Antigua & Jolly Beach Holiday 2015 – A Must.

I decided on a ten day stay at Jolly Beach resort in Antigua in 2014 -Jolly Beach being a fabulous , oh so heavenly a base from which you can easily discover the whole island. The resort has an Indian restaurant,an Italian restaurant,a Seafood restaurant and grills on the beach all within the complex and it s all included!.

Best time to go ? I went in March and it was hot, a few, very welcome daily showers lasting ten minutes-not too many mosquitoes either.

I travelled British Airways but the greatest and all inclusive deals are to be found at any major holiday company.

What I loved about Antigua is that you can still have tea and cakes at four O’clock and cricket on the beach. So British :)and a wide variety of water sports.
Best inland trip? Shirley Heights on a Sunday evening to dance to the steel bands and other days St John’s for shopping-tax free-cruise ship gazing and a visit to the museum.

Share your trip advice below!

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Juan Les Pins 14th July 2014

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band s  entry on stage last night was triumphantly announced by  Juan Les Pins’  Bastille Day  firework display but the real fireworks were on stage.

For fifty years now the legendary temple of jazz, Preservation Hall , situated in the heart of New Orléans ‘ French Quarter ,has been keeping jazz alive and kicking and last night was no exception.

As well as being the best jazz musicians out there, their funny and lively stage presence has made it, I am sure, the most memorable performance of this year s festival.


In July, 1923, my two great uncles set sail for France. They took a photo of the white cliffs of Dover as they sailed away; somehow they arrived in Albert where they more than likely checked into the Basilica hotel with its view of the Basilica opposite, and its legendary Golden Madonna.

Probably the next day they travelled out to Mametz woods in an attempt to locate the last place that their brother had been seen, for he had fallen at 3.23 on the morning of July 14th,1916 -having only had time to shout “charge” to his men before a German bullet shot him through the head and as he was the bombing officer that morning,  carrying 20 odd hand grenades –  he may have taken a few of his men and his batman with him. No body was ever found for Archibald, maybe he is one of the 8 or so Leicestershire 8th buried in the Flatiron cemetery that is situated opposite the battlefield now, however, in 1923 that cemetary was not there and the family photos bear witness to two brothers walking around a cornfield, heads down, carrying sunflowers and wondering where to place them.

They were not the only ones,from as early as 1918 British tourists flocked to the Somme to visit the battlefields in an attempt to capture something of what their loved ones must have experienced, to see for themselves where their loved ones had fallen. Veterans from the war returned to aid the clearing of the fields and the government organised trips to the Somme, with record numbers in the 20 s because this had been a civilian s war and ordinary people needed  places to grieve and mourn.

Michelin was among the first to publish and organise tour guides in the 1920 s.bazentinthomasbowell1923

Some say that with time the emotional involvment with such places of pilgrimage change into  something different, a more ordinary form of tourism even, but I cannot see this ever happening in the WW1 battlefields – no one can come away unmoved by them nor should they.

Only last week I came away from the very same field pictured here, 98 years after Archie fell and 93 years after his brothers’ visit and I can assure you I was moved. This is how it will be for generations to come for the beautifully kept cemeteries and monuments ensure that NO SOLDIER will ever be forgotten, nor lost, ever again.


1923, looking for a fallen relative near Bazentin Le Petit









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WW1 Research -Newspapers -Le Petit Journal. The Battle of Bazentin –The Somme. General Fayolle s account.

WW1 Research -Newspapers -Le Petit Journal.
The Battle of Bazentin –The Somme. General Fayolle s account.
When researching WW1 there are many valuable sources out there to use, family history websites, databases, journals and libraries but as well as these obvious ones, there is another wonderful source of research WW1 that is often overlooked and it’ s called Ebay.
I am currently researching my great uncle Archie’s role in WW1, he was killed in the Somme on July the 14th, 1916 in the battle of Bazentin Le Petit. I had discovered an old family trunk only three months ago, I found all Archie s medals, dead man s penny and a few other pieces of WW1 memorabilia and propaganda.
I was really looking for a more “local” or immediate record of the battle, something a little different -newspaper articles, illustrations, photos or cartoons. I had found a few illustrations on Getty images but didn’t feel like forking out too much on documents that are in the public domain so hey presto to the EBay search tool and up popped , Le Petit Journal of August 1916 an 8 page supplement. The back page of the supplement sports a colour illustration by Damblans with the text which reads,” How the English celebrated France s Day”, the 14th of July (see the above image).
This is an extract from the article about General Fayolle’s account of the battle.
“It was one of the injured who had described to our colleague at the Daily Mail how he and his comrades had, heroically, on July 14th, celebrated France’ s Day. We all knew that it was France’s day and I would n t be at all surprised , judging by their resolved and steadfast attacks, their manner of firing, by all their actions from the beginning of the attack until the end last Friday, if our lads had not taken a leaf out of our brave French ally’s book. What I want to say is that they showed that same bravery, and they were many who showed it, that valiant charge, that courage, that strength so characteristic of the French troops. The first day of the battle, the 1st July had been epic but Friday, as I witnessed it, was glorious. I have been told that here in England you have paid great tribute to our courageous allies. Well! I do not believe it to have been more glorious than the battle fought by our brave soldiers between Ovilliers and Longueval.
Everyone knows France s day and on Friday our battle cry was “Beautiful France” and “Long Live France” that must have seemed very funny indeed to The Bosche.
Look, here, we were to take this point that you can see on the map (Bazentin) we marched forward in four battalions. Mine was the third. Master Bosche gave a hot reception to the first two and mine. The first two battalions were to reach the first and second trenches. This they did remarkably well and at that moment the German machine guns started.
I can give you my word that half of my men jumped into the Bosche trenches without one weapon in their hands as many of them had had their rifles damaged. I have never seen anything so beautiful in my entire life. My men took no notice of the Bosche bayonets, as if they had not even existed, I have never seen such fury. They were true devils possessed with their incessant cries of Live France! Francais forever!
Seeing all my lads teasing the Bosche with their hands and arms bare, that is worth living for …or dying. One officer in my section went down into the trench grabbed the Bosche by their breeches and necks and threw them over the parapet to finish on what remained of their barbed wire,” get you gone” , he shouted and I know not what else , “to hell with you”. Anyway he put them out of business all right.
(Translation by me)
J.Bowell all rights reserved

