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!

Monday, 19 March 2018

St James's Market

St James's Market Pavilion near Piccadilly was launched at the end of last year with its high end restaurants and shops. There was a market here in the mid 17th cent and it was important to try and bring some of that history back when the pavilion was opened. The Handsome Butcher of St James's Market is an 18th cent ballad that uses this site as its backdrop.

The story is about an upper class lady falling in love with a lowly butcher. When her belly starts to swell her parents realise what has been going on. Her father demands they get married but refuses to give his daughter a dowry. But it's all a trick as they had already married in secret knowing her father would never have given permission for her to marry a butcher. When he discovers they are already married the father is delighted and gives his daughter a large dowry. Their plan had worked well for them.

The ballad is told through these simple  3D figures exhibited in this large display cabinet

Sharing with Our World Tuesday

Monday, 12 March 2018

Traffic lights

In June 2016, Transport For London changed the symbols on the traffic lights around Trafalgar Square in celebration of  Pride in London festival. Instead of the usual man walking at a pedestrian crossing, the lights featured same sex  partners holding hands with hearts above them, as well as different gender symbols

50 traffic lights were changed  They were only supposed to be a temporary change but have proved very popular and a number of them have been retained permanently.


Friday, 9 March 2018

Otford circular walk

My walk this week took me to the village of Otford in Kent. I needed to check out the walk as I will be leading a group from the U3A next week. Snowdrops were out in all their glory.

Although I have done this walk a couple of times I always like to make sure there are no unexpected obstacles before leading a walk. It wasn't a pleasant day, in fact it was pouring down. The snow has now melted in the SE of the UK but that leaves a lot of water that has still not drained away, so I was prepared for a very muddy walk. 
An unusual ornate kissing gate.

You can see the chalk here. The Downs, where I am walking are  a ridge of chalk hills.

Steps had been embedded into the path to help people up this incline. I counted 145!! A bit of a challenge for the legs.

A lost scarf. This was the second one I had come across hanging from a tree. I wonder if people ever go back and retrieve their lost bits and bobs.

The walk takes you through a farm.

This is a beef farm. The cattle are born locally and the beef is sold at the local farm shop.

A little snow still lingered around the edges of the fields.

Views from the top of the Downs.

Just look at the mud. Going up the last hill I kept slipping back down. I had to leave the pathway and find another way up with better traction. How I didn't fall I have no idea but at least it would have been a soft landing.

Coming back down from the Downs I can see the village below.

Back in Otford you walk past a couple of oast houses or hop kilns. Many of these oast houses have now been converted into homes.

Past the duck pond and down the High Street back to the car. Normally I would stop for a sandwich and cup of tea in one of the many tea shops here. But I was so covered in mud I couldn't. Although I had a change of footwear, my trousers were covered in mud. Luckily I have newspapers in the car to sit on!

Monday, 5 March 2018

Above the Underground

It has taken me weeks to complete my latest post on Westminster tube station. There was so much to see within a very short distance of the station. 
  Read about it here

Friday, 2 March 2018

The snow arrives

 The snow has arrived. I woke up on Wednesday to these views from the bedroom window. I decided to put on the walking boots and enjoy the pristine snow.

 I walked to Blackheath and then on to Greenwich Park.

 The scenery was magical and surprisingly quiet.

 This is where everyone was hanging out. Many children were off school and taking advantage of the snow to try out those sledges they had found at the back of the garage.

Since then we have had some of the lowest temperatures I can remember. We have also had a storm with its high winds. At home pipes have frozen and as a consequence the heating stopped (hair dryer to the rescue!). As I write this, the snow is falling heavily so I think I will make myself a cup of tea and stay home.