Free range

A friend of mine is the proud keeper of five chickens, and today he invited me over to watch them have a dust bath. They each have their own little personalities and watching them roam free was a great way to end the week – a good antidote to a week in an office, especially on a day which felt almost springlike.

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Kenilworth Castle

Last weekend I had the most beautiful day at Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire. It’s a stunning ruin with centuries of history and my kind of photographer’s paradise. Here are some of my favourite Kenilworth Castle facts:

  • The castle’s origins date back to 1120
  • It was once surrounded by a huge man-made lake
  • It was a medieval fortress which was later turned into a pleasure palace
  • Parts of it were deliberately destroyed in 1650 after the English Civil War

One of my favourite things about it today is that staircases have been installed in some of the taller buildings so you can get all the way to the top, and see the castle really up close, and experience views that stretch for miles.

Layer Marney Tower

Another place ticked off my Essex list recently – Layer Marney Tower. As probably already evidenced in previous photo missions recorded on this blog, I just can’t get enough of nice crumbly red bricks, so this was great for me.

You can go up to the top of the tower itself, and there is also a church full of interesting corners to explore, and a medieval wall painting covered over in the Reformation and rediscovered centuries later.

The Tower was built during the reign of Henry VIII by Henry Marney, who held influential positions within Henry’s court. Courtiers tried to out-do each other with magnificent buildings, and as a result the gatehouse is the tallest Tudor gatehouse in the country. Despite its actual height, its windows have been arranged to make it appear to have more floors than it actually does.

A great place to go for a little explore, and a drink in their courtyard cafe. If you go in the spring there may also be lambs.

Copped Hall

This is another one of those places I’ve been meaning to visit for ages and I’m so glad that I finally did. Copped Hall is near Epping in the south of Essex, and was gutted by fire in 1917. The shell of the mansion is in surprisingly good condition, and is now in the care of the Copped Hall Trust, who are working to restore it, painstakingly, bit by bit. It’s well worth a visit on one of their open days for a good explore.

Outburst of creativity

Today has been a very productive graphic-designy kind of a day: a stop-motion animation finished, two new blog headers designed and a new blog launched in conjunction with my car-designing cousin Liz Pinder.

Each of today’s ventures features Widget, a soldering tool with a big personality. Our new blog, Widget’s World, follows Widget’s adventures as he explores the world around him.

Widget holidaying in Italy

Blog header no.1:

Designed with the help of and for Liz’s blog.

Blog header no.2:

For the new Widget’s World blog.

Last but by no means least, the (eagerly anticipated and highly acclaimed) Widget film Computing for Tools airs for the first time today. We hope you enjoy!

Computing for Tools