Sunday 3 March 2024


At the weekend I went to an exhibition of finds by Mudlarks. 
Mudlarks are people who search the foreshore of rivers to see what they can find. You need a permit from the Port of London Authority to do this along the banks of the Thames and so legally there are not that many people who do it. Today was a chance to meet them and for them to showcase their best finds
 Every piece had been well researched and had a story to tell. I was so fascinated by the stories that I didn't take enough photos especially of the most interesting pieces.
Clay pipes are probably the most common item found by mudlarkers. They were often prefilled with tobacco and sold by shops for single usage before being thrown away. 

There was pottery from many periods in history including Roman, Tudor, Victorian and more recent times.

In this display box are lots of trade tokens dated during the 17th century. All found in the Thames mud. They were used predominantly between 1648 and 1674 by all kinds of different traders. They were often stamped with the issuer's name, location of the business, year of issue and denomination. During the mid 17th century there was a lack of small denomination coins issued by the government  so traders issued their own. Most of the mudlarks had some trade tokens on display. I even held on dated 1664. I found them fascinating and with a magnifying glass you could see the trademarks clearly imprinted on the token. 

The two shoes in front of the picture were both found on the Thames foreshore and have been restored by a leather restorer. The small child's shoe is Victorian and had been shod with metal to increase its wear.
A Roman oil burner in almost perfect condition.

Delft and Chinese pottery

It was a very interesting and free exhibition and one to look out for in the future.

Friday 16 February 2024

Signs of Spring


Saw this Egyptian goose with her 8 goslings this morning in Hyde Park. I was told they are just 5 days old. I thought it was a bit early in the year but with temps in the teens obviously not.

Sunday 11 February 2024

Circular map of the underground

An interesting advert made its appearance at some of the Circle Line underground stations. 
Advertising the new Samsung Galaxy phone the designers have reinvented the tube map.

The tube map was designed by Harry Beck in 1933 and eventually  became a design classic. It has been added to over the years but the design has not really changed.


Close up of the map and how it shows the interchanges between the lines.

I am so familiar with the original map that I wouldn't want it to change but I think there must be an award in the offing for this very clever advertising spin on the tube map.

Wednesday 7 February 2024

Art in Bratislava

This is the Nedbalka art gallery in Bratislava. The interior reminded me of the Guggenheim in New York although this is on a much smaller scale.
Here are a few paintings which were on display when I visited.


Sunday 21 January 2024

Common kingfisher

Whilst out on one of my 'underground station visits' I happened to see a Common Kingfisher. They may be called Common but they are not common to me. I was thrilled to have spotted it and fortunate to have my camera to hand.

I wasn't out in the country but in the middle of a London suburb. The path I was on was very busy as it went from a housing estate to the local High Street. I was looking at this fallen tree over the river when a splash of colour caught my eye.
No mistaking a Kingfisher.

Friday 5 January 2024

Urban walk

 My first walk of the year was a five mile one lead by a new leader in our u3a Rambling Group. We like to have a variety of walks to cater for our different interests. I do guided walks mainly in Central London as well as country walks in Kent. 

We have tried to persuade members of the group to lead maybe just one or two walks a year and share their favourite walks. So today Kate showed us one of her local walks.

12 of us set off through the high rise blocks of Lewisham.

A heron was spotted next to a large pond in the middle of a housing estate. The walk took us across Blackheath and then onto the Thames Path.

The pigeons loved the old pier.

The first snowdrops of the year

The snowdrops were blooming around the base of  this mulberry tree. It is thought that the tree was planted in 1698 by the Tsar Peter the Great who visited this area at that time. during his visit to England. It was a very enjoyable walk to start off another year of u3a rambles.

Monday 1 January 2024

New Year 2024


Happy New Year to everyone. A big thank you to all who read and comment on this blog but a special thank you to those of you who read and comment on my other blog: Above the Underground. It has been ten years since I gave myself the challenge of visiting and writing about all 272 underground stations. I still have over 80 more to visit but I am determined to complete the challenge. I am well aware the posts are long but they record the visit more for myself than others. That's why I am thrilled if someone reads the post and comments.

Looking back over 2023 I am pleased that I managed a few trips: Chicago, Albania, Menorca and Bratislava( which I still need to write about). Unusually I have nothing booked for 2024. There are a couple of major events happening which will curtail my plans. 

Hope you are all enjoying the day and I wish you all good health and happiness for the coming year.