Hollywood, Vegas and the Grand Canyon. #1

Los Angeles was the base for the first part of this trip. First day was San Diego and Coronado Island. I joined the tour bus and we set off.

Coronado Island is home to the Hotel Del Coronado where ‘Some Like it Hot’ with Marilyn Monroe was filmed.

Elegant and charming the Hotel del Coronado screams old style luxury; an iconic living legend that continues to inspire.

‘Hotel founders, Elisha Babcock, Jr., and Hampton L. Story, along with San Diego developer Alonzo Horton, survey Coronado beach, c. 1886. Although neither Babcock nor Story had experience in the hotel business, they were so inspired by the natural beauty of Coronado that they decided to buy the island and build a magnificent hotel, one that would be “the talk of the western world,” an iconic California destination where “people will continue to come long after we are gone.”’

https://hoteldel.com/history/

We then drove through the Gaslamp District and on to the Marina area. The highlight of this for me was the “Embracing Peace” statue by Seward Johnson.

This sculpture depicts one of the most famous and iconic moments in the history of the United States, reflecting the joy of the American people upon learning World War II had ended. It is inspired by the spontaneous war end celebration in New York City’s Times Square.

The Original soldier and nurse., inspiring the statue in San Diego.

San Diego has a huge military history and there are some fabulous commemorations in Tuna Harbour Park.

Outdoor bronze statues depicting armed forces personnel listening to comedian Bob Hope.
Vice Admiral Clifton Albert Frederick (“Ziggy”) Sprague (1896 –1955) was a World War II-era officer in the United States Navy.

We then moved on to San Diego Old Town. Predominately Mexican it has an eclectic, boho, laid back vibe. I loved it.

The Whaley House is deemed as one of most haunted houses in San Diego.

Lunch was the tastiest I’ve eaten in a while; cheese topped boar and chilli bean soup with big chunks of garlic bread and two glasses of Chardonnay, from the Hungry’s Kitchen and Tap.

It was a good first day. Good to be back in America. New states, new experiences.

Firle Country Estate.

Last weekend we took a walk on the Firle Country Estate near Lewes in East Sussex. Firle Place is a privately owned country house in Sussex that dates from the time of Henry VIII. Incorporating several villages and farms spread over rolling hills, the Firle Estate, is in the heart of the magnificent South Downs National Park.

https://firle.com/

The Estate incorporates the Old Coach Road, which dates from over 1000 years ago and is the original road running from the Beddingham to Newhaven Road at the Lay, just south of Beddingham Church, to Firle.

The Old Coach running through Firle.

It was a fabulous walk over sweeping downland. We are right in the cusp of the shooting season so there were pheasants and partridge a plenty. We finished the walk of with a pint of cider in Village pub.

A perfect autumn Sunday!

Herstmonceux Castle Estate.

A beautiful sunny, warm autumn morning saw us heading out to the stunning 15th century moated Herstmonceux Castle, set in a beautiful estate featuring woodland trails, lakes, meadows and themed and formal gardens, including a magic garden with definite echos of Francis Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden).

Built as a luxurious fortified home in the mid 15th century by Sir Roger Fiennes, who had fought at Agincourt with Henry V, it is now owned by Queen’s University in Canada and is their UK campus as well as a visitor centre.

It’s is a magical location and well worth the £8 entrance fee

The Graveyard.

“They told of dripping stone walls in uninhabited castles and of ivy-clad monastery ruins by moonlight, of locked inner rooms and secret dungeons, dank charnel houses and overgrown graveyards, of footsteps creaking upon staircases and fingers tapping at casements, of howlings and shriekings, groanings and scuttlings and the clanking of chains, of hooded monks and headless horseman, swirling mists and sudden winds, insubstantial specters and sheeted creatures, vampires and bloodhounds, bats and rats and spiders, of men found at dawn and women turned white-haired and raving lunatic, and of vanished corpses and curses upon heirs.”

Susan Hill.

Karen Pirie. ITV.

Lauren Lyle stars as Karen Pirie in ITV cold case murder drama, based on acclaimed author Val McDermid’s The Distant Echo and adapted by Emer Kenny.

When teenager Rosie Duff (Anna Russell-Martin, Casualty) was found brutally murdered in the Scottish university town of St Andrews in 1996, suspicion fell on the three drunken students who were discovered at the scene of the crime, claiming to have found her body.

This was absolutely brilliant- five stars- and being that Val McDermid has written a series of books about the young Scottish detective, we can hopefully look forward to series two.