us (not me) wanted to watch the football so we didn’t set out til very late afternoon. By the time we got near the ruins, a friendly local told us they were closed so we climbed up to a nearby viewpoint, took pictures then headed to the restaurant. The restaurant was obviously closed. We then found what is now my favourite restaurant in the world, Aurora, and ate maybe the best meal I’ve ever had.

Finding Aurora was amazing but we’ve always felt the loss of not getting to Tiberius’ palace. So today was the day.

I woke a little earlier than Danda and went for a run to explore.


I followed a little path which skirted round the edge of the cliffs then went inland and climbed a few really steep hills til I was in amongst the beautiful sloping vineyards.

When I returned, no-one was about so I pottered amongst the lemon and orange trees and did a bit of yoga in the morning sun. Once I had woken Danda, he wanted to get moving too so we went for a swim.

By the time we went for breakfast, an hour and a half after waking, I was ravenous! We had one of everything, even the lemon cake with nutella spread on it, cause everyone knows you need one of those for breakfast.

We were fuelled up and ready to go for our first adventure, a chairlift ride up to Monte Solara, the highest point on this side of the island. It was eerily quiet, swinging quite low above the gardens and villas of the local Caprese people, who were gardening or eating bread and olives on their patios. Before Danda’s vertigo made him too nervous, we were at the top and found a chair swing to lounge in whilst drinking cappuccino and doing absolutely nothing.


Once this mission was complete, it was time to right the wrong of two years ago and go to Tiberius’ ruined palace. After returning down the mountainside in the chairlift, we headed toward the main square to get the bus to Capri town. We walked for about ten minutes before we realised we must have gone the wrong way. We figured we’d just keep going til we saw a bus stop.

Forty five minutes later, we arrived in Capri town, having realised that there were no bus stops! We headed straight for our favourite cafe from our last trip, only to see that it was shut down so we kept walking past it, on the road to the ruins.

As we headed up, we saw the restaurant we had tried to visit last time and would you believe it? Chiuso, again! Always closed.


We’re smiling but we’re crying inside. One day this bloody restaurant will be open!

On we went, navigating a rocky path among the forest of eucalyptus, strawberry trees and asparagus until we saw some bricks looming up out of the vegetation ahead.




We had finally reached Tiberius’ palace! It was obviously amazing to walk around, knowing that Tiberius, in 27AD had walked around here too, running the Roman empire from this island and throwing his enemies from the highest point, known as Tiberius’ Leap.


After walking the length of the island, we were pretty knackered so headed back into Capri town for a lunch of parmigiana and Caprese salad with a view over the Marina Grande.


Tastiest tomatoes ever.

The rest of the day consisted of lazing about reading a book about the Villa San Michele that we visited yesterday and napping before dinner at a nearby restaurant, of sea bream caught this morning in an amazing white wine sauce with potatoes and basil.


The waiter brought us the dish of potatoes and the fish cooked whole and proceeded to debone and portion it up and plate it for us. Fabulous.

It was the best meal we’ve eaten so far. Stuffed and ready for bed, we returned to the hotel and sat out looking at the stars to finish off our wonderful but tiring day!

Plane. Bus. Boat. Funicolare. Bus. AKA the best present ever in the world ever

Yesterday morning, at the crack of dawn, instead of waking up and getting ready for work, as I had expected to be doing, Danda told me that we were running away for a week to Capri!

Best. Surprise. Present. Ever.

When we went to Italy two years ago, we spent a few short days on Capri and, when we left, I left a bit of my heart there and took with me a daydream of returning to live out my days in the fashion of Gracie Fields, in a villa on Capri.

Unfortunately we were not returning forever, just for a week. So after a flight to Naples, a bus across Naples to the port, a boat to Capri, a funicolare up the hill and a bus out to Anacapri, we were in our new home for the week.


View of lemon and orange trees from the patio outside our room

Anacapri is the town on the other side of the island that we never got to when we last came to Capri. I’d heard loads about a place called the Villa San Michele in Anacapri so after putting our bags down in the room, we headed straight there.