“Le Petit Journal”, was a Parisian newspaper that was published from 1863 to 1944 and during the WW1 period was full of propaganda, as one would expect.
All copies can be found online also at Gallica, the digital library of the BnF. In French.
My copy cost me £4 on Ebay from France, postage £1 because I wanted one for keepsakes.
Today, French TV channel, Canal plus has an upbeat televised news programme of the same name.

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If I had pots of money I would spend time on ebay buying up all the dead man s pennies there are on there. I always think it s sad to see them up for sale, no family member left to cherish them? Nobody in the family interested in keeping them ? I suppose it could be tempting because they appear to be fetching quite a lot now that the centenary is here.

I could never sell or get rid of my great uncle s though, just as I would never be able to part with the telegram from the King -the first news the family would have received about the death- nor the war office eneloppe it had come in and never the three statutory medals.

The Dead Man s penny or Widow s penny as it was known was a 12-centimetre disk made out of bronze it has the image of Britannia with an oak spray with leaves and acorns,an imperial lion, two dolphins that represent Britain’s sea power,the emblem of Germany’s eagle being torn to pieces by another lion,the deceased s name is cast into the plaque,the words, ‘He died for freedom and honour’

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WW1 propaganda :The Lusitania Medal


I ve just uncovered , in a trunk in the loft, a superb example of a WW1 propaganda medal they were issued in their thousands to remind the British Empire of why they were fighting.

The medal came in a box and a  certificate inside reads……

An exact replica of the medal which was designed in Germany and distributed to commemorate the sinking of the Lusitania.

This indicates the true feeling the War Lords endeavor to stimulate, and is proof positive that such crimes are not merely regarded favourably, but are given every encouragement in the land of Kultur.


Further reading from the newspapers

British Museum Exhibition on medals as propaganda

Watch this space for more discoveries of WW1.

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So much more than just a beach destination you could be jazzing it up at the Jazz a Juan festival this year.
The ideal July holiday destination this year is just 30 minutes from Nice International airport, at Juan Les Pins, where sun lovers and partygoers have been flocking for decades but what I love about Juan les Pins is the bite- sized nature of it all ,it almost seems to function like a village.
Why particularly “hot” this July? Well because Stevie Wonder will be heading the bill with a one night concert and the rest of the line up is pretty impressive too .

You can book tickets to this year’s festival at the Tourist office which will entitle you to an invitation to the Bastille day on the14th as well ,when Preservation Hall from New Orleans will be playing but you dont have to splash out you could just chill out in the Pinede Gould Park behind the main concert area with a bottle of French wine or on the beach ..for free .
What I really appreciate about Juan s jazz festival is that you can get a real concert experience without the massive crowds and in recent years I ve seen Sting, Tom Jones and The Temptations -all in ideal conditions.

There are the private beaches, Les Pirates, Belles Rives and Les Ambassadeurs are among my favourites but there are a few public beaches hidden away opposite the Pinede that are free at the beginning of the season the sea is still crystal clear and early birds definately get the best of the beach experience.

Afternoon and Evening Entertainment.
Try Belles Rives for afternoon tea or cocktails , this was The Fitzgerald s haunt and boasts glorious sea views with a Gatsby atmosphere thanks to the decor and photos Scott around the bar area.
Early evening and things start hotting up with live bands at The Crystal, or the latest New Orleans bar opposite the Pinede park. There are street bands playing throughout the whole of the Jazz Festival some directly from New Orleans. Late at night the Pam Pam is the place, along with the Crystal for huge cocktails and even bigger ice creams. There s a casino, nightclubs and centrally placed discotheques all these gave Juan les Pins its claim to fame in the 60s.

As in any French seaside resort ,eating out is never problem but I would recommend , Festival de La Mer or a seafood pizza at Le Cancan. Try the Port des Pecheurs to check out the day s catch to cook yourself.


