Thames Diamond Jubilee River Pageant

May 29, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The Thames River Pageant is one of, if not, the most anticipated event of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations this weekend. The floating show will see over 1000 boats from across the country and Commonwealth, sail down the River Thames on Sunday 3rd June in the grandest and most magnificent style. I have to say that I’m really looking forward to the spectacular as I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing such a nautical extravaganza. 

The River Pageant will start on Sunday afternoon from about 2pm when the Queen is expected to arrive. Jubilee bells will be sounded to mark the start of the Pageant at around 2.40pm and the Royal Barge, which the Queen and the Royal family will be abroad, will join the flotilla at around 3pm.

artist impression Thames Pageant

An artist impression of the River Thames Pageant

The Royal Barge, The Spirit of the Chartwell will be joined by over 1000 boats which will all be dressed and polished ready for the occasion. Expect to see the Jubilee Barge Gloriana along with historic, working and rowed boats plus barges, narrow boats and vessels as the River Pageant is promised to be a floating display of patriotic beauty like you’ve never seen before.

The 1000 boats will travel 7 miles of the Thames, starting at Albert Bridge before making their way past Battersea Park, Westminster Bridge, and Waterloo Bridge and finally coming to an end at Tower Bridge. Throughout the route are observation areas and big screens for spectators to enjoy the Pageant from.

River Pageant Route

The River Thames Pageant Route Map

The BBC have created a brilliant online interactive map and guide of the River Pageant which I’d recommend visiting. The site is complete with photographs and videos, which allows you to explore the river route and discover more about the boats and people taking part in the River Pageant.

I think the River Pageant will be an occasion that most people will remember the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee by because it’s set to be so impressive and the Pageant is packed with historic and significant snippets which you might not even be aware of. For example The Amazon, which is taking part in 2012’s Pageant, also took part in Queen Victoria’s Jubilee in 1897. Visit the official Thames Pageant website for more information and key facts.

Diamond Jubilee- What to watch…

May 28, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The Diamond Jubilee is set to be the biggest national celebration since the Royal Wedding in April 2011. So it comes as little surprise that live footage will be on the television and radio over the weekend.

Most television channels including BBC, ITV and Sky have chosen to return to the correspondents who covered the Royal Wedding. Huw Edwards and Sophie Raworth are at the helm of the BBC’s Diamond Jubilee coverage. Phillip Schofield and Julie Etchingham will be taking the reins at ITV and Dermot Murnagham, Eamonn Holmes and Sarah Hewson will be reporting for Sky News.

You’ll be able to watch live footage throughout most of the weekend on all channels so stay tuned!

What to watch Dimaond Jubliee

What I’m looking forward to watching over the Diamond Jubilee weekend.


Watch to watch in the run up to the weekend.

  • The Queen and I – ITV 8pm tonight- Ordinary people sharing their personal encounters with The Queen over her reign.
  • A tribute to the Queen by Prince of Wales– BBC 1 8pm 1st June- A personal tribute from Prince Charles which includes unseen images and home movies of the Queen.
  • Elizabeth: Queen, Wife, Mother– ITV 9pm 1st June- Alan Titchmarsh presents a touching documentary for the Diamond Jubilee. This documentary gives a personal insight into the Queen by her closest family including Princes William and Andrew and Princess Anne.

Top Coverage Tip: Remember that most news channel including BBC, ITV and Sky News will be keeping up to date online coverage of the Diamond Jubilee with special news updates, Twitter Feeds and Facebook statuses.

Chatsworth BBC Documentary- Episode One

May 16, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Chatsworth House has long been a popular tourist attraction thanks to its wealth of history. The ‘Palace of the Peaks’ boasts over 300 rooms, 62 farms and 35,000 aches with beautiful gardens and a farm yard for visitors to enjoy.

Now the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire have opened the doors of the Chatsworth Estate to the BBC for an exclusive look into life at Chatsworth. Filmed for the entire year of 2011 the documentary follows the work of the estate and its 700 members of staff who carefully maintain Chatsworth’s history making it the most popular historical house in Britain.