There’s quite an interesting story behind it which basically goes like this…. when Tiberius was using the island as his base from which to rule the Roman Empire, he had 12 imperial palaces. The Villa San Michele was one of these but fell into disrepair in later years. A Swedish doctor called Axel Munthe bought the land and, while building the house that currently stands there, found all kinds of Roman ruins and paraphernalia. These bits and pieces now adorn the house. His long-standing relationship with the Swedish queen Victoria mostly took place here and his book, The Story of San Michele, was an international bestseller. (I now have a copy of this book and can’t wait to read it.)

The house is a wonder and the gardens even more so.



Me, pretending it is my garden!


Phenomenal views on a walk through the gardens


Random Eygptian sphinx overlooking Capri from the Villa San Michele

After all the travelling and walking, we decided it was time to have our first meal in Italy and went for the obvious, pizza.


It was pretty epic pizza, as pizza goes. Made in a wood fired oven and covered generously with oregano, my favourite ingredient to cook with.

Then, obviously, a helping of gelato while wandered around Anacapri.


After returning to the nine-roomed boutique hotel we’re staying in, for a quick swim, we dressed warmly and walked to the furthest out point on this side of the island, the lighthouse, to watch the sunset.


After killing a bit of time pottering about on the rocks looking at the sea, we headed to a little wine bar near to the lighthouse for a spot of dinner with a view….


…and waited for the sun to set over the sea.


Thus concludes day number one of the surprise holiday.

Apart from this….


…a chip pizza. Make of it what you will.

More lunchbreak adventures

Yes, I know! Another post two seconds later! I figured I might as well keep going if I’m in the moment.

This blue plaque I managed to find on my lunch break during a shift at Eltham Palace which, by the way, is looking amazing after its refurbishment.


It is the plaque for Richard Jeffries, a naturalist and author, who’s childrens books are still read today (there is, in fact, a society dedicated to the appreciation of his books).


Alternative plaque spotting

Morning all! I’m just doing a little post about a visit I made last month to Port Sunlight. I won’t go into the history as my regular guest blogger did that in his fascinating post on the unusual town. I will show you the plaques I saw, to add to my plaque counting game.

First up, Ringo Starr’s first appearance with the Beatles…


…and second, this fabulous one, which is a brand new one the council have put up. It’s so new, you probably won’t find it in any guides etc.


MILES RUN – 14.9

That time when I did a half marathon

Well! Who would’ve thunk it?! The me of six months ago certainly wouldn’t have. But yes. It happened. Ladies and gentlemen, I ran a half marathon!

Fortunately, I had done the distance in my long run the week before so I wasn’t worried about whether I could do it. I guess my nervousness came from the officialness of the whole occasion. Rather than just me pottering along the river by myself for 6.5 miles then turning back around for home, there was more ceremony about this, more people. More people to see me fall over or talk aloud to myself (a thing I do often whilst running) or losing my running ‘form’ through achy-leg-ness.

My nervousness about trying to do everything right before hand (stay hydrated, get a good night’s sleep, don’t exert oneself) kept me awake a bit, defeating the very object of what I was trying to do. Thankfully that didn’t seem to affect me too much.

Off I went, to the starting point, for the third wave of runners (first is for fastees, second wave for medium-speed, third for slowees) and got my groove on. It is a very slow groove but that is how my groove is. It’s slow but continuous. No run-walking for me, thank you!

Mile 1 was pleasant enough, chitchatting and marvelling at the lady in front of me who genuinely looked like she was walking. I was puzzled by how she could be walking yet in front of me!

Mile 2 was the first time I noticed a mile marker and immediately my mind clicked into LongRun mode. I started portioning the thing up. One sixth done already! I said to myself. One sixth done. Easy.

Miles 3 to 7 were fairly uneventful in that I just portioned up time again. One quarter done. Half done. Five sixths.

