blogging

#107 – Eat at a Michelin-starred restaurant

‘To Callum
Good luck and phone your mum.
Brum love
Glynn Purnell’

The countdown to my leaving the UK in 2016 for an unspecified amount of time was under way and, as part of my goodbyes, I was treated by my mum to a meal at the restaurant of one of my favourite Chef’s, Glynn Purnell.

The menu of choice at his Michelin star restaurant? The 9 course tasting menu.
To put it simply, it was a phenomenal dining experience.

Cornwall Street in Birmingham is the home of Purnell’s Restuarant. It is actually quite an understated building and, if you aren’t looking out for it, it is somewhere you could easily walk past without a second thought.

We were greeted immediately upon arrival, our bags and coats put to one side, and allowed to push the conversation (more…)

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#104 – Watch a show at the Minack Theatre, Cornwall

‘Cornwall’s extraordinary Minack Theatre is testimony
to one woman’s passion’
Philip Johnston

The Minack Theatre is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most beautiful performance space I have ever had the pleasure of watching theatre in. Carved into the edge of Cornwall’s beautiful coastline, this seasonal outdoor venue stands strong against the elements to deliver unique theatrical experiences to its audience.

The Minack Theatre has wowed audiences since the 1930s, with the threat of neither wind nor rain able to keep willing patrons at bay.

(more…)

#52 – Watch the Paralympics Live

‘I lost my leg aged five…
now I’m 1.9 seconds behind Usain Bolt’ 
– Jonnie Peacock

Although 2008 provided the watershed moment for me in regards to the Olympics, the Paralympics still very much flew under the radar for me. That is, however, until my application to be a volunteer at London 2012 was deemed successful and I was appointed a London 2012 Games Maker for the duration of the 2012 Paralympic Games. As a result, I thought I’d look into the Paralympics in a little more detail and, the more I looked, the more excited I became. (more…)

#47 – Visit Stonehenge, England

‘Why the ancient civilizations who built the place did not
use the easier, nearby rocks remains a mystery.
But the skills and knowledge on display
at Stonehenge are not’
– Neil deGrasse Tyson

If I’m completely honest, I have a very fuzzy memory of my trip to Stonehenge. I was quite young at the time, possibly not even a teenager, but certain parts of the day do remain crystal clear to me. The first of these memories centres – unsurprisingly – around food.  More specifically, cold sausage sandwich with ketchup for breakfast at sunrise. Honestly, when it comes to insanely good breakfast foods to have after an early start and a journey, never underestimate a good old tasty cold sausage sandwich.

The second thing I remember – or believe I remember – is that at the time of our visit there was either some construction work or excavation work (more…)

#46 – Visit the Eiffel Tower, Paris

‘The Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower. They’re monumental.
They’re straight out of Page 52 in your school history book’
–  Billy Crystal

The Eiffel Tower. The “Iron Lady”. A single structure that is synonymous with both Paris and France. This iron behemoth was once the worlds tallest structure, and is as beautiful as it is intimidating. Moreover no visit to Paris can be said to be complete without seeing it and, even though I have been several times now, my most recent visit was my favourite.

Previously I had only ever visited the tower during daylight hours, but Heather reminded me that at night it lights up, with a beacon at its peak, shining through the sky. So on a beautiful autumn evening we found ourselves gazing up at at the illuminated body (more…)

#45 – See the Mona Lisa

‘Mona Lisa looks as if she has just been sick, or is about to be’ – Noel Coward

Sorry to be stereotypical here, but a visit to the Louvre will always end up turning into a hunt for the Mona Lisa. It’s an interesting piece with a conflicted history, although I always wonder how much of the mystique surrounding this particular Da Vinci work is borne from the attention and focus that was placed upon it by my formative years in school.

Saying that, unlike the Louvre, the Mona Lisa is purely on this list so it could be ‘ticked off’ due to how much emphasis was placed on its “magisterial nature” whilst at school. There was no attachment, or even desire at all. The most apt description would be “going through the motions”.