Duke and Duchess of Deveonshire at Chatsworth

Duke and Duchess of Deveonshire

Episode one (there are three in total) gives an oversight into how Chatsworth is prepared for its opening in March. During the winter months Chatsworth’s staff start to ‘deep clean’ the property and grounds in preparation for guests and everyone gets involved even the Duke and Duchess join in the annual litter pick.

This passionate approach of everyone lending a hand travels through the entire episode which I found incredibly endearing. As Tour guides carefully check dates and details on hand held guide devices whilst housekeepers do a spot of cleaning as they travel the grounds ensuring that everything is just right for Chatsworth 700,000 visitors.  

But I was most impressed by how precisely the display team work. In this episode they set the dining room table, recreating the table as it was set when Queen Victoria visited in 1843. Their attention to detail is second to none and their time and effort makes me appreciate just how true to reality features like these are in historical properties such as Chatsworth.

Chatsworth House

Chatsworth House

The documentary has a personal feel as it follows the journey of those who make the estate so excellent. Viewers meet many long serving members of staff including Andre, who runs the Duchess’s farm shop, one of the estates main sources of income and new recruits who are making their own mark on Chatsworth. The show follows Heather, Chatsworth’s first female ‘Head Guide’ who is working hard to lead a team of 60 experienced guide staff and learn more about the history of Chatsworth along the way. 

It’s a programme which I would definitely recommend watching especially if you like visiting stately homes or heritage sites as it gives a brilliant insight into how treasured history is brought to life so that we can enjoy it. Catch up on episode one with BBC’s iPlayer- click here to watch online.

Annette’s Websites of the Week- Just Giving, Queen Victoria’s Scrapbook and BBC’s Diamond Jubilee

April 27, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Annette's websites of the week

Claire Squire’s Just Giving page The untimely death of Claire Squires, the 30 year old runner who collapsed and died only a mile away from the finish line of last weekend’s London Marathon, has dominated this week’s headlines. Despite been an incredibly sad story the generosity of the public in such a sad time has been overwhelming.

Claire Squires Just Giving

Claire Squires' Just Giving for Samaritans

Over 70,000 donations have been made on Claire’s Just Giving charity page raising an incredible £811,000 (at this moment in time) for her chosen charity, Samaritans. Inspired by Claire’s story I’ve pledge a donation myself and feel confident that it will be welcomed tribute to Claire and help both her family and Samaritans regain something positive from such a tragic lose.


Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee Scrapbook Prior to Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee only one other monarch has achieved such a milestone, Queen Victoria who celebrated her Jubilee in 1897. To celebrate the first ever Diamond Jubilee, and the life and reign of Queen Victoria, the website ‘Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee Scrapbook’ has was launched this week.

The interactive site, which allows users to click through an online scrapbook, covers all areas of Queen Victoria’s life including her becoming a Queen, her love and marriage to Prince Albert, the Queen’s home and her empire and Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Scrapbook

Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Scrapbook Homepage

What’s so unique about the website is that all content, including official documents, paintings, audio and film clips, diary entries and personal letters from Queen Victoria, are from Royal archives which have been specially opened for people to enjoy prior to this summer’s celebrations.

I’d most definitely recommend this website if you’re interested in learning more about Queen Victoria and her Diamond Jubilee (a great site for grandchildren) as it includes everything from pressed flowers from Queen Victoria’s Jubilee bouquet and even the royal seating plan of the 1897.


BBC Diamond Jubilee: Royal Tour MapsYesterday I blogged about the Queen and Prince Phillip visiting South Wales on the welsh leg of their Diamond Jubilee Tour of the UK. Throughout the coming months the Queen will visit the towns and cities throughout the country whilst other members of the Royal family will represent the Queen overseas.

On these visits The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will travel to South East Asia, Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall will visit Australia and New Zealand and The Duke of York will travel to India.

