Off to France for the centenary of 1918 with the BBC

Group portrait Ypres 2017

  It was the first day of the German spring offensive. The date was March 21, 1918 and the Kaiser’s boys were launching Operation Michael, an audacious bid to puncture Allied lines and seize the Channel ports that lay beyond. If they achieved that aim, Britain would be bracing itself…

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The Belgians are here! Head of Steam opens in Leicester

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On the edge of Leicester’s newest bar you’ll find a pink elephant, a gnome and two Trappists from Belgium. This unusual quartet is among 150 UK and international beers at Head of Steam in Market Street. The elephant, AKA Delirium Red, is a silky smooth cherry brew, the gnome is…

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Western Park Beer Festival is coming next month

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It’s Western Park Beer Festival on September 15 and 16. It’ll be ace. This year we’ll be spreading the love for Loros, the local hospice, and saluting the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. Drinks-wise it means 16 cask, six keg, four ciders and liver-shaped swimming pools of gin…

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Around the World in 80 Plates. Day one. Cyprus/Greece.

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The suggestion came at the end of a terrifyingly large Greek meal. “We should do this again, but somewhere new,” said Emma. “…there’s Madeira a Vista in Woodgate,” I respond. At that moment it was settled. Our group of four had probably eaten enough after the second of five courses…

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When St John’s lads carried swords

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In classical parlance I am ‘knackered’. In recent days there’s been a double funeral in France, a christening in South Wigston, an orchestral concert and film on the Somme at Leicester Cathedral, and an archaeological dig at Castle Hill Country Park. Which is why I am sat in my comfies,…

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You’ll never look at Simon de Montfort the same way again

The statue of Simon de Montfort on the Clock Tower, Leicester

Simon de Montfort drew his last exhausted breath on a bloody Worcestershire battlefield. Outnumbered four to one, the powerful sixth Earl of Leicester had refused pleas to escape to safety as the Royalists continued their charge forward. “Our bodies are theirs, our souls are God’s,” he boomed as a hit-squad…

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Filth and more filth: The Leicesters at Vimy 1916

  The 4th Leicesters had sat in trenches overlooked by the Boche on the Messines Ridge and at Hill 60. And now at Vimy the enemy were at the top of the ridge again thanks to those responsible for our shortage in guns and munitions. If you had wished to…

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Kilworth House – a little cakey kiss from heaven

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Leicestershire, through agriculture and industry, has always had fairly deep pockets. Which means we have quite a number of lovely homes nestled within the gentle gold and green of our shire’s undulating countryside. Kilworth House (Hotel and theatre) is one such place. Former home of genuinely lovely Black Sabbath guitarist…

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The Wheatcroft Collection

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   Tour of the museum at Donington Park - Donington Grand Prix collection.
Kevin Wheatcroft.

With the annual French/Belgian battlefield experience rapidly approaching and Download rock festival soon after, my thoughts are currently turning towards Donington, which combines military on one hand and music on the Devil-horned other.   Cue an article from 2012…                                                          Kevin Wheatcroft next to a German half-track   Some people…

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