Mile 7 to 8 I could swear I saw a tiny tiny horse in a field with people around it acting as they would towards a dog. But I stared and stared and was sure it was a tiny tiny horse. At this point my thoughts started to get away from me slightly. I felt like there was still a mountain of time to go. I was just past half way but it’s not the home straight until about three quarters, in my mind.

So I pressed forward, feet planting down each time, contemplating the mileage I still had to cover. I spotted a lady in a red top in front and kept my eyes looking up and forward and on her top. And while I thought and thought and wanted to sit down, my legs kept going, and I realised something. No matter what’s going around in your brain, your legs know better. So even if you’re sunk in the deepest despair, they will keep going.

I’ve always known that running long distances is a mental thing but it became even more apparent at mile 7.5 while having these thoughts, that your body can usually always do it. It’s whether your mind wins or your legs win.

Example conversation my mind and legs were having at this point.

Mind: “Oo, sitting down, hey? That would be nice.”
Legs: “Yeh. We’re not so bothered. We’re fine with the running. We like it. It makes us feel strong.”
Mind: “Yes, I know. But we’re not trying to prove anything to anyone. We did 13 miles last week. We know we can. If you wanna sit down, don’t beat yourself up about it.”
Legs: “Yeh, maybe. But not yet. Just shut up and let us do our thing for a bit.”
Mind: “But legs! I WANT to sit down! Pleeeeeeease….. oo! Mile 8! Good one. Five miles to go.”

You see? The legs know best. Between mile 8 and 9 wasn’t my finest hour. I felt like the home straight feeling could only kick in at mile 9 so I ran in a kind of mental limbo where I didn’t allow myself to indulge in home-straight feelings yet I didn’t feel the desire to sit down that I had at mile 7.

Mile 9 kicked in and my brain relaxed a bit. I kept checking how my body and legs felt and there was nothing to worry about. To keep my attention on my surroundings rather than the finish line, still 4 miles off, I greeted the things around me.

“Hello swans,” I muttered under my breath whilst looking out to the river. “Hello, field. Hello Eygptian geese. Hello trees. Hello other runners. Hello cheering spectators. Hello rowers.” And so on until there was nothing else to greet and mile 10 was upon me.

Three miles to go. Eeeeeasy. Only about half an hour of running to go. No big deal. Now 29 minutes. Now 28. O god. Stop counting. It’s not helping.

I watched the runners around me, some run-walking by this point, and congratulated myself that I had not stopped to walk at all. IT’S RUNNING OR NOTHING! I promised. Digging around in my pocket, I found a little snack which I practically inhaled then had trouble working out how to swallow as breathing heavily and closing one’s mouth to swallow need careful organisation.

Suddenly, despite the little hint of despair that threatened to take hold somewhere in my chest and destroy me, the eating had distracted me for long enough so that I only had a mile and a half to go. Them legs sure do know what to do if you leave em to it and stop interrupting with all your thoughts of sitting down.

My heart lifted as I saw we were nearing our start point and I allowed myself to feel relieved. Through the park, into the passage under the road and turn the corner. 400 metres to go. As I plodded heavily toward the finish line, a voice full of the joys of spring sounded behind me and I felt a slap on my bum.

“Don’t let me catch you!” the woman with the 2hour 30min marker said. I had no idea I was in front of her. I’d thought I was far slower than 2 hours 30. The shock of it put fire into my bones and I shot off towards the finish, passing two people right before the line and finishing 13 seconds under 2:30.

It was very, very exciting to finish. Also very exciting to have done it. And very exciting to be able to walk afterwards. Actually, I ran to work the next morning and felt ok. So yes, little legs. It appears you really did know best.

Lunch break plaques

Hello everyone! Sorry I’ve been so absent. I have no valid excuse apart from ‘I’ve been reading some really good books that required all my spare time and Masterchef recently started again.’ Feeble. Sorry.

Anyway, I was on a lunch break from work the other day when I finally decised to capitalise on the amazing location and go get some biggies. The area is literally teeming with the ghosts of historically important figures and discoveries.