BBC Royal tours in maps

BBC Royal tours in maps

Throughout these visits, many of which are in commonwealth countries, special tributes will made to the Queen and her 60 years on the throne. To keep track of the Diamond Jubilee globetrotting the BBC have created a site with interactive maps that documents the royal tours.

One map follows the Queen and Prince Phillip’s tour of the UK and the other, a map of the globe, tracks all international visits. Each map is pinpointed with destinations where the Royal family will visit and will be updated with videos clips, photos and articles about their travels as they happen.

A great way to keep up to date with the events in the run up to the Diamond Jubilee.

Panorama Undercover: Elderly Care

April 24, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Panorama is no stranger to unveiling shocking truths. Only last year an undercover investigation by Panorama resulted in a police investigation and the arrest of carer workers at a Bristol care facility where ill treatment of patients with learning disabilities was caught on camera.

Last night Panorama unearthed the story of Maria Worroll. An elderly lady who suffers from Alzheimer’s and was a resident at Ash Court care home in North London where she should have received full time care. 

Only six weeks into Maria’s stay her daughter, Jane, noticed bruising on her mother’s body and felt that Maria had become increasing introverted and generally unhappy. Trying to work out why Maria felt this way Jane planted a secret camera in her mum’s room to see what care Maria was actually receiving.

fiona phillips, Maria and Jane Worroll

Fiona Phillips with Maria and Jane Worroll in Panorama

The footage is truly shocking. Maria’s care plan wasn’t followed correctly, she was forced fed and her wishes to receive personal care from female carers only were ignored. In only 2 nights worth of footage Maria was subject to neglect and both verbal and physical abuse.

Five carers were filmed in Maria’s room at Ash Court over the course of secret filming, each of them failed to communicate with her and none offered Maria any reassurance when she was clearly distressed. Instead Maria was isolated with no entertainment, the television was only switched on when carers wished to watch, and Maria’s needs appeared to be disregarded despite her Alzheimer’s.

Most distressingly was the physical abuse caught on film, Maria was slapped 6 times by a male carer, pushed and shoved around a bed and manhandled because it would appear that the carers didn’t care to use as hoist as required. Outrageous and shocking but sadly the reality of Maria’s experience.

Jane’s footage was shown to Ash Court management, Quality Care Commission and Forest Healthcare, the owners of Ash Court. Their responses to the footage seemed to me to be lacklustre. CQC’s report doesn’t publish the matter that a serious case of abuse to a vulnerable person occurred in a facility which they rated as ‘excellent’. And the Chief Executive of New Forest reported that 4 of the 5 would return to work after a training process to ensure similar incidents didn’t occur again, which simply doesn’t seem good enough.

Unsatisfied Jane took her footage to the police and social workers who lead an investigation and later charged the male carer, Jonathon Aquino, with assault and ill treatment. He will now serve 18 months in prison. After five months the 4 other carers in question were sacked from Ash Court.

Maria is now in a different care home where her needs are being attended to properly. She is happy, out of bed and able to enjoy her life once again. Panorama’s report, which was lead my Fiona Phillips was utterly devastating and has raises further questions as to whether care homes in Briton are providing thorough, reliable and genuine care for their residence or slipping into decline.

Although difficult to watch I hope that this episode of Panorama will put more emphasis on enabling elderly people to stay at home, independently, for as long as possible. As I truly believe that this could avoid such mindless abuse and neglect to vulnerable elderly people.

Watch Panorama Undercover: Elderly Care on BBC iPlayer now.

Titanic- 100 years on…

April 10, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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100 years ago today, 10th April 1912, the RMS Titanic set sail from Southampton to begin its maiden voyage to New York. Only five days into its journey across the North Atlantic Ocean the Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg. The tragedy claimed the lives of 1517 passengers and crew members and became a historical disaster that still remains a strong topic of public interest even today. 

This year’s 100th anniversary provides a chance to look back and commemorate all of those who were aboard the ship. Remembering those who sadly lost their lives and reflecting on how the disaster affected those who managed to survive the catastrophe.

