Friday, 29 November 2013

Weekend reflections

It was a very dull afternoon today as I walked along by the River Thames and I was surprised by this very clear reflection of Tower Bridge in the door window.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Happy Thanksgiving day

Survived Thanksgiving but not sure about Christmas!

Spotted these turkeys whilst out walking in Kent yesterday.

Happy Thanksgiving to all those bloggers who are celebrating today.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

The Hardy Tree

Before becoming an author and poet Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) studied architecture under the supervision of a Mr Blomfield. During the 1860s the Midland railway was going to be built over part of St Pancras Churchyard. This meant that the bodies buried there had to be exhumed and moved. The Bishop of London employed Mr Blomfield to carry out the task, who then gave the unenviable job to Mr Hardy.

Hardy would have spent many hours in this churchyard overseeing the removal of the remains and the dismantling of the tombs. The headstones around the base of this ash tree were moved here during that time.

The roots of the tree have now grown between the headstones.

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Thursday, 21 November 2013

Docklands then and now

From the top of the hill in Greenwich Park you can see across the river to the Isle of Dogs and the high rise offices of Canary Wharf

From Greenwich you can walk through the foot tunnel under the Thames and emerge amongst the many wharfs and now disused docklands.

I walked through an urban farm with llamas grazing beneath the towering office blocks.

The Docks opened in 1802 with ships arriving from all over the world bringing with them all kinds of exotic foods as well as everyday foodstuffs and goods. But in 1980 the docks closed as the large container ships were offloading at the sea ports. These photos were taken in the early 1900s.

With the regeneration of this area in the last 20 years, the warehouses have been converted into exclusive and expensive apartments and the financial institutions have opened new offices here creating a totally different workplace.




It even has its own transport system, the driverless Docklands Light Railway.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

St Pancras

Beneath the clock in St Pancras International station, London, you will find this 20 tonne bronze statue called 'The Meeting'. Created by Paul Day it stands over 30ft high and tries to reflect the romantic side of travelling. Modelled on himself and his half-French wife, the sculptor wanted to show the meeting between an Englishman and his French lover. (St Pancras is home to the Eurostar train, London's gateway to Europe.) The statue has had many critics who felt it was too large and detracted from the beautiful railway station's architecture.

Below the statue is a frieze depicting different journeys on a railway theme.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Latest London city skyline

For those of you who have not visited London for a while you will notice a big difference in the city skyline.

This is the view looking across the River Thames towards the City of London which is the financial centre of London.

This building is known as the Walkie-Talkie. It was this building that created an upset in the Summer as the sun's rays reflected from the curved windows to the street below and set fire to a carpet in a shop doorway and damaged cars as the intense heat mangled the metal. You can now see that the windows have been covered with black sheeting. I'm assuming they will have to replace all the windows with non-reflective glass. Bit of a schoolboy error in the design I think!

This building is called the Cheese Grater. You can see why when you look at it from the side. The building next to it has now become quite a familiar sight on the sky line - the Gherkin.

I like this view of the Shard with the Tower of London in the foreground. Over a 1000 years difference in their construction. I doubt the Shard will still be standing in a 1000 years. What do you think?

Our World Tuesday Graphic

Friday, 15 November 2013

Docklands reflection

This reflection looks as though there is a painting embedded in the otherwise dull brick wall.

Linking up with James at Weekend reflections

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Bucket list UK #4 Fossil Hunting

There are many travel journals extolling the ease with which you can find fossils along the Dorset coast. Known as the Jurassic coast, I felt it was long overdue for a visit to see whether this boast of its easily accessible fossils was correct. Sometimes the obvious is shrouded in a mysterious fog. My brother, an oil geologist, earns his living by understanding fossils but I never thought to seek his assistance.
However, one week after he retired at the beginning of November he took me on a day trip to Kimmeridge Bay. It is part of the Dorset and East Devon Coast World Heritage Site. It is special as it represents 185million years of the Earth's history in just 95 miles of coastline.

The cliff face was like a book laying
on its side with its pages facing the sea. Each thin layer of rock, as fragile as paper revealing fossils of all sizes.

We waited for the tide to go out and reveal the treasures I was seeking. The fossils here were much larger than the ones I had spotted on the cliff face.

This one was about 10cm in diameter.

 I found it impossible to grasp the vast passing of time since these creatures and plants lived in this area and now here I am looking at them and touching them.

I spent about 3 hours beach combing, wondering why it had taken me so long to discover the joys of this pastime.
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Monday, 11 November 2013

St Ethelburga

Beneath the skyscrapers of the city of London lie the remains of St Ethelburga's church.

It isn't known when the church was first founded but records showing its existence date back to 1252. It was rebuilt around the 1400s and a square bell tower added in 1775. This is how it looks from the front.

It was  slightly damaged during the Blitz in WW2. But  during the IRA bombing of Bishopsgate in 1993,  when a bomb exploded,  much of the church was destroyed with an estimated  £350m worth of damage in the surrounding area.


The church is now a centre for Reconciliation and Peace. It holds various meetings and events throughout the year to look at the relationship between faith and conflict.

 As today is the 11th day of the 11th month and Remembrance day in the UK let us hope for more Peace and Reconciliation throughout the world.

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