Getting around the rest of the Riviera from here could nt be easier , you can spend a whole Summer here and never bother about a car, the SNCF train station gets you to Cannes in 8 minutes or Nice in 15 minutes or further afield one of the reasons why Picasso loved the resort so much.

Where to stay ?

There are a few chain hotels including two Best Westerns in Juan les Pins one near the station and one nearer to the Pinede, but if you prefer a more traditional hotel I d recommend the Juana, but that s just one of many.
Don t forget to take your copy of “Tender is the Night”, to read on the beach and more importantly don t forget to salute Sidney Bechet s statue as you walk past , after all , he was the one who started it all.

J Bowell is a freelance travel journalist, LSJ.

Juan les pins jazz festivals



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If you have ever decided against a trip to the Caribbean because you have children and you are afraid it may be all too stressful, then think again because Guadeloupe may be your ideal holiday destination; there are child friendly beaches of course, but there are zoos too and some of the most beautiful parklands in the Caribbean. Paradise awaits the whole family .

Parks and Gardens

Les Jardins De Valombreuse

Jardin Amerindien et de Plantes Medicales du Musee Edgar Clerc

French actor , Coluche s house and garden

Zoo Parc des Mamelles

Rendez vous aux jardins

Best Beaches for Children

Plage du Souffleur, Port Louis, 97117, Guadeloupe

Plage du Bois Jolin ,( Anse du Belley, Sainte-Anne 97180, Guadeloupe) is ideal and shady has wonderful reviews.

Plage des Dauphins lives up to its name with boat trips out to see Dolphins has showers .

Reviews Trip Advisor


An abundance of fresh fruit, naturally but don t forget to try these before you leave, Colombo, Mackerel sandwich.

Ti Punch

Planter s Rum Cocktail not for the little ones

Bananes Flambees


On your way back, don t forget to pack some local specialities……..

Fresh nutmeg, sugar products, curry spices, RUM -Ti-arrange mix for Rum cocktail!

Bead Jewelry made from local seeds.

Purifying soap du Soufre for problem skins.


Museum Sugar Cane Industry

Distilleries Guadeloupe WITHOUT the children, of course.


Mrs. Flower in Guadeloupe, has all the solutions for you and your children.

Mrs. Chimen Flower rents out bungalows on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, her Guest House facilities, Guad Zen, petit Bourg, are situated in Le Moule, a haven for families and kids Flower s holiday home is super child friendly; she makes wooden toys and has daily activities for toddlers and older children in what she calls her Children s Universe.

Guada Zen can be found on booking .com here.


Cell Phone: 06 90 60 3118


Warning Chikungunya, this is to be taken seriously and is a threat in Guadeloupe and elsewhere on the globe, so many people just get up and go , to any country without thinking it through and spending the necessary time planning, when? where? to make their holiday as enjoyable as possible.

Check WHO website

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Atlanta Nostalgia 2014
Atlanta is a city I love and one that I have visited many times, I was thinking about these previous trips the other day and became quite nostalgic; so I contacted the Georgia Travel Office to request a brochure, yes, I know you can read them online but I still like the real ones. The brochure arrived from the USA in just a few days and immediately the cover reminded me that 2014 is not only the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Atlanta –see here, but also the 75th anniversary of the Premiere of Gone with the Wind! Now those are reasons enough to go back.
Battle of Atlanta, 1864
The first time I visited Atlanta I had twenty students following me around, I had taken them on an exchange visit to the USA and one of the golden rules of the trip was that we all “do” one cultural thang every day. I had laid down these rules before we left as part of our student teacher contract. Of course it became quite a game as I always managed to lose a few somewhere in the nearest Nike store. However, the outing to the Atlanta Cyclorama proved to be the most successful and I even had problems getting the students to leave; everybody particularly enjoyed the map making activity as the actual site of the battle has been eaten up by Atlanta city.
Gone With the Wind
My lifelong love affair with “Gone with the Wind”, both the novel and the film, didn’t get off to a very good start. I can remember, back in the 60s when my first date invited me to the cinema, there were two films showing at the local cinema, “Poor Cow”, the kitchen sink drama and a re- release of “Gone With The Wind”; there was no choice at all in fact, as my parents had forbidden me to see the unsavoury,” Up the Junction”, my apologies to Ken Loach. Rather than sit through three hours of some romantic Southern saga Nick I think his name was managed to convince me that the end of part one was in fact the end of the film. Now don t ask me how that happened. Worse still, fate made me wait another decade almost until I had to read the novel for a class I was taking in Southern Literature which , of course is when I discovered the dreadful truth- I often wonder what happened to Nick , whatever he became I am sure he was very successful at it.
There is an online version of the guide here
“Tomorrow is another day”, but it’s going to be the day I buy that ticket to Atlanta just in time for the 75th anniversary of GWTW. I am determined not to miss anything this time.
Many Thanks to Georgia! One of the most exciting states in the USA.

Further Reading @ the Guardian Travel Section

Georgia Historical
Gone with the Wind Premiere


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