The 1997 film ‘Titanic’, based on the ship and its passengers, has been rereleased in 3D to coincide with a century since the disaster and the BBC have created a Titanic themed website which features related articles, archived stories and in-depth facts regarding the ship’s structure and design. In addition the BBC is currently airing ‘Titanic with Len Goodman’ an insightful series which looks into the history, passengers and legacy of the Titanic.

Titanic 1912

The Titanic in 1912

In a more literal way to remember the MS Balmoral set sail from Southampton over the weekend carrying 1309 passengers (the exact same number of passengers on board the Titanic) in a voyage which hopes to recreate the Titanic’s journey. Passengers include relatives of those who died in 1912 disaster and Titanic enthusiasts who will all take part in a memorial service of Sunday 15th April- 100 years to the day that the great ship sank to the bottom of the ocean.

For me, however, the most intriguing commemorative treat has to be’s Titanic collection which includes new records of passengers and crew members. The latest additions includes a full passenger list complete with names, dates of birth, nationalities and occupation enabling all budding researchers to find out if any of their relatives were part of the Titanic tragedy.


Survivors in a lifeboat departing the disaster

The Titanic collection is available to access free of charge until the end of May, which is a great excuse to sign up to and find out more about your heritage. Even if you don’t find anyone who was directly related to you the records are incredibly interesting to read and include historic photographs from the 1912 scene. There are several images of sparsely filled lifeboats which give a feel for just how empty the life rafts were upon departing the ship; a criticism which many blame for the huge loss of life at the Titanic.

I’d love to know if you’ve got any Titanic history in your family. If so please do get in touch, it would be great to hear more about how the Titanic affects people even years after the disaster.

Annette’s Websites of the Week 6th-10th February 2012

February 10, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Annette's websites of the week

This week many of my blogs have focused around the start of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. As I’m sure you can tell I’m very much looking forward to the Jubilee in June and thought it would be a nice idea to share some Diamond Jubilee websites, which I’ve been browsing through this week. – The Diamond is the official website of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Sweetly the site is illustrated with an emblem created by 10 year old Katherine Dewar who entered her drawing into a Blue Peter competition.

A mostly fact based site it is incredibly informative and would be lovely to explore with grandchildren. As it documents the history of the Queen and previous jubilees, plus explains the role of the monarchy and how they help our country really well.

The Queens Diamond Jubilee wesbite

My favourite part of the site is the timeline which reviews the past 60 years in its entirety. From events within the monarch to general happenings which have been covered in the news. Cleverly designed with photographs and video footage you can easily scroll through each decade, recalling the pieces of history which you can remember yourself. I got a great sense of nostalgia from this section of the site and found it really enjoyable.

Overall it’s a pleasant and family friendly website which offers bucket loads of information and some fantastic photographs that I doubt you’ll see elsewhere. If you’re excited about the Jubilee I would definitely recommend checking out. – Earlier this week the line-up for the Diamond Jubilee concert, which will be held outside of Buckingham Palace on 4th June was released to the public.

With brilliant acts including Paul McCartney, Elton John and Tom Jones performing at the event, plus an invitation to have lunch in the Buckingham Palace Gardens prior to the concert, tickets are in great demand.

The Diamond Jubilee

However you can’t purchase tickets instead the event is open to everyone living in Britain. Those who would like to attend must enter a public ballot to be in with a chance of securing entry. You can sign up via post or alternatively apply online (this is the method which I chose to use).

The BBC Diamond Jubilee site is hosting the online application process, which will release ten thousand tickets. Easy to use and simply laid out the site only requires your name, email address and contact details for your application to be processed. But you should be aware that the application date closes on Friday 2nd March 2012. – I’ve chosen to share 2012 The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee because it has an online merchandise shop where all manner of Diamond Jubilee themed goodies can be purchased. They are currently selling a collection of china wear, calendars and books, plus commemorative coins which are great keepsakes.

