Eyam

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Eyam by Matt Hartley

Matt Hartley’s new play Eyamdirected by Adele Thomas, opened in The Globe from  Saturday 15 September to 13th October 2018.

It tells the story of what happened when the plague arrived in the Derbyshire village of Eyam in 1665. The community faced a moral dilemma. They had to decide whether to flee and risk spreading the deadly disease, or stay in the village and protect others from the risk, but face the potential of their own slow and painful death. Could they put neighbourhood feuds aside and pull together as a community?

The full cast includes: Annette Badland, Zora Bishop, Adrian Bower, Priyanga Burford, John Paul Connolly, Sam Crane, Becci Gemmell, Will Keen, Norah Lopez-Holden, Luke MacGregor, Jordan Metcalfe, Oliver Ryan, Sirine Saba, Howard Ward and Rose Wardlaw.

 

Display in Eyam Museum
Display in Eyam Museum

A true story

In 1665, the plague infiltrated a small Derbyshire village via a tailor’s cloth brought back from London. The citizens had to decide if they should flee and save themselves or  quarantine the village to stop the Black Death spreading. The villagers decided to stay and three quarters of them died. The church in Eyam has a record of 273 individuals who were victims of the plague.

A real village

Eyam plague cottage - photo by Juliamaud
Eyam plague cottage – photo by Juliamaud

The idea of wanting to visit a plague village might seem a morbid one.

And, to be fair, we had not set out to visit it but stumbled upon the place during a drive through the peak district. Sign posted as an area of historical interest, Eyam is a beautiful little village in the English countryside.

It is now a tourist attraction with a charming little museum, delightful tea rooms and a treasure trail of plaques running through it. The plaques help you to trace the steps of the villagers back in the time of the notorious bubonic plague outbreak that devastated so many of the local families.

Eyam Hall is also located in the village. It is Jacobean-style manor house and is a grade II listed building. Formerly managed by The National Trust, Eyam Hall and Craft Centre are owned and managed by the Wright family. The Hall is open to the public on selected days and available for private functions such as weddings.

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Frietmuseum

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Want to discover the history of the potato and fries?

 

Then you need to visit the Frietmuseum in Bruges!

 

This museum is devoted to the history of potatoes and the production of Belgian fries. It describes itself as “the first and only museum dedicated to potato fries”. 

Potatoes at the Frietmuseum -photo by Juliamaud
Potatoes at the Frietmuseum -photo by Juliamaud

Potatoes originated in Peru more than 10,000 years ago. The ground floor of the museum leads you  through the history of the potato.  Then it’s up to the first floor, to discover the history of the fries. End your tour with a trip to the basement where the medieval cellars house a cafe serving chips.

Yes, there are Chocolate Museums and Beer Museums, but this is something unusual to do while in Bruges.

And if you still want chocolate after you’ve enjoyed your chips, there is even a chocolate shop next door that serves delicious hot chocolate made with real chocolate……

Enjoy!

Frietmuseum and Choco-Jungle - photo by Juliamaud
Frietmuseum and Choco-Jungle – photo by Juliamaud

 

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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

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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!

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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

 

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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?

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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 Pexels.com

Want to know more about clue solving adventures?

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Sunday Lunchtime Jazz

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

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As usual the music was great.

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

For the next Sunday Lunchtime Jazz session 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.

 

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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.