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Scotland’s Tattie Scone Contest

Scotland’s Tattie Scone Contest

Did you know that there is an annual World Tattie Scone Contest in Scotland?  Both serious and amateur cooks take part, using a set recipe with mashed potatoes, flour and one magic ingredient of their choice.  One of this year’s judges explains: “It might just be that the winning tattie scone is just so innovative …. or it may be that it’s a fairly basic recipe, but it’s cooked to perfection.”

Edinburgh Episode 15

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The Pigs who discovered Bath’s Miracle Waters

The Pigs who discovered Bath’s Miracle Waters

It’s over 11 thousand years since Bladud is said, thanks to his pigs, to have discovered the healing properties of the waters in Bath.  The swineherd copied his pigs by bathing in local mud and found his leprosy was cured.  The Romans and the Georgians also knew all about the city’s miracle waters, the UK’s only natural hot springs.

Bath Episode 04

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Buskers in the heart of Paris

Buskers in the heart of Paris

The Pont St-Louis is the bridge which joins Île de la Cité to the Île St-Louis, right in the centre of Paris, just behind Notre Dame.  If you’re in luck, you’ll find buskers there and be able to enjoy a little music with a beautiful  backdrop.

Paris Episode 02

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Beauty and Brutality in Florence

Beauty and Brutality in Florence

Florentines abroad who are missing their home city do not say they are  ‘homesick’, but rather ‘sick for the dome’.  Our episode on the cathedral, or duomo, in Florence describes this beautiful building, said to ‘rise above Florence like a benediction’.  But it also tells the grisly story of Giuliano di Medici who was murdered there during mass on Easter Sunday in 1478.

Florence, Episode 02

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2 East End Reads

Two East End Reads

Two excellent books we recommend in our episode on the East End of London are Monica Ali’s Brick Lane and Charlie Connolly’s Constance Street.   The first takes you into the lives of the Bangladeshi community at the very end of the 20th century and the second goes back a hundred years and tells the story of one family and the street they lived in for generations ….. until it was destroyed by German bombs on Black Saturday in September 1940.

London Episode 16

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Lena’s diary

Lena’s diary

St Petersburg’s haunting Memorial to the Defenders of Leningrad recalls the dreadful 900 day long blockade of the city by German troops during the Second World War. Supplies to the city were so ruthlessly cut off that the population was starved and 800,000 people lost their lives. 16 year-old Lena Mukhina lived through it and kept a diary.  Its contents bring the period alive in a way the monument just can’t.

St Petersburg Episode 11 The Siege of St Petersburg

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Edinburgh’s real-life Jekyll and Hyde

Edinburgh’s real-life Jekyll and Hyde

Deacon Brodie’s Tavern in Edinburgh has 2 pubs signs illustrating the man who was, by day, ‘pious, wealthy and much-respected’, but at night became ‘a gambler and a thief, dissipated and licentious.’  It’s thought that the Edinburgh-born author Robert Louis Stevenson took his inspiration from Brodie for his novel, ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’.

Edinburgh Episode 05

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The Munich Art Hoard

The Munich Art Hoard

The Munich Art Hoard tells a fascinating true story.  In 2012, German customs authorities uncovered an astonishing hoard of more than 1,400 paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures stored in the flat of an elderly recluse, Cornelius Gurlitt.  Author Catherine Hickley searched the archives and conducted dozens of interviews in order to unravel the story of these treasures which had mostly belonged to Jewish collectors.  They were stolen in the 1930s and 40s and disappeared into a tangled web of Nazi persecution and dishonest art dealers, finally ending up in Mr Gurlitt’s possession.  This book offers an unusual angle on Munich during and after the war years.

Munich Episode 10

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The palaces of Seville

The palaces of Seville

Yes, the Alcazar is a gorgeous must-see in Seville.  But in Episode 06 we go on a wander through three other stunning palaces in the city and tell some of the stories behind them: the Casa de Pilatos, the Palacio de las Dueñas (pictured) and the Palacio de Lebrija.

Seville Episode 06

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