Diamond Jubilee Merchandise

Most excitingly they currently have a selection of themed street party goods, which would be prefect for a Jubilee gathering with friends and family. Their range includes Diamond Jubilee paper plates, napkins, flags and party bunting all embellished in regal designs, which are very reminiscent to the street party decorations used during the Royal Wedding.

If you’ve already got a Diamond Jubilee street or garden party planned I’d recommend bookmarking this page so you can return to it later in the year, who knows they might have more selection closer to the Jubilee weekend in June.

The Diamond Queen BBC series with Andrew Marr

February 7, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Last night I watched ‘The Diamond Queen’, a three part series on the BBC which was written and presented by Andrew Marr to mark the start of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

The series looks back on the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II and includes exclusive footage of her as a child and young woman. Promising a well-rounded and true insight into the person behind the persona viewers are treated to candid interviews with those closest to the Queen and exclusive filming of her at work currently.  

The Diamond Queen

The Diamond Queen was created by Andrew Marr

Andrew Marr’s interview with the Queen’s grandchildren, about their grandmother was rather insightful as both Princes William and Harry and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie all showed genuine admiration for their Grandmother and the work which she continues to do. This was echoed by Primes Minister, past and present who are said to have called on her wisdom and knowledge in times of need.

The Queen 2012

A recent photograph of the Queen

However, I was most taken with the surprise which waited in the garden as Princess Beatrice unveiled the Queen’s Wendy House which she received as a child. The beautiful thatched mini cottage, which Princess Beatrice gave Andrew Marr an exclusive tour of, was the whimsical play house of the Queen and Princess Margaret as children and has since been used by her own children and grandchildren.

If you’re getting excited about the Diamond Jubilee I’d definitely recommend catching up on The Diamond Queen– a brilliant insight into the world of the modern day monarchy.

Bob Holness dies aged 83

January 9, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Recent news that Bob Holness has passed away aged 83 is very sad indeed. A former theatre actor, Bob’s career got kick started when he became a broadcaster for BBC Radio One and Radio Two in the 1960’s. Since Bob went on to enjoy a fruitful career in showbiz and broadcasting.

Amongst radio hosting credits Bob become known for acting skills becoming only the second person to play James Bond in a radio adaptation of 1956’s Moonraker.

However, Bob Holness will be fondly remembered for his days presenting the classic game show Blockbusters. A real family favourite, which coined the classic phrase ‘Can I have a P please Bob?’.

Bob Holness

The iconic game show, which made Bob Holness a household name, was very much a part of my own family viewing in the mid 80’s and upon the news of Bob’s death I immediately thought about my own memories of watching the show many years ago.

Although Blockbusters will be Bob’s most recognised work he also worked on a host of other shows. Latterly in his career Bob hosted Anything Goes a BBC World Services request show, which was enjoyed internationally.

So here’s to Bob Holness- Can I have a P please Bob!

Harry Judd crowned Strictly Come Dancing Winner 2011

December 19, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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What a wonderful weekend of dance as the Strictly Come Dancing 2011 series came to an end in Blackpool on Saturday night.

The final contestants Jason Donovan, Chelsee Healey and Harry Judd had the pleasure of preforming their final dances at the legendary home of dance, Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom.

The final saw incredible performances which all seemed worthy of top scores. I simply adored Chelsee’s Shrek themed jive, Jason’s show dance was brilliant and Harry’s quickstep was out of this world to say the least.

Harry Judd Strictly Come Dancing

Despite all three finalists having the potential to win it was McFly’s Harry Judd who was crowned Strictly Come Dancing 2011 winner lifting the glitter ball trophy with great pride alongside professional partner Aliona Vilani.

I think that this series has possibly been the best yet and I’m so pleased with all of the finalists. It’s particularly nice to see Harry win as we’ve seen him transform into a real dancers over the series. His Argentine tango was simply mesmerising on Saturday night dare I say one of the best dances in strictly history, in my opinion.

Huge congratulations to Harry, Chelsee and Jason for a brilliant final as always such brilliant entertainment which the whole family can enjoy together.

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