What it’s like to live in the real Downton Abbey

More than 30,000 tourists walked past my kitchen window in 2019.  Downton Abbey was filmed in Bampton and the library did duty as the Cottage Hospital.  Our cottage - perhaps ten yards over the narrow lane from the library - featured too, although only in passing. This bus would have been followed by at least... Continue Reading →

Let the passengers take the strain.

I should have realised that attempting to use a train to travel anywhere more complicated than London was a mistake. We booked tickets to go to Cornwall this weekend. All peachy - only a small second mortgage required. Now we discover (because we checked - not because anyone thought to tell us) that the train... Continue Reading →

When a watch tells more than the time

Watches, perhaps because they are so much more personal than almost any other artefact, have a knack of telling stories that bring the past vividly into the present. Here's one of them... In the gathering darkness of the evening of September 28th 1944, a group of 12 German Kampfschwimmer (military frogmen) slipped into the Waal... Continue Reading →

Happy Birthday, M. Breguet

Today will pass in most people's diaries with never a thought for the man behind so many elements of the watch on their wrist.  Abraham Louis Breguet was born 270 years ago today in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. Automatic winding, tourbillons, gong-repeaters, more accurate escapements, better hairsprings, shock-absorbing escapements, lubrication-free escapements... Breguet was responsible for either inventing or... Continue Reading →

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