(I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t going fast at all. I mean, I was shuffle-walking at best but I’m counting that, ok?)

First up….


…. a self-acclaimed blue plaque that I was sceptical about but it was actually listed in my book so I’ll let it in. Lillie Langtry was an actress who among other things, was one of Edward VII’s favourites and was the first celebrity to be paid to advertise products (Pears soap, in case you’re interested).



I found George Bentham further down the road. My intellectual jealousy prevents me from listing just how much of a child genius he was but suffice to say, he could read Latin, French, German, Russian and Swedish before he was 10. Before he was 10. Anyway, he devoted his energies to botany later, spending a lot of time in Kew Gardens. He was also Jeremy Bentham’s nephew. Well done, Sir, for being ridiculously clever.

Third up….


Twice Columbian president, Alfonso Lopez-Pumarejo (1886-1959) was further down the same road and this was the address he used when serving as an Ambassador to the Court of St. James. He served during WWII and joined the Allied Forces then represented Colombia at the UN.

A man came out of this house as I was passing and dropped his gloves on the floor. I ran after him for quite a way because he had earphones in and gave him the gloves back, in the meantime spotting this little plaque.


Mr Campbell-Bannerman, everyone! Another head of state, this time the UK Prime Minister during 1906-8. He was described as ‘a jolly, lazy sort of man with a good dose of sense.’ Sounds like my kinda person. Jolly. Lazy. Interesting factoid for you, he was the last Prime Minister to die in office. Nice house, Mr. C. B. Very nice house.

And that’s your lot, people. I’ve a few other plaques and my half marathon to write up so let’s hope this ‘spurt’ of energy keeps up and I get it to you soon.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!


Day out in Port Sunlight

Morning everyone! Enjoy this post from my regular guest blogger about a recent day out.

Today I visited the village of Port Sunlight on the Wirral. I have mentioned it before just briefly in the post on 22.1.14 (Point 5) but this was a proper look round the actual site. William Hesketh Lever, along with a small number of other Victorian businessmen, thought the way to improve the lives of their workers was to provide housing for them: think of the Cadbury family building Bourneville, Titus Salt building Saltaire, David Dale building Lanark on the banks of the Clyde, The Great Western Railway building a model village in Swindon and Richard Arkwright building Cromford amongst others. Lever built Port Sunlight to a very generous specification in that the roads were made quite wide and each house had a garden. As you walk around the roads it is surprising just how much space there is. (We saw a 50ft articulated lorry making its way round quite easily.)

We started at the Museum with its film, loads of storyboards and exhibits. It’s a fascinating story of how the whole thing came into being.

Let’s get straight in with a quiz which necessitates the use of a “Dibber” (if you’re actually there obviously). If you’re wondering what a “Dibber” is don’t worry just look in the first pic and all will be revealed. Anyway here is Question 1:


And then Question 2:


And then Question 3:


Now of course you can’t go far anywhere round the Merseyside area without finding somewhere with a Beatles connection and Port Sunlight is no exception. So here we go with a number of Beatles related items.

First off is a poster they have from the Tower Ballroom in New Brighton dated Nov 1961.


If you read the acts on the bill you will see Liverpool group Rory Storm & the Hurricanes whose drummer, at the time, was none other than Ringo Starr. Gerry & the Pacemakers were also appearing but look under The Remo Four. Who on earth calls themselves “Kingsize Taylor and the Dominoes”? The mind boggles! Actually at 6’ 5” he was pretty tall I suppose. Apparently Cilla Black sang with the group until 1962 & Ringo had turned down an offer to join the group because the Beatles offered him more money.

Now if you’d like a listen to them for a couple of mins check this out

Now look at the picture that comes in at about 28/29 secs. How strong is this guy?? Two on each arm. Very impressive!

However the biggest shock on the poster is the ticket price – 5/- (which equals 25p today)!! And for that you got 5½ hours of music!

Next up is a pic of the Beatles in their days before those famous suits they wore. (After their early trips to Hamburg they had gone for the leather look.)


