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Monday, 25 December 2017

Good News

It's not all bad news nor bah humbug but for one day only there was a good news item....

This surely is what Christmas should be all about?!   Click on the link below to see why

Christmas Day Rail Meal

 No leaves on the line nor signal failures can delay, disrupt or stop this can they?


Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Are we nearly there yet? A trip to the seaside.

Who remembers the excitement of a trip to the seaside when a child?  Let me tell you that even in my 70s I still get a feeling of excitement at the first glimpse of the sea and am likely to ask Are we nearly there yet?  Though with Mr M being somewhat deaf he doesn't always answer!

Anyway a fine sunny day unusually coincided with there being nothing in the diary today so we took ourselves off to the seaside.  It was very cold but the sun was bright, the sky was blue and our chosen destination was once again Weymouth.  The last time I was here was the week before the school holidays and I felt the need for another breath of sea air and Mr M was happy to come with me this time.

We got the bus from the Park and Ride car park on the outskirts of the town and soon arrived at the sea front - just look at that blue!  From here we walked along the almost deserted beach to the harbour end.

I bet I couldn't have captured that bird in the centre of my photo if I had tried, truth is I didn't even realise it was there as I looked back the way we had come!

 The walk along the beach was certainly bracing and the wind was whipping up the sand  here and there and it was good to reach the end of the beach and cross over to the harbour.

Although I know nothing about boats and sailing I love to look at them and notice all the different types - this one with its white sails appealed to me.  Where will it be going and what would it be like to be on board I wondered. 

We decided to stop and have a fish and chip lunch here as by now it was just after mid-day. The wind chill factor had given us an appetite and we enjoyed our lunch inside out of the cold before setting off again along the harbour heading for the Nothe.

We climbed the steps and followed the path to the other side of the promontory and suddenly we were in another world - sheltered now from the wind and in the sun it was warm enough to sit on a bench and luxuriate in the sun's rays enjoying the view.

 This naval ship seemed to be on manoeuvers going round and through some yellow buoys in a figure of eight and we watched it for a while as we sat in the sun, back and forth it went round and round till we tired of watching it and continued on our way.

It all seemed so tranquil if you disregarded what seemed to my untutored eye to be some sort of battleship, the occasional crump sound from the firing ranges in the distance at the military ranges at Lulworth and at one moment a helicopter flying overhead!  But scenes as peaceful as these  would need more than some military practices going on to spoil them.

We walked on along the coast path looking back now and again and marvelling at the beauty of it all and enjoying the shelter on this particular path.

 The sounds of the gentle lapping waves against the stones, the smell of seaweed on the fresh air and the colour of it all added to the taste of the delicious fish and chips we had eaten and the chilly feel of my ungloved hand and all my senses had been employed in making this memory snapshot which I can return to whenever it is raining and grey.

I think that is my shadow you can see in the bottom left hand corner of this one taken just before we
turned off the coastal path and back to the harbour and the chilly winds.

 Back now at the harbour and over the town bridge into town where we got the bus back to the car park and home - I didn't want to leave it all but the sun was already getting lower in the sky and it would soon be really cold and home and a cup of tea called.  When can we go again I wonder.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Bus pass holiday- Part II

To continue the saga I posted earlier about our few days in London:

Day 3

Sunday dawned bright and sunny and we set off by bus for Tower Bridge where we were to meet the Wanderer for lunch at a restaurant near there.  We had chosen this venue as it tied in well with another garden I hoped to see and was also somewhere not too far for her to come - she cycles this way to work most days.  (I know this isn't Tower Bridge but it is the Tower and I just liked the juxtaposition of the old and the new with the Shard in the background along with a red tour bus).

 This is of course Tower Bridge!

 What I wanted to see was the Floating Gardens which had been featured on BBC Gardeners' World back in June but which are only open to the public once or twice a year under the national Gardens Scheme and that was also in June however I did wonder if it might be possible to see them from the roadway.

 It wasn't really possible to see much naturally as they are the private gardens of the residents who are moored here.

I did manage to see one garden though through the railings of some flats opposite!

We met with the Wanderer and had a lovely catch up chat over lunch in an Italian restaurant in Shad Thames just back from the river.  We sat talking for nearly 4 hours - well it had been the end of May last time we saw her!  Then we parted company and she went on her way as we made our way back over the Bridge to get our bus back to our hotel.

Day 4

Monday dawned dull and damp - not exactly raining but not exactly dry either - such a shock after the blue sky and sunshine of the day before!  We wandered along to Marylebone High Street where we whiled away an hour or so in the lovely Daunt Books if there had been more seating we'd probably be there still!  But time was passing and so we went to Paul Bakery again for a coffee before setting off for Battersea Park.  We walked along the Chelsea Embankment to the Albert Bridge seen here - as you can see it was still somewhat murky although the rain had stopped.

