city adventurers

Fossil hunting at Kimmeridge Bay.

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The Jurassic Coast

The Jurassic Coast is a World Heritage Site on the English coast that stretches from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset.

Kimmeridge Bay on the Jurassic Coast by Juliamaud
Kimmeridge Bay on the Jurassic Coast by Juliamaud


Group on Kimmeridge Bay by Juliamaud
Group on Kimmeridge Bay by Juliamaud

You may not have heard of Kimmeridge in Dorset. I know I hadn’t until  a group of us went there in search of fossils.

Kimmeridge is a small coastal village that enjoys international recognition due to the fossils that commonly occur throughout the Kimmeridge Clay. In particular there are shells of ammonites and bivalves, as well as the skeletal remains of marine reptiles and (occassionally) the bones of dinosaurs and pterosaurs.

The Etches Collection

After a wall along the bay, looking for fossils, our group visited the nearby Etches Collection. This state of the art museum was created by famous fossil hunter and expert Steve Etches MBE.

Steve Etches with Catherine Skeggs
Steve Etches with Catherine Skeggs

Steve spent years combing the coast for ammonites and dinosaur bones. He collected so many that a £5m, world-class museum had to be built to house them all.

The Etches Collection: Museum of Jurassic Marine Life opened in 2016. It is a new purpose built museum  about a mile from the beach. It contains a magnificent collection of around 2,500 specimens. The permanent home for the collection is managed by a  trust, that was created to hold the finds for the nation. Local landowner, the Smedmore Estate, donated the site for the museum and the Lottery Heritage Fund gave £2.5m to the project, which was matched by private donations.

Visiting Kimmeridge Bay and The Etches Collection

The bay is reached by way of a narrow toll road a short distance from the village. Plenty of parking is available at the cliff-top. Fossil hunting is permitted at Kimmeridge Bay, but the use of hammers is not.

The Etches Collection is in the village of Kimmeridge, eight miles south of Wareham in Dorset. Kimmeridge is sign posted from the A351 at Wareham.  As you turn into the village, the museum building is on the right hand side.

The Etches Collection by Juliamaud

The Etches Collection


On a hunt for modern art around Bruges

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This summer we visited the UNESCO World Heritage City of Bruges. On the way to our hotel, we passed one of the large art installations currently situated on the canals.

THE FLOATING ISLAND : Photo by Juliamaud
THE FLOATING ISLAND : Photo by Juliamaud

Large art installations – What’s that all about?

From 5 May to 16 September 2018 Triennial Bruges 2018 is taking place.  Held once every three years an artistic route spreads across the city centre.  Contemporary artists and architects from around the world are asked to contribute.

This time the theme is today’s liquid society. It centers around the constant change in cities, how society handles such change, social issues and global warming.

Walking Bruges art trail

So we spent the next couple of days on a treasure hunt searching for the 15 works of art.  We started by picking up a map then set off on foot to explore the city.

Near the statue of Jan Van Eyck we found the Bruges Whale. Officially it is called the Skyscraper . Made from 5 tonnes of plastic waste pulled out of the ocean, it is a 4-storey whale that serves as a physical reminder why need need to stop polluting our oceans.

Skyscraper / the Bruges Whale : Photo by Juliamaud
Skyscraper / the Bruges Whale : Photo by Juliamaud

The route showed us a lot more of the city than we expected as we searched for the art work. Try it for yourself, but hurry. You only have until 16 September!

SELGASCANO PAVILION : Photo by Juliamaud
ACHERON I : Photo by Juliamaud
ACHERON I : Photo by Juliamaud
ATELIER4 - INFINITI²³ : Photo by Juliamaud
ATELIER4 – INFINITI²³ : Photo by Juliamaud
BRUG : photo by Juliamaud
BRUG : photo by Juliamaud
LANCHALS : Photo by Juliamaud
LANCHALS : Photo by Juliamaud


Sunday Lunchtime Jazz

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We enjoyed another Sunday Lunchtime Jazz at The William Morris Bar, Walthamstow.


As usual the music was great.


Sunday lunch consisted of Carrot and Coriander soup, Jerk Chicken with rice and salad followed by Chocolate cake.

The next Sunday Lunchtime Jazz session is due on Sunday 26th August 2018 at 1pm. Contact The William Morris Bar for details.

Exploring Tate Modern

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The Materials and Objects display

A while ago we visited The Tate Modern to discover how artists around the world have used diverse materials and embraced new and unusual materials and methods.

