Welcome to my blog

This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

City of London Distillery

 Gin distilleries seem to be popping up all over. This one is in the City of London under the watchful eye of Wren's St Bride's church.

 The gin craze was immortalised in Hogarth's notorious print 'Gin Lane'. By 1730 there were more than 7000 gin  shops in the City of London. Known as 'Mother's ruin', gin was responsible for widespread alcoholism, violence and social breakdown. It wasn't until the gin act of 1751 that things started to improve. Gin could only be sold from licensed premises. It was a turning point in the social history of London.

 This distillery on St Bride's Lane is the first distillery in the City of London for 200 years. It describes itself  as a small batch distillery producing about 1000 bottles a week.

 The bar and distillery are in the basement of what used to be a restaurant. Myself and a friend went along on Saturday to a gin tasting afternoon. They produce five different gins here and we enjoyed tasting all of them.

 A particular favourite was the Christopher Wren gin. It was a very pleasant way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

Monday, 14 January 2019

HIX Award

Walking along The Strand in London I was curious about this display in the window of Coutt's bank. A closer look revealed that it is a long sheet of paper covered in very neat handwriting. It was very difficult to get a good photo because of the reflection.

A notice at the side informed me that this was the winning entry for the HIX Award 2018. Entitled  Die Liste, by the artist Elizabeth Eade, it is a ten metre long, hand written list documenting the deaths of 33,305, who died trying to reach Europe. It is very difficult to comprehend the sheer scale of the numbers of people dying as they try to reach Europe, but this made me stop and think.

Sharing with Our World Tuesday

Sunday, 6 January 2019

'Above the Underground' update

For those of you who follow my blog regularly, you will know that I write a second blog, which for the last few years has focussed on a challenge I set myself. Living in London and having the benefit of a Freedom Pass (which means I can travel around the city for free), I decided to visit each of the 270 underground stations. I wanted to do more than just speed through them so I came up with the idea of finding out what places of interest are above  ground, within easy walking distance of the station. I photograph everything I see and then come home and do some research, trying to find out as much as possible. I am fascinated by the history of the city in which I live and only wish I could remember everything I have read or written. I find it hard to believe that my first post was four years ago! I had hoped to complete this challenge within ten years but that seems highly unlikely, as I have only managed to visit and post about one third of the stations. However, I am loving the challenge and get quite excited when I am visiting a new station and area.

A number of you have suggested that I publish the posts. Being on the internet gives those who are interested access to the posts so I don't feel the need to go down the publishing route but I do get them printed for my own benefit.
I am aiming to visit 20 stations this year and am pleased that I have finished this one in the first week of the New Year. However I did visit and photograph it over a month ago. If you would like to find out more about this station and its surroundings read more here

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Goodbye to 2018

As the year nears its end it is time to reflect. There have been some joyous occasions with the safe arrival of my grandson last January. A shaky start in life for him, but I am pleased to say he is now thriving and almost walking. My son was married on a beautiful June day to his wonderful bride. They had already moved to Leeds back in February and I still miss having them live close by. However, it gives me a reason to travel north again, something I hadn't done since Mum died in 2017.

My travels took me to five new countries: Denmark. Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Croatia. All of which were fascinating and exciting. I am still leading walks through the picturesque Kent countryside for the U3A. My long distance walk took me to Northern Spain and a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

I have tried to keep up with blogging on a regular basis as well as visiting and commenting on your blogs. It is not always that easy. I have only written about 12 new stations on  my 'Above the Underground' series which is not enough so need to do better next year. But at least I have managed to complete a third of the Underground stations. Ok, if I carry on at this rate I will be in my mid eighties before I have visited all the stations!

I am looking forward to 2019, even though the country will have numerous problems to solve as we edge closer to leaving the EU, I have confidence that all will be well eventually. Travelling may involve a lot more visa applications but c'est la vie. I thank all of you for following me this year and wish you all  a happy and healthy 2019.

Monday, 24 December 2018

Christmas Lights - Around Piccadilly

Regent Street

Burlington Arcade

New Bond Street

Ritz Hotel

Berkeley Square

Oxford Street

Merry Christmas from here in London 

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Christmas Lights - a bit of a change

Today I am showing you some non traditional Christmas windows at Selfridges and decorations from Carnaby Street.