By Aug 1962 Ringo had joined them and was playing drums when they appeared at a Horticultural Dance in Port Sunlight and here is the plaque


Note they are now headlining the show supported by the 4 Jays and the ticket price has gone up to 6/- (30p) since Nov 1961.

Then an exhibit which reminds us of how telephones used to look:


As we walked further round we came to the Leverhulme Hotel which was originally opened as a cottage hospital in 1907. In the forecourt is an Anton Dala sculpture called Trophy.


And the only car in the car park was THIS!!


As I was taking my pic the owner came out and he told me he gets 14 mpg out of it! Think about it. He opened the door so I could have a quick look (not a sit) inside and that’s the nearest I’ve ever been to the dashboard of a Rolls.

We had a brief look inside the hotel and there were a number of paintings around the place. I liked this one:


Just something about it.

Then it was over to the church and the burial place of Lever & his wife.


Here’s the very imposing front entrance to Lever House office building.


Then we saw some houses with an unusual design. Check this out


Can you see what caught my eye? Look at the upstairs bedroom windows. Although there is a wall separating the two houses it’s interesting that the bay windows are joined so that each house effectively only has a half of the bay.

Next stop was for some lunch at the Garden Centre Café. We put our orders in and by the time we’d got cutlery and found a window table, taken our coats off and had a couple of minutes conversation the food arrived! Couldn’t believe it – never been served that quick before. And it was really good. A plateful for £5.25 – a cheese omelette, chips (proper ones) & salad. Then finished off with a “free” pot of tea as I had a voucher from something we’d bought earlier. I got 3 cups of tea out of the pot! Brilliant food and brilliant service – well done them!! Definitely worth a visit if you’re ever in the area.

Now the next thing we came across was something I’d never heard of – an Analemmatic Sundial!


First off you stand on the area with the current month. Your shadow is cast and will intersect with one of the upright posts which will tell you the time


However the pesky sun had gone in and with the clouds around didn’t look like it was coming out again any time soon so we had to walk on.

Anyway here is a link to a pic which shows you how it works

When it opens up double click the image and you get a more detailed explanation.

There is so much to see round the village and we didn’t have time for things like the Art Gallery so went off to have a wander round the nearby village of Thornton Hough (about 4 miles away). Lever had bought a house (Thornton Manor) in the area but it’s now in private hands as a wedding venue so we couldn’t go in. Lever was concerned at the conditions people in the village were having to live in. He basically knocked all the houses down and started again. However there was a big difference here in that the people who lived in these houses were not his own workers as they were in Port Sunlight. He was just genuinely concerned by their state of health.

Time was moving on and we wanted to get back before the Friday rush hour started so it was off home for a relaxing cup of tea via The Wallasey Tunnel.

A cheat plaque

Hello gang. Don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten about finding plaques to tell you all about. The only thing is that once you’ve done all the ones on the way to work, you have to wait til you have enough time to go further afield to find more. And when one keeps going to work and not having a day off….

You see the problem?

But last Friday, Danda and I went to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not (I’ve never been before, crazy!) and apparently I had printed the wrong bit of the ticket so we had to go to an internet cafe nearby and print off the right bit and on the way, we spotted this.


It’s a blue plaque commemorating that Dr William Hunter’s house and museum was there during the 1700s. He was a leading anatomist and physician and was famous for his studies on bone and cartilage. His big claim to fame was being appointed physician-extraordinary to Queen Charlotte in 1764. When he died, his varied collection went to Scotland and formed the basis for the Hunterian Museum which, in 1807, became Scotland’s first public museum.

So, all in all, a pretty cool guy. Thank you for your contribution, Sir, and for adding an unexpected historical element to my search for an internet cafe.




