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Essentially England News, June 2009 - Roses and Pimms
June 30, 2009

Roses and Pimms
A Perfect English Summer

A cheerful welcome to everyone who subscribed to Essentially England News during the last month! Here you'll find England news, site news, travel tips, reviews and our Recipe of the Month, all in one easy-to-digest email.

Thereís a reason why May and June are my favourite months: the first fresh vegetables, including my favourite asparagus, the first food festivals, strawberries, Wimbledon, roses Ö and of course, the weather. And this year could not be more glorious if Iíd asked for it. Itís warm, sunny and wonderful and sitting out of an evening with the scent of the roses in the air is a real pleasure.

Hope, youíre enjoying it too!

What's New at Essentially England?

With the weather so nice weíre out exploring and photo hunting again.

Hailes Abbey is a magical, peaceful place on the border between Worcestershire and Gloucestershire Ö with an asparagus farm nearby.

Glastonbury Abbey and the famous Tor are a must-see destination for all King Arthur fans, while Glastonbury itself is a quirky, charming place, if sometimes a little Ďout thereí.

And just last weekend we had an extended wander round Kenilworth Castle. The National Trust have just restored the garden Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, built specifically to woo Queen Elizabeth I. They did an excellent job. The romance of the place really comes through. I look forward to see how this develops. And the castle itself Ö well, you can read about that soon.

Also, Iím often asked about specific dates in English history, so for those who are curious (or have homework to do) Iíve started to put together a history calendar. This is a real fun section, which will grow as I find more dates and events. History never really stops.

Itís the 500s anniversary of Henry VIIIs accession to the throne, and there are exhibitions and programs exploring his reign. The British Museum is putting on a real comprehensive one, which I hope to go and see during the summer. And even the Vatican is joining in, as you can see in this video.

Fairs, Festivals and Things to Do

Itís festival time in England. Glastonbury Ė our most famous music festival Ė finished last night. But that doesnít mean itís over. Reading, Guildford, Leeds, the Isle of Wight and Weston-super-Mare are still events to look forward to, as is the folk festival in Sidmouth.

Amongst the food festivals, check out the Oswestry Food & Drink Festival, held right in the middle of town, the Chertsey Black Cherry Fair, or the famous Whitstable Oyster Festival. And if itís liquorice you like, then make sure you head to Pontefract on Sunday 12th July.

Buckingham Palace is getting ready for its annual summer opening event too. You can visit the Royal Mews and the State Apartments in the Palace itself. This year, a special exhibition focuses on Her Majestyís role as head of the Commonwealth, with information, jewellery, clothes and gifts associated with her trips abroad. If youíre in London this summer and like to take a look, you can book tickets here.

And if youíre looking for things to do this summer that wonít bust the bank, then bookmark the special offers page from the England Tourist Board. Offers change regularly and some are rather unusual!

Recipe of the Month - Pimms

If youíve never seen or tried this before you may be a little confused here. A salad in a glass, with alcohol? Never mind. Itís just the right thing for a sultry English summer evening, traditional and very refreshing.

Pimms goes back some way, to 1851 to be precise. Itís a blend of gin and herbs Ė exact recipe kept strictly secret Ė and sold ready blended. To make the most perfect summer drink:

  • find a large jug and place some ice in the bottom
  • add halved strawberries, orange segments, cucumber slices (yes, really!) and lemon peel
  • borage flowers add a beautiful accent if you have some in the garden
  • half-fill the jug with Pimms and top up with tonic or lemonade
Serve in tall glasses, with a straw. BTW, itís acceptable to eat the salad, too!

And Next Month Ö

Summer holidays are coming up, so I'll be trying to find you some marvellous historical (or not so historical) things to do with the family. There should be plenty to choose from.

Until next month, keep well and think of EnglandÖ

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