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Travel

Environment, Travel

In Search of a Polar Bear – Part 2

Whose Paw Prints are these?

Just about everyone we were with on our Hurtigruten’s ‘Circumnavigating Spitsbergen – In the Realm of the Polar Bear’ trip with wanted to see a polar bear. Well, of course, thats one of the main things you visit for.

But it’s definitely not as easy as you think! You can say that about most wildlife of course, it plays to its own tune and if you spot anything in the Arctic, especially in the ocean, then you are very privileged.

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Environment, Travel

In Search of a Polar Bear – Part 1

Choosing a trip

What’s the first thing you think about when planning a trip to the Arctic? Most probably, will I see a Polar Bear?

What’s the second thing you think about? Which of the many trips should I go on and which am I and my party best suited to?

Both are very good questions.

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Travel

Who Doesn’t Love a Roof Top Bar?

Oslo seems to have more than its fair share of them. We kicked off our trip, ultimately to circumnavigate Spitsbergen, with a short stay at The Grand, Oslo but not before an interesting beginning to our adventure…

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Environment, Travel

So Pleased! Another International ‘Short Film’ Festival Selection

Very excited to hear that our film ‘It’s time to act. NOW’ has been nominated for another short film festival – Germany this time.

All you need to know follows and if you haven’t seen the film yet, then you can watch it here – it’s only 2 minutes!

We hope it’s a film that will keep giving – to those organisations that are already working on protecting the Antarctica and all that is in our Southern Ocean.

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Environment, Travel

Polar Art – It’s More Than Just a Reflection of Icy Landscapes

A powerful advocate for the environment, a guardian of cultural heritage and a catalyst for change, all describe ‘Polar Art’ to me. When someone captures the stark beauty and profound significance of the Artic and Antarctic regions, it’s not just an artistic endeavour.

May seems to be the month for ‘Art Trails and ‘Open Studio’s’ across the UK and I reconnected with a fellow shipmate from our trip to South Georgia and Antarctica, Polar Artist Helen Young, at her Open Studio event as part of the Oxfordshire Art Weeks.

Come with me as I recount the experience of what I can only describe as a quintessential British garden party but with substance, in the depths of stunning countryside that is Oxfordshire.

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Environment, Travel

The Boutique

Iconic Chewton Glen (Part 2)

Finding a gift shop in a 5 star hotel that has something different, local – well British at least – and perhaps if you are lucky enough, sustainable, is pretty rare I have found. More often than not you find expensive, generic brands that leave you with a sense of blandness and lack of creativity!

Keely van Dam, has brought something special to Chewton Glen’s gift shop. Shaped somewhat out of our experiences during the COVID pandemic, where small local independents came into their own as we took those early steps back into shared spaces, she delivers a totally different experience for guests and visitors….

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Environment, Travel

It’s All About the Bees – The Iconic Chewton Glen Hotel (Part 1)

Inspiring the Next Generation

Chewton Glen is a glorious and luxurious place to stay, set in 135 acres of beautiful rolling grounds.

Would it surprise you that what excited me most was a tour around their waste management area by their very informed Deputy General Manager, Raymond de Toulouse Lautrec? Probably not by now…. just to prepare you for my ‘bin’ conversation!

But what’s this about the bees? My Dad was an avid gardener and I have fond memories of helping him tend our good sized garden of vegetables and flowers as a little girl. Everything was grown from seed, kept from the previous year. Plant cuttings and vegetable gluts were shared with neighbours as were gardening tips on what to grow with what to keep the bugs in check. Everything that could be was composted. He taught me all I know and his presence is always with me when I garden – not surprising, so many of my plants are from him!

My conversation with the Estate Manager, Darren Venables stirred those memories and really got me thinking about all that Darren told me he was trying achieve….

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Environment, Travel

Standing Next to History

… with a group of like-minded, inspirational people who get together to preserve its memory

Hands up who knows the remarkable story of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s voyage to Antarctica on the ship Endurance? It’s the one that took place in 1914 on his endeavour to attempt the first land crossing of the Antarctic, from the Weddell Sea through the South Pole to the Ross Sea.

Remember the part where Shackleton and his men are stranded on Elephant Island? He takes a lifeboat with Frank Worsley, Tom Crean and three others battling treacherous seas and ice for 16 days and 800 miles before reaching the ‘wrong’ side of South Georgia, with mountains between them and the whaling station that could provide the help to rescue his men…

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Environment, Travel

How the ‘Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute’ Amplify Antarctica’s Challenges Through Art!

When we think about Antarctica, what tends to come to mind are penguins, whales, seals and of course, snow and ice but unless you have been able to see it for yourself, the vastness and brutality of its stunning scenery are hard to convey in photographs and indeed through paintings.

But that’s exactly what the Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute (FoSPRI) annual ‘Artist In Residence’ scheme looks to achieve. Each artist, will have their own unique style capturing Antarctica or the Artic in ways we would not necessarily think about and opening our eyes to new perceptions.

As an FoSPRI member, we joined a preview evening in London of the most recent work and got to speak to the artist, Polly Townsend, first hand about how she transferred her experiences to canvas…

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Environment, Travel

There is Life in the Treehouse – and I Don’t Mean Birds or Squirrels!

Do you remember that Woody Allen film, Stardust Memories, where he is sitting on a train waiting for it to depart the station? His coach is full of boring lifeless people who don’t know how to enjoy themselves and are going nowhere.  He is wondering why his life is so dull and where there could be a place he craves for fulfilment.  Just then a second train pulls into the platform.  He can see directly into a carriage which is full of people enjoying themselves in a happy party environment….

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