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


Tips for solving puzzles in Escape Rooms

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So you are in an escape room with your team.

What things can trip you up? How do you over come them?


Not seeing what is in front of you.

Sometimes one of the hardest things in an escape room is seeing what is in plain sight. You are so used to having to open locks and search cupboards that you can miss something that is staring you in the face.

Check your answer.

So you’ve worked out the puzzle and are sure you’ve got the right answer, but the lock isn’t opening?

Time to start double-checking your work. It may be that you have the right answer, but the wrong lock.

Next, ask your team. Maybe you’ve made a simple error in your calculations. Or maybe you’ve gone about solving it the wrong way. It could be as simple as on those game shows where they read who “has” been in rather than who “hasn’t” and loose the jackpot.

I give up!

Unfortunately, you can’t.

Or if you do give up, someone else on your team has to solve the puzzle.

No-one is getting out unless all the puzzles are solved…….unless of course you hack the puzzle. And that’s not why you paid good money and gave up a couple of hours of your time.

So stop complaining, stop procrastinating and ask for help.

Initially ask your team. But ultimately ask your Games Master. They are there to help you get out. Use them.


person about to catch four dices
Photo by fotografierende on

Want to know more about clue solving adventures?

Check out What Are We Going To Do Next?



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.

Escape Games 

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So what is an Escape Game?

It is a physical adventure game. Usually an escape game is an escape room, although there are outdoor escape adventures available.

For an escape room, a group of people are locked in a room and have to solve clues and puzzle to escape. They look for codes and clues, solve puzzles and riddles, and combine information.

It’s intensive playing for an hour, but also a form of team building. To win (escape) the team need to collaborate and co-operate with each other. It brings out qualities such as leadership, communication, trust, flexibility and responsibility. And throws in a dollop of stress, time pressure and competition.



Love playing Escape Rooms and interested in knowing how to design one?

Well, you are in luck. Nowescape asked Daniele Colombo to share his secrets to designing “must-play” escape games.

He said to decide on a theme and make the game-play follow the story.  He advised sticking with a classic theme, such as pirates, mad scientist or bank heist, if you’re the first game in the area. But be innovative if you’re last. Decor and lighting should enhance the theme and there should be a themed soundtrack. He suggested using a balance of technical and traditional puzzles.

He also advised considering smoke machines and smell effects. I know they are used to help players become fully immersed in the theme, but I’d advise caution re breathing problems.

More about team-building

Check out more team-building ideas with “What Are We Going To Do Next?”. This fascinating book shows how social team-building builds memories and happiness.








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