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!



Friday, 30 November 2012

The real Hong Kong

When I was in Hong Kong I stumbled across this wonderful local market. Lots of the goods were laid out on the street which is not unusual but what was different was that the street was also used by the trams.


There was a wonderful array of food and goods on display and not one tacky stall of tourist souvenirs.














 The market was full of life and colour

Linking this to Orange you glad it's Friday.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

What's in a name!

 Spotted these signs outside some public toilets when I was on the coach tour of New Zealand. Every couple of hours we had to have an obligatory toilet stop. A bit like the ones I use to do when taking a group of kids out for the day! Not sure what the town was called but it was on our way to Rotorua.





All recognisable names although some more than others depending on which country you are in at the time.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Savile Row

Savile Row in  Mayfair, London is synonomous with men's tailoring. It is where many of the rich and famous come if they require a hand made bespoke suit. The word bespoke comes from the words 'to be spoken for' refering to the cloth for the suit.



It is not a very long street but it is unique in that it only has  men's top of the range clothing and tailoring shops there.


I loved the last sentence of their advertising 'Ladies bespoke tailoring by appointment only'. Not quite an invitation to pop in and browse.
All the cutting and sewing takes place in the basements of the shops which you can see into from the street level.




Just around the corner from Savile row is Burlington Gardens where you will find Ede and Ravenscroft, the oldest surviving family owned tailoring firm in England or maybe the world as the family can be traced back to the 17th cent.


A close up of the plaques outside reveals that they are the robe makers to the Royal family. However not all is well on the street as across the raod is a shop which is more familiar in the shopping malls and High Streets - Abercrombie and Fitch. There have been protests from the tailoring trade that this shop does not belong amongst these highly  recognised specialist shops. A demonstration was held outside the store on 23rd April (St George's day) by some very well dressed toffs!



(photo from Chaps magazine)
 
Linking with 'Our world Tuesday'

England and Wales under water

England and Wales under water

Yesterday I travelled by car from SE London to Manchester in the NW. I have never seen so much of the country under water. All rivers I crossed had burst their banks and the surrounding fields were completely underwater with the cows and sheep gathering on the higher ground. As the route I take is completely on Motorways, I don't go through any towns, so I can only imagine how bad it is for home owners living beside the rivers. There are something like 260 flood warnings for today as the rain continues to fall. They are expecting a month's rain in a day in Wales. It was only in September when I took Mum to see her brother in North Wales when we were caught up in floods there. Driving along unfamiliar roads I ended up driving through a flood which was much deeper than I realised. Fortunately we did get through but having my 91 yr old Mum in the car I had visions of having to call out a helicopter to rescue her.

Yesterday was Mum's 92nd birthday which she celebrated in the nursing home but today we are going out for a meal. Fingers crossed we don't encounter any floods on the way.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Figureheads

By the late 18thcent a ship's name was usually written across the back or stern of the ship. But it was also represented by a figurehead on the bow. The Royal Navy figureheads were designed and made by official ship carvers and were made from soft wood, usually pine and as a consequence they didn't last very long. Very few of the thousands that were made have survived.

There is a wonderful collection in the Maritime Museum in Greenwich of some that remain in tact:

If you are interested which ships they are from, here is the information guide which accompanied the exhibit.


These are the figureheads from HMS Ajax and HMS Bulldog. I was very interested in the name HMS Ajax as I knew my brother had served on a ship with that name but it obviously wasn't this one. This one had been launched in 1809 and had seen action in both the Napoleonic and Crimean wars. The ship was broken up in 1864 after being used as a coastguard vessel. My brother's ship was a frigate which was removed from service in 1988. I hadn't realised that the names of ships are used many times.

Whilst in Melbourne last month I came across other figureheads on display by the river Yarra. I do not think that these are original figureheads but a representation of the ships that use to travel along the river. Maybe someone can enlighten me.


Friday, 23 November 2012

This is the barge of Frederick (1707-51), the son of GeorgeII. It was completed in 1732 and  was last used by Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria in 1849.


