Author Archive

Appleby Horse Fair

June 7th, 2009

It may not be America but they’re arguably the ultimate roadtrippers so I hope this qualifies as a relevant entry. This weekend we visited the Appleby Horse Fair, an annual gypsy gathering that has been taking place in the north England town of Appleby for at least 270 years, possibly as far back as 1685. Thousands of gypsies, Romanies and other travellers come together from all over Europe (mainly, it must be said, from Ireland) to trade horses, show off their trotting skills, look as intimidating as possible and generally block off all the roads to and from this part of Cumbria for the week before and after the event.

Here are a few photos to give you a taste of what it’s like (and yes, sadly, this is indicative of the weather in England in June).


Change in Facebook T&Cs

February 17th, 2009

peter-thody-facebookThose with a Facebook account may be interested to learn of an update to the Terms & Conditions applied to your content. At the beginning of February, Facebook basically assumed an “irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense)” to do what they want with any content you put up there, and to use “your name, likeness and image” for whatever they want.

The big change however, is that they can do this forever. Previously, if you terminated your Facebook account, all their rights ceased at the same time. This is no longer the case. 

This probably doesn’t matter for most people – it’s just a bit of fun social networking – but you might want to think twice about posting any photos or creative content. There’s a more detailed explanation of it all on the MarketingVox website.

Happy Birthday Oregon

February 14th, 2009

Today isn’t just Valentine’s Day, it’s also Oregon’s birthday, and a big one at that: 150 years. Just thought I’d mark the occasion with one or two photos from my trip of 2007.

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Your own backyard

February 11th, 2009

Cliché it may be but it’s true when they say you don’t always appreciate what’s in your own back yard.

Last weekend we got in the car and headed out into the country. Having lived in the same city in England for around 40 years, there aren’t too many new destinations to select from a map so we simply decided to head north and try to follow roads we’d never driven before.

So that was our Sunday, driving the B6451 north from Otley, past Lindley Wood Reservoir (a place I didn’t even know existed this time last week) and along the perimeter fences of Menwith Hill (a US National Security Agency installation, said to be the world’s largest monitoring communications station).

Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey

At Glasshouses we turned right on the B6265 and headed east to nearby Fountains Abbey, a 12th-century Cistercian Abbey which I must have been to half a dozen times or more, but never before from this direction.

The abbey view from over the River Skell

The abbey view from over the River Skell

This is a place I always associate with childhood picnics, games of hide-and-seek among the ruins and my sister getting bitten by a rat but today was the first time I’d seen it with a covering of snow (and also the first time I’d appreciated that it’s actually a World Heritage Site).

I know the detail is of little relevance to predominantly American readership (and even non-American readers are looking for tips on travelling Route 66, not the B6451) but the lesson is transferable wherever you are: you don’t always have to be visiting somewhere new to experience something new.