The Laughing Cavalier and unexpected plaques

On Sunday, Danda and a friend and I decided to have a day out ‘up London’. First we visited the Banqueting House, the only remaining part of Whitehall Palace, which was all but destroyed in numerous fires. Banqueting Hall is noteable firstly, because of it’s stunning huge Rubens’ paintings on the ceiling (they are mind-blowing) and for being the place Charles I was taken right before being beheaded. He was walked up the stairs, through the Banqueting House and then out one of the side windows onto a scaffold that had been built for the occasion. It was so strange thinking that a perfectly healthy man had been walked up here, the same direction in which I was walking, knowing that in a matter of minutes, he would have his head chopped off. Wierd.

As you enter the hall, you see people lying all over beanbags on the floor and wonder what on earth is going on. Then you realise that the only way to take in the magnitude of the Rubens’ ceiling is by getting on the floor and filling your entire vision with it. It’s so amazing. Here’s a picture of the hall, to try and do justice to how amazingly historic and beautiful this place is.


Next up, lunch then the Wallace Collection. While heading toward Manchester Square, we spotted a blue plaque so I stopped where I was, turned on my running app on my phone and got my run on. It must be the easiest three plaques I’ve ever got! Within 0.1 miles on a day I wasn’t even looking for them, I found John Hughlings Jackson (neurological physician who lived in the 1800s)….

20150208_144831 (1)

…Sir Julius Benedict (German composer and conductor)…


…and Alfred, Lord Milner (British statesman who served as the High Commissioner for Southern Africa and also on Lloyd George’s War Cabinet during the First World War).


Easy peasy!

Next up, the Wallace Collection blew my mind. The art collection there is amazing.


Velazquezs that I’ve only read about, huge Titians that I could have spent hours looking at, Van Dycks that were sombre and exquisite. Danda and friend were sat waiting outside while I wandered about, open-mouthed looking at the bronzes and discovering new fascinating artwork and painters. After a visit from Danda to gently hurry me up, I tried looking more quickly around the rest of the main gallery when I came across something that made me stop, unable to move on.

It was the Laughing Cavalier.


It. Is. Stunning.

Literally. I was stunned.

I don’t know whether it has the same visual impact seeing the photo I took but look at his jacket. Look at the intricacy of the pattern work on that coat. And the way the splits of the material on the arm falls open and shows the folds of the shirt underneath. And that lace cuff and how you can see through it. I can’t even imagine being able to paint like that. I can’t imagine the concentration it takes to complete. I can’t imagine being able to create something so beautiful.

I also love the cavalier’s face. I think he’s terribly handsome (if I was going to have an art crush, it would be on him – and also on Charles I, he’s rather handsome). I just think he looks quite approachable, a little flirty if anything. When I saw him, I found myself grinning back before I realised what I was doing. I then hurriedly checked around and no-one had caught me acting like a wierdo so it was okay.

Forgetting the hurry and Danda and his friend waiting outside, I watched the Laughing Cavalier and basked in wonder at how this amazing piece of artwork had been created. I love how no-one knows who the Laughing Cavalier really is. It means he doesn’t come down to earth with a bang. He doesn’t turn into a real person with a history which might detract from the painting.

Anyway, I’ll stop being all dreamy now!

When I finally left, Danda and his friend had grown bored waiting for me and gone for a wander and found more blue plaques. So I turned on my app, got running and found them. Again, it was ridiculously easy. I only covered 0.2 miles and ticked off another three plaques.

These two were on the same house, eeeeeasy!


Captain Frederick Marryat was a Royal Navy officer, novelist (pioneer of the earliest sea stories) and inventor of Marryat’s Code, a maritime flag signalling system. Also at this address is George Grossmith Jr, who was a (are you ready for this?) British actor, theatre producer and manager, director, playwright and songwriter, best remembered for his work in and with Edwardian musical comedies. If that wasn’t enough, his father was the songwriter and actor, W. S. Gilbert, of Gilbert and Sullivan.


Last but not least, the great Simon Bolivar! I’d had no idea he had a London plaque. I also had no idea that his full name was Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios Ponte y Blanco! He was hugely influential in liberating South American countries from Spanish influence and needs little explanation to realise that his success lead to Bolivia being named after him. If you haven’t already heard of him, go Google him. He’s interesting.