The detail on it is beautiful especially the guilding  - covering the wood with gold leaf or powder so that it has a thin layer of gold over it.
















When you look at it closely you can see the fine carving.
















Imagine the sight of this travelling down the Thames in the 1700s.










During the Queen's Jubilee  river pageant earlier this year  she too travelled along the Thames in a barge called The Gloriana.


Not quite as ornate as Frederick's barge but perhaps more in keeping with the times!


Thursday, 22 November 2012

Covent Garden

 
 


Add
I am unable to download any new photos at the moment as google want to now charge a monthly fee which no doubt I will ultimately have to pay as I can't see any way round it. I suppose I just feel annoyed because no mention was ever made about there being a limit to the amount of storage space that was free.
 


Anyway these photos of Covent garden were taken prior to my last trip and were already on my blog but as a draft. Abrief history of the area tells us that Inigo Jones designed the Piazza and square in 1630. It wasn't long before a fruit and veg market was established in the square.
 
 

The present market was designed by Fowler in 1830 and remained as a fruit and vegetable market until 1974 when it was becoming impossible to transport the fruit and veg through the congested streets of central London. The market was moved out of London and after much debate and public protests the market was redeveloped into a thriving craft market and place for entertainment


 












There is always a variety of street entertainers

 
 
 
 


Paellas are on the menu for today


The Punch and Judy pub balcony overlooks the street entertainers.























Sunday, 18 November 2012

Autumn missed

I have been very fortunate to have had an incredibly long Spring and Summer. Once it had ended here in London I changed hemispheres to enjoy the weather 'down under'. But that meant that I have missed out on Autumn with the leaves changing colour and the early morning mists that I used to see on my journey to work. Today I walked to my favourite park, not the closest park but one which can always lift the spirits - Greenwich Park.( I think I must be suffering from post holiday blues.) I wondered whether there would be any last remaining signs of Autumn.

This Ginkgo maidenhair tree is just turning yellow and is yet to lose its leaves.




I looked everywhere to try and find a Spanish sweet chestnut tree that still had some chestnuts on but I was too late for that. All had been picked or dropped to the ground.


I did find some fungi though.



Also found the last of the Summer roses.






The one thing I didn't expect to see was the Christmas tree cabin open for business!

 Linking to Our World Tuesday

Hole in one

I think this must be the most unusual way of practising golf I've ever seen but I know there will be many of you out there who can outdo me!



 And what are they aiming at?

The perfect hole in one. There is a monetary prize for anyone that gets a hole in one. Your shot is also analysed so you know how far long or short you are of the hole. Apparently each week a group of local divers go out to collect the golf balls.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Sculptures in Singapore

One of the joys of exploring a new city is finding the unexpected. Here in Singapore I came across some wonderful sculptures in some unusual places.

This was in the Botanical gardens. The plinth the sculpture is on is quite high so it looks like the girl is riding a bike on the top of a hedge.

I loved the balance of the 'Girl on a swing' as the only part of the sculpture  attached to the plinth is her dress.




As you enter the Botanical gardens a large area is taken up with these figures by Zadok Ben-David


It is called 'Innerscape'



But down by the river is my favourite:




Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Last day in Singapore

This was my last day in Singapore so I wanted to take a few photos of the area where I was staying. It was a huge contrast from the modern high rise buildings in the centre of the city. I was staying in the heart of Little India. It had a lot more character than the sterile fancy hotels but the truth is it cost a lot less!

At the end of the road under the banyon tree was a make shift shrine. Each time I passed, it had fresh garlands and offerings inside.


This was the street I walked down on my way to the subway. It reminded me so much of India except perhaps for all the modern cars parked along the road.

This shop had not opened up yet. In fact many did not really open until the afternoon as they stayed open quite late in the evening when the streets really came alive with throngs of shoppers and families out for a meal.

Anyone fancy a fish head curry?



I loved this shop with the gods overlooking the produce.



Evidence of Divali was everywhere.


How can you not smile when you see such colourful buildings?


I thought it might be a nursery or play school but actually it is a business centre.