As we crossed the Albert Bridge I noticed this sign but there were no marching troops at the time!  Once over the bridge we were at the gate into Battersea Park.  I can't think why we'd never been here before as it is a lovely place - green, peaceful and with lots to see and do.  Our first stop was the Peace Pagoda  if you check out this web site there are plenty of photos of it.

Along side was an information board and I couldn't help thinking that this quote from the Most Ven, Nichidatsu Fujii was particularly apt just now with the state that the world seems to be in!

The Pagoda tells the story of Buddha in a series of 4 bronze sculptures one of which I show below.

We then wandered on taking photos as we went.

And came to an enclosed garden entitled the English Garden - well weren't they all?! but this one was lovely and tranquil.

 Leaving the tranquility of the English Garden we continued our walk and in the mist ahead could see the iconic chimneys of the Battersea Power Station.  Well not the original ones but replicas.  The once coal fired Grade II listed power station was decomissioned in 1983 and lay empty for years but is now being developed for more info see here.

Single Form by Barbara Hepworth overlooks the boating lake - it seems that Single Form was constructed as a memorial to Dag Hammarskjöld, secretary general of the United Nations from 1952 up until his death in 1961. Hammarskjöld, a good friend of the sculptor, had been speaking to Hepworth about a commission for the UN site just before his tragic death in an airplane crash. Single form was first exhibited in Battersea Park in 1963. Over the next year, Hepworth recast the sculpture in three parts for the UN site, scaling the sculpture up from 10 feet to a gigantic 21 feet high.

 We walked some more and discovered a tea room so had a sit down and a drink and then continued alongside the lake.  Such a lovely tranquil place and over all the sound of the green parakeets.  These birds are not native to the UK and are not always welcomed as although they are stunning in their iridescent emerald plumage with a rose-red neck ring, and a thrill the first time you see them, they are also aggressive, destructive, and extremely raucous in large flocks and in 2009 they were listed along with gulls, magpies and crows as pests.  However they were lovely to us that day.

 Leaving the park we crossed the Chelsea Bridge back to the other side of the river we'd crossed earlier by the bridge you can just see on the horizon in this photo - click on it to enlarge it.

With the camera on zoom you can see the Peace Pagoda we'd seen earlier.  Time to go back to the hotel now at the end of another lovely day out - our last full day in London.

Day 5

Time to go home - am I the only one who is always ready to go home even after a short break?  Longer holidays find me counting the days till I can be back where I belong even when I am enjoying myself.

Anyway we had our last breakfast in the hotel's breakfast room,exchanged e-mail addresses with the couple from California we had been speaking with each morning and then returned to our room to finish our packing before checking out.  We left the bags at the hotel and set off for a last look round in London this time walking to Regent's Park.

 The railings and gateways on so many of London's parks are so beautiful I always think - who paints them I wonder I certainly wouldn't want the job!

 Inside the gates we wandered round enjoying the peace of a mid-week morning when so many other people might have been at work.

 Look here is one of the gardeners!!

 More lovely decorative ironwork.

 Here is Mr M ahead of me and reminding me of that old ad for Startrite shoes!  Who remembers it?  For those who don't here it is:

Though in the ad the little boy has a companion!

 There was an exhibition of sculptures displayed in the park and this one caught my eye - it's called The Invisible Mother  as I have already said I am a bit of a Philistine when it comes to art and couldn't for the life of me see the connection between mothers and this although I seem to remember sometimes feeling a bit like this when the Wanderer was young!  To me it spoke more of the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle but then what would I know?  

Even this late in the season the beds were still colourful.


 These little topiary trees reminded me of cupcakes - not that I am a fan of cupcakes or topiary but they are clever aren't they?

 More wrought ironwork.

 It was a sunny morning so I don't know why the photos all look a bit dull on the camera they look much brighter.

 By now it was almost mid-day so we walked back towards the parish church of Marylebone behind which runs Marylebone High Street where we had lunch before continuing our walk back to the hotel to collect our cases.   We got the bus to Waterloo in good time for the 3.20 train and were home and indoors by 6.00 pm. 

By the way the name Marylebone apprently comes from the fact that the original parish church dedicated to St Mary was built alongside a small stream or "bourne" thus the name St Mary at the bourne now shortened to Marylebone.

In case you haven't had  sufficient reading I leave you with a book recommendation:

I had come across the fact that Mozart had kept a starling which could apparently sing one of his compositions in a perfectly ordinary novel whose title I now forget, just something one of the characters had mentioned and wondering if in fact this could be true I checked it out on the internet and came across this book and requested it from the library.  It is absolutely fascinating and to quote the blurb:  "is a tour de force that awakens a surprising new awareness of our place in the world"  Read it and you will see for yourself!