Lee Ufan Relatum 1968, 1994;Relatum photo by Juliamaud
Lee Ufan Relatum 1968, 1994
Magdalena Abakanowicz Embryology 1978–80; Embryology photo by Juliamaud
Magdalena Abakanowicz Embryology 1978–80
Susumu Koshimizu From Surface to Surface 1971, remade 1986;Surface to Surface photo by Juliamaud
Susumu Koshimizu From Surface to Surface 1971, remade 1986
El Anatsui Ink Splash II 2012; Ink Splash II photo by Juliamaud
El Anatsui Ink Splash II 2012
Learning about Marcel Duchamp - Fountain 1917, replica 1964 - photo by Juliamaud
Learning about Marcel Duchamp – Fountain 1917, replica 1964

If you’d like to discover what treasures are held in Tate Modern collection, visit


for International modern and contemporary art

Chingford’s heritage

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Sitting on the edge of Epping Forest, on the London/Essex border, is the London suburb of Chingford. It is host to an array of urban and countryside heritage.

Chingford Countryside


Originally the whole parish of Chingford lay within the ancient Forest of Essex. The Domesday figures for swine-pastures show that Chingford was well-wooded in the 11th century, although the parish had a considerable amount of arable land, which was increased by subsequent forest clearance. Chingford’s woodland is still similar in size to its area of woodland in the 1640’s.

Epping Forest and Chingford Plain became popular with day-trippers in Victorian times. As London’s largest open space, Epping Forest is a registered charity managed by the City of London.

Spend some time in “The View” learning the story and history of the forest.

Then visit the listed buildings on the edge of Epping Forest, including the Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge.

At the Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge, chingford by Juliamaud

Chingford Town

The town of Chingford began as a scattered farming community. Comprising of three forest hamlets, the inhabitants of Chingford had the ancient right to pasture cattle, branded with their mark, a crowned ‘G’, within the forest.

There has been a parish church in Chingford since Norman times. The present Old Church building dates from the late 13th century. However the church building had to be abandoned in the 1840’s as it was in such a bad state of repair. The Reverend Robert Boothby Heathcote decided to build, at his own expense, a new church on Chingford Green. The new Church on the Green, designed by Lewis Vulliamy, was built  in 1844 and established the prominence of the Chingford Green hamlet .

Chingford Green and SS Peter and Paul Church by Juliamaud

During Victorian times nearby Walthamstow and Leyton experienced a surge in urbanisation, but Chingford remained an agricultural parish until the arrival of the Great Eastern Railway.

The Chingford Green conservation area includes a variety of interesting buildings showing Chingford’s development over two hundred years from a small rural community to a suburb of modern London.

The Chingford Treasure Hunt

Discover the history of the “urban” part of Chingford (including the conservation area), starting at Chingford Station. Available as a self-guided hunt on the ClueKeeper platform

At this “Teddy Bears Picnic” things are not as innocent as they seem!

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Enter the 1980’s world of big business, big shoulders and fluffy toys

On Saturday night our team of investigators stepped back in time to to play the ITM Games murder mystery dinner party “Teddy Bears Picnic”.

Map of Edwards House copyright ITM Games
Map of Edwards House copyright ITM Games

The plot of “Teddy Bears Picnic”

It was the fifth anniversary of Edwards Toys, the company formed by Chester Toyes, Penny Whistle and the late Theo Edwards. Preparations were in hand for the launch of a new Teddy Bear range called “Teddy Bears Picnic”.

The City Adventurers had been invited to join Chester Toyes at the launch of the new range. We gathered at E-Four Indian Fusion in Chingford that was doubling as Edwards House, former home of the Theo Edwards. The house was still occupied by Theo’s widow, Babette, and her new husband Chester Toyes.

Incident Report:

At 5pm, Chester Toyes was found murdered by the side of the lake. The body was discovered by one of the security staff and Ryan Storey, a journalist on the estate. There were multiple stab wounds to the body. No murder weapon was found…….

Who could have done it?

Well, it turns out it was one of us!

But was it Babette Toyes, making herself a merry widow for the second time?

Or did his business partner, the designer Penny Whistle, have designs on taking over the company?

Had Chester become too personal with his personal assistant, Carrie Honor Fair ?

Maybe the accountant, Kash D Spencer, felt it was time to cash in Chester’s chips.

Did Ernest Statements, Chester’s  right hand man,  have anything to state?

And don’t forget the journalist, Ryan Storey. Did the hack take a knife to Chester?

We all had clue packs with information about ourselves and about the others around the table. We also had a map of the house and grounds to help our investigations.

A fun night, with great food and a great game.

Want to try it for yourself? “Teddy Bears Picnic”  is available from ITM Games  at Check out their other murder mystery games too