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, 21 September 2020

Trafalgar Square


It is 6 months since I last visited Trafalgar Square, a place that I would regularly walk through or visit when going to the National Gallery. Just when we thought a little normality was returning, the number of confirmed Covid cases is on the rise and consequently more restrictions are going to happen soon. They already have in certain towns and cities and we are waiting to hear what is going to happen in London. So, on Saturday I decided I would go for a wander around this tourist hotspot and what it was like. I arrived in the Square at about 9.30am having travelled on an almost empty train. Even at this early hour there would be buskers and entertainers setting up ready for the influx of tourists but not today. There was hardly anyone around. I spotted the falconer with his Harris Hawk ready to do a sweep over the Square and keep the pigeons at bay. 


The National Gallery is open to the public but you have to book in advance. To allow for social distancing they have set up the National Gallery cafe outside.

A new exhibit on the 4th plinth in Trafalgar Square complete with its own drone and fly. 

'The End' by Heather Phillipson.




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Sunday, 6 September 2020

Amritsar

These photos are from slides that I took when I was in India in the mid 70s. We travelled to the Punjab in the northwest to visit the city of Amritsar. It was one of the most stunning sights I had ever seen. 
Coming from the crowded streets, this was the view that took our breath away. The Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib) is the holiest gurdwara in the Sikh religion.









It is in the middle of a lake where  the worshippers bathe.















Food is prepared and served free to anyone who visits the gurdwara.


These may have been taken inside the temple but not sure. It was such a long time ago.
Sharing with Our World Tuesday

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Trees glorious trees.

In the absence of a camera I am using my phone which does not have a great camera but it's better than nothing. On my walk in Greenwich Park this week my eye was drawn to the trees. Still in full leaf, it won't be long before they change colour and begin to shed their summer coat.






In the Park is Queen Elizabeth's Oak, the remains of a 12th century oak tree. According to legend, King Henry VIII once danced around this tree with Anne Boleyn, and Queen Elizabeth I was said to have often taken refreshment whilst relaxing in its shade. The tree would have been about 400 years old by then. The tree died sometime in the 19th century but the ivy that had grown up around it kept it upright until 1991 when a heavy rainstorm brought it down.


The oak tree now growing alongside was planted by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1992.
There are numerous magnificent trees in Greenwich Park.






Monday, 24 August 2020

A changing world.



The library has recently reopened after almost 5 months. Just before lockdown they had increased the number of books you could borrow from eight to twenty five. I took advantage of this and just before they had to close I took out the maximum. I mainly chose children's books because I knew I would be home schooling.
This week I was able to return them but you have to order a book in advance if you wish to borrow anything. The other option was a lucky dip. A pre chosen selection under headings such as romance, thrillers, crime etc. I chose general fiction and when  was pleasantly surprised when got home and opened the bag.





In the evening I met up with a couple of friends for a socially distanced open air cinema.

It took place in the grounds of Leeds castle in Kent.  Although you can see it very well from this photo, the backdrop to the screen was the castle.


At the beginning of the week I went with my daughter and my two grandchildren to the Kent coast. The weather was perfect as it wasn't too hot and as the forecast was rain there were no crowds. Fortunately it didn't rain and they loved playing in the sea and the sand. We stayed overnight in a hotel  which had observed all the rules and I felt more than happy to stay there.  The only downside was in the evening when I unpacked my bag and I discovered that my grandson (2yrs old) had put his drinking cup into my bag and soaked my camera! Far too late to remedy the situation. I did have accidental damage insurance for the camera as just 3 years ago I ruined my last camera when I dropped in in mud and on buying this one I took out added insurance. Sadly the insurance ran out in April and it was non renewable.

Monday, 10 August 2020

Cable Street Mural

 On a plaque next to the mural is the following information:
 On the 4th October 1936 the people of the East End halted a march by fascists in what has gone down in history as 'The Battle of Cable Street'. People from the Jewish community, communists, trade unionists, Labour Party members, Irish dockers and labourers joined forces to oppose the march through Stepney planned by Sir Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists (BUF) and thousands of his followers known as 'Blackshirts'. Their uniforms echoed their counterparts in Italy and Germany.
The planned route was through an impoverished area with a high concentration of Jewish residents and was seen as a deliberate act of provocation. The government of the day refused the request by Jewish local and community groups to ban the march and on the day over 250,000 East Londoners took to the street to bar the way to British fascism. The Spanish Civil War had begun a few months earlier and opposition to Mosley's Blackshirts was seen as the same struggle as that being fought by the Spanish Republicans against Franco's German and Italian backed Nationalists. The slogan used by the Republicans in the defence of Madrid was adopted at the barricades in Cable Street - They shall not pass ( No pasaran).

The ensuing action ensured that Mosley's marchers were turned back and political history was made. One resulting legacy was the Public Order Act of 1936, banning the wearing of political uniforms in public. More importantly, on the day, the fascists did not pass and the people of the EastEnd played a crucial role in the defeat of organised British Fascism for decades to come.

 The battle is well documented. More information can be found at www.cablestreet.uk There was a lot of violence that day aimed at the police who were given the task of allowing the march to take place. There were 79 anti-fascist men and women arrested, many of them severely beaten by police. In contrast just five fascists were arrested.






The mural is painted on the side wall of St George's town hall and was started in 1976 by Dave Binnington. Due to several acts of vandalism he was unable to complete the project. The work was finally completed by three other artists: Paul Butler, Ray Walker and Desmond Rochfort in 1983. It was restored in 2011.


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Monday, 3 August 2020

Docklands

I decided to return to Greenwich Park at the weekend. As it was a Sunday I was able to park the car which meant I had the time and energy to walk from the park over to Docklands. From the top of the park you have a good view of the skyscrapers of Docklands.

 Docklands is across the River Thames from Greenwich and can be reached by walking through the tunnel under the river. This rotunda is the entrance on the south side. There is a similar one on the other side.

The tunnel opened in 1902 and is 370m long. It was built to give people easy access to the docks. There are steps and lifts down to the tunnel. There are fewer steps on the north side than on the south side of the river. I stopped counting when I got to 100!

Looking back towards the Cutty Sark in Greenwich.








This is Millwall Park with the arches of an old railway line on the right and the ventilation shafts ( I think) of the Docklands Light Railway on the left.


Unusual to see a full quota of rental bikes.

Canary Wharf is not looking so far away now.














I walked beneath the Docklands Light Railway to come out at one of the quays.




These flowers were growing from beneath the concrete wall of the quay. I have no idea what they are but they looked very impressive.

























To me  the buildings are built too close to one another.









I did come across one road of older houses.








Look at the height of this crane!














Canary Wharf tube station.



The roof garden above the new Canary Wharf Crossrail station, not the tube station above.
 

 There are numerous sculptures to be found in the parks and in front of the buildings. Here's just a couple of them:



'Returning to embrace' by Jon Buck
 'It takes two' by Bob Allen


I returned to Greenwich Park more or less via the same route.  By the time I got back to the car I had walked 9 miles.