At the end of the day, it is a piece of art. Not the best piece of art but, that doesn’t always matter, does it? Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is effectively the art worlds equivalent of the fashion industries designer labels. It may not be of the best quality, but it was a created by an acclaimed hand.

Plus, like the Louvre, I can say I have seen the Mona Lisa. I don’t know, but that seems to carry a bit of weight, especially with those who aren’t connoisseurs of the art industry (much like myself).

 

To see my complete bucket list, click here

#44 – Visit the Louvre

‘What’s the name of that famous museum in Paris? The Louvre?
I went through that place in 20 minutes’
– Peter Falk

Growing up, the Louvre if often fantasised about as one of the “must-sees” for any trip into Paris – especially for art lovers of all backgrounds. The diversity of styles, and the eras that are represented are well documented, as is the vast underground and overground space that it consumes.

Although I had been to Paris previously, the opportunity to visit the Louvre always escaped me, which I found rather irksome. So, when I went to visit my friend Heather in October 2016, getting to the Louvre was a top priority which – thankfully – she was in agreement with me on. (more…)

Callum’s 2017 Adventures: Great Ocean Road & Grampians 2D1N Tour pt.1

If you have come looking for an article that will given you an in-depth and detailed travel guide to both the Great Ocean Road and the Grampians National Park then I apologise, because you are sorely mistaken. However, if you have come looking for a little information about possible places/landmarks to visit (and some kick-ass photos to boot) then continue reading about my recent journey, courtesy of Wildlife Tours Australia.

Although I left the UK to travel, I came to Aus on a working holiday visa, so I could to top up my bank account and earn some money to help fund future travel plans. However, working full-time can be quite a bore, so you do need to do things to stop you falling into a rut. Fortunately my job allows me every second weekend off and, since I am living in Melbourne, I decided to use those weekends to try and get myself completing some of recommended activities for the area. One of these happened to be the Great Ocean Road, something that I wasn’t quite able to do on my previous visit back in 2015. As the whole weekend was free, I thought I’d splash out and go for the tour that included a visit to the Grampians as well.

The Great Ocean Road officially starts in Torquay, but if effectively takes you from Melbourne to Adelaide (or vice versa). It is known as one of the worlds greatest scenic drives, which shouldn’t come as a surprise because, well, you spend the entire time with the ocean on one side of you. (more…)

#42 – Go to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

‘Edinburgh is a beautiful city and has
a wonderful tradition of supporting the arts’
– Peter Hambleton

I’ve always had a wonderful relationship with Edinburgh. When I was younger I didn’t appreciate the city quite as much as I should have done, but ever since my 18th birthday I have put in a lot of effort to get to know it better.

It’s due to my mothers branch of the family that this connection to the city exists. Although born in Essex, they relocated to just outside Edinburgh (a place called Musselburgh) when she was like three or something. Anyway, they are still there and my mum still holds a strong affinity to Scotland.

One of Edinburgh’s biggest attractions is the fringe festival, one of the largest arts festivals in the world. (more…)

#40 – Watch a show on London’s West End

‘The way the world is, I think a silly evening in the theatre is a good thing,
to take our minds off terror’
– Tim Curry

I am a very fortunate man. The older I get, the more fortunate I realise my childhood was, especially when it came to the arts. Although my parents weren’t involved in creating art directly, they ensured that I was constantly exposed to it.

Now, I’m not exactly sure when my first West End performance was, or what it was. All I know is that I have been fortunate enough to have seen plenty of shows there. In fact, I once tried to make a list of all the pieces of theatre I have seen and just ended up completely lost because not only have I seen them all over the country, but because every single London show that has a UK tour ends up coming to my hometown – Milton Keynes.

I do have a couple of favourites though. Ben Elton’s We Will Rock You because, well, Queen songs. (more…)