Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Peter - my brother

To my lovely, funny, humble brother who died yesterday. I will miss you more than you will ever know.
May you rest in peace.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

John Rylands library

On my travels to the North of England this week I visited the John Rylands Library in Manchester. Although I was brought up in Manchester I never visited the library and it has been on my list of places to visit for some time.

It was built in the 1890s by the wife of John Rylands and is said to be one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. It was opened to the public in 1900 with 70,000 books and 100 manuscripts. Today it contains 250,000 printed volumes and well over 1million manuscripts and archival items.

John Rylands was Manchester's first multi-millionnaire. He made his fortune from the cotton industry to become one of the most successful Victorian business men.
Walking through the library there is an overwhelming sense of history and academic life. The library became part of Manchester University in 1972.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Durham Cathedral

This week I travelled North and went to stay with friends in Northumberland. They took me to visit the medieval town of Durham. The first thing you notice is its Cathedral towering over the city.

Durham Cathedral was built in 1093 and took 40 years to complete. It is the only cathedral in England to retain almost all of its Norman architecture. Its stunning stone vaulted ceiling must be one of the most spectacular architectural sites in England. The height is breathtaking.

In more recent times it has been used as a film set for the Harry Potter films. Many scenes having been filmed in and around the cloisters.


               In the middle ages the cathedral provided a refuge for fugitives.Anyone who had committed a serious offence could claim sanctuary by knocking on the door. The fugitives were given 37 days to organise their affairs. They had to decide to either stand trial or to leave the country by the nearest port.

I climbed the 325 steps to the top of the tower and had a magnificent view of the surrounding countryside. I'm not sure which was worst the climbing of the steps or looking down from a great height!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

St James's Park

This is a photo of The Mall looking towards Buckingham Palace. To the left of The Mall is St James's Park and to the right of The Mall is St James's Palace. This photo was taken early on a Sunday morning before the tourists arrived. Evenso people are beginning to gather to see the changing of the guard which happens everyday at 11am.

St James's Park originated as a  women's leper hospital in the 13th cent. Then in the 16th cent it was purchased by Henry VIII who wanted a royal deer park near St James's Palace for hunting. In the 17th cent King James1 drained and landscaped the park. Then Charles 11 created a long canal with avenues of trees and lawns on each side. The King used the canal for swimming during the summer and skating during the winter.

A gift of pelicans were given to King Charles in 1664 by a Russian Ambassador and this gifting continues today - hence you can see pelicans wandering around the park.

The park was redesigned in the 19th cent with the canal becoming a lake and a bridge added in 1857 from where this photo was taken.
 London has so many wonderful parks providing a haven from the hustle and bustle of city life. 

Friday, 16 March 2012

The Savoy Hotel

Myself and a group of friends went to lunch at the Savoy in London. It is possible to get a great deal in these michelin star restaurants if you go for the set lunch where you have a choice of 3starters, 3 mains and 3 desserts. The cost of a set lunch here was £26 which was excellent value as the food was superb.

After the meal we were given a tour of the kitchens. Here are the 3 chefs responsible for the desserts.

This was a display of orchids in the hotel foyer. We couldn't resist touching them to see if they were real which needless to say they were!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Hunt goes on

Well I have found another 65 eggs! I found them perched on rooftops; hanging from buildings; suspended from wires strung across roads; in shop windows; at the back of shops; in amongst lingerie displays and some just on the pavements. It was quite difficult to photograph all of them as they were either too high up or there was too much reflection from the shop windows.
Anyway here are some more for you to enjoy:

A penny for your thoughts

Eddie the egg

The social egg
With this one you could download your photo from Facebook onto it!
Egg letter box

Monday, 12 March 2012

London Egg Hunt

Here are a few more that I found at the weekend. The most difficult one to find was the Humpty Dumpty egg which was on top of the guards house outside St James's Palace.


La Vie en Rose
I am off to London tomorrow in search of more!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Faberge London egg hunt

Blackberry Moon
There's great fun to be had around London at the moment by taking part in the great egg hunt. There are over 200 eggs around town that you have to find. Each egg has been individually decorated by well known or not so well known artists.

Here are just a few I have found.
Egg Hog

So far I have found 35

Saturday, 10 March 2012

The Cutty Sark

In May 2007 The Cutty Sark, a 19th century tea clipper caught fire. It was apparently caused by an industrial vacuum cleaner being left on for 2 days. Fortunately many parts of the ship had been removed as it was being renovated at the time but the fire caused £10m  worth of damage.The boat is kept in a dry dock at Greenwich and it has been greatly missed.

The 3 tall masts were an iconic image of Greenwich and were greatly missed by residents and tourists alike. I'm glad to say that they are back and it is great to see them towering above Greenwich Village again.

The ship was originally built as a tea clipper but when steamers took over this trade it was used to transport wool from Australia. It achieved the fastest ever wind powered voyage from Australia to England via Cape Hope in 72 days in 1885.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

The Royal Observatory Greenwich

The Royal Observatory (in Greenwich Park) is the home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and is one of the most important scientific historical places in the world. Every place on Earth is measured in terms of its distance east or west from the Greenwich Meridian.


The line in Greenwich represents the Prime Meridian of the World - Longitude 0ยบ.  The line itself divides the eastern and western hemispheres of the Earth - just as the Equator divides the northern and southern hemispheres. It is a popular place for a photo opportunity as you can stand either side of the line and so have one foot in each hemisphere!

If you just want the photo and don't want to pay the entrance fee to the Observatory you just have to walk past the clock, through a gate and you will see the line coming down the wall and across the path - photos for free but I'm not sure many tourists realise this.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Greenwich Park

Greenwich is the oldest enclosed Royal Park covering approx 200 acres. Being on a hill it has impressive views across the River Thames towards the City and St Paul's Cathedral and now you can even see the new Olympic Stadium. 
The land was inherited in 1427 by Henry V and it was the birthplace of Henry VIII in 1491 who introduced deer into the park. In the early 1600s the park was laid out with many trees some of which remain today.                                                              

Wandering through the park I couldn't help but notice the variety of plant life and wild life. Here are just a few photos showing that Spring in the park is well on its way.

Friday, 2 March 2012

London Museum #5 The Fan Museum

Museum No: 5

On Crooms Hill in the shadow of Greenwich Park is a tiny museum devoted to fans. The displays explain how they were made, their uses and their history. All housed in a Grade 2 listed building dating back to the 1700s. I believe it is the only Museum of its kind.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Paralympic Opening ceremony

Yesterday I went to an audition for the Paralympic Opening Ceremony. As I am on the reserve list for the Olympic ceremony I was asked to audition for the paralympics. I went along but I didn't feel as keen or enthusiastic as I did about The Olympic ceremony audition; not because it's the Paralympics but mainly because of the long wait to find out whether or not I was successful. However off I went to the 3 Mills studio. Along the way I got talking to other auditionees who were in the same boat as myself:HMS Reject. It was a good evening.The activities are always fun and the group of people you mix with are usually a good laugh. I am under no illusion that I will be any more successful in this audition as once again there were far more women than men there which is a big disadvantage as they want equal numbers. I also managed to mess up the dance routine. Did it perfectly whilst practising but when we did it in smaller groups for the judges I mistimed the beginning and found it difficult then to catch up. Not to worry it was still an enjoyable evening.