Follow the life of a recently retired teacher. The bucket lists have been written. How much can be achieved in the next 10 years - from the mundane (baking an edible cake) to the ridiculous (kayaking through the rain forest).
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!
The Thames Path takes you past the Hampton Court Palace, one of the homes of King Henry VIII. It is a real treasure and I will do a tour of it for you one day. But for now look at these magnificent chimney pots.
This monument was designed by Sir Christopher Wren to commemorate the great fire of London in 1666. The fire burnt for 3 days destroying some 13000 houses over an area of 436 acres. The monument is 202ft high which is the distance from the monument to the baker's shop where the fire started. It took 6 years to build 1671-77.
It is one year this week since the London 2012 Olympics began. So on Friday I returned to the Olympic Park for a concert and get together with fellow volunteers.
We were welcomed by a jazz band.
The VIPs arrived; David Cameron (Prime Minister), Boris Johnson (Mayor of London) and Lord Coe (Gold medallist Olympian and organiser of the 2012 games)
They were there giving out goody bags(containing very little) but really a PR outing. I chose to receive a bag from Seb Coe. Camera was in my pocket so no photo unfortunately.
Security were trying to move me out of the way but too late as Cameron stopped to wait for the others in front of me.
The athletes' village where I was working last year. The apartments will be ready next year for people to move into them. They had no kitchens when the athletes were using them so once they have all been installed they will be ready for occupation.
There was also a funfair but it looked a bit stomach churning for me.
Instead I had a game of sitting volleyball which I loved - once I worked out how to move!
Then the concert started with a variety of acts some from the West End musicals and others were from the world of pop music. I went right up to the stage but the sound was too much for me so left that space for the young ones.
The artist and naturalist Sir Peter Scott always wanted to set up a wildfowl centre in London. Although he didn't live to see this one open in 2000 he had founded the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in 1946 which was responsible for the London Wetland Centre in Barnes.
The area covers 105 acres and includes a lake, pools, lagoons, reed beds and meadows providing a haven for migrating birds and home to ducks, wading birds, geese and swans.
This was a new one for me - a white headed duck with a blue bill.
The Wetland Centre is just a short walk from the Thames Path. To read more of my walk along the path click here
Bateman's was the family home of Rudyard Kipling the writer. His most famous books were 'Jungle Book' and the 'Just So stories'. He also wrote many, many poems. and achieved great success during his lifetime allowing him to buy and upkeep this house and the 33acres of land surrounding it. Born in India in 1865 he lived most of his life in Britain. He lived at Bateman's from 1902 until his death in 1936.
Within the grounds is the Mill house.
Kipling closed the mill the year after moving into Bateman's. He wanted the house to be lit by electricity so he took away the waterwheel and installed a water turbine and electric generator. After the Trust took over the property in 1939 it was another 30 years before the mill was restored so that once more it produces flour.
The water from the river which provides the power for the mill.
The large pipes , next to the water wheel, fed the water turbine which Kipling installed.
Kipling loved cars and owned this Rolls Royce Phantom1. Unfortunately it is kept behind glass in a small garage so I found it impossible to get a reasonable photo.
Bateman's was originally built in 1634 from sandstone. It is now owned by the National Trust which has preserved it, with the help of the Kipling family, as it was when Kipling lived there.
This is the entrance hall with its huge fireplace.
Beautiful oak window seats.
The family sitting room.
This used to be the schoolroom when his children were young but then became the sitting room of his daughter, Elsie, once she was older.
An old valve radio.
Kipling's desk left exactly how he last used it.
He received the Nobel prize for literature in 1907. This is a translation of the award.
The alphabet necklace from the story 'How the Alphabet was made' one of the 'The Just So Stories'
ONE of the first things that Tegumai Bopsulai did after Taffy and he had made the Alphabet was to make a magic Alphabet-necklace of all the letters, so that it could be put in the Temple of Tegumai and kept for ever and ever. All the Tribe of Tegumai brought their most precious beads and beautiful things, and Taffy and Tegumai spent five whole years getting the necklace in order. ...........
Ais scratched on a tooth--an elk-tusk I think.
Bis the Sacred Beaver of Tegumai on a bit of old glory.
Cis a pearly oyster-shell--inside front.
Dmust be a sort of mussel shell--outside front.
Eis a twist of silver wire.
Fis broken, but what remains of it is a bit of stag's horn.
Gis painted black on a piece of wood. (The bead after G is a small shell, and not a clay bead. I don't know why they did that.)
His a kind of a big brown cowie-shell.
Iis the inside part of a long shell ground down by hand. (It took Tegumai three months to grind it down.)
Jis a fish hook in mother-of-pearl.
Lis the broken spear in silver. (K aught to follow J of course, but the necklace was broken once and they mended it wrong.)
Kis a thin slice of bone scratched and rubbed in black.
Mis on a pale gray shell.
Nis a piece of what is called porphyry with a nose scratched on it. (Tegumai spent five months polishing this stone.)
Ois a piece of oyster-shell with a hole in the middle.
PandQare missing. They were lost, a long time ago, in a great war, and the tribe mended the necklace with the dried rattles of a rattlesnake, but no one ever found P and Q. That is how the saying began, 'You must mind your P's. and Q's.'
Ris, of course, just a shark's tooth.
Sis a little silver snake.
Tis the end of a small bone, polished brown and shiny.
Uis another piece of oyster-shell.
Wis a twisty piece of mother-of-pearl that they found inside a big mother-of-pearl shell, and sawed off with a wire dipped in sand and water. It took Taffy a month and a half to polish it and drill the holes.
Xis silver wire joined in the middle with a raw garnet. (Taffy found the garnet.)
Yis the carp's tail in ivory.
Zis a bell-shaped piece of agate marked with Z-shaped stripes. They made the Z-snake out of one of the stripes by picking out the soft stone and rubbing in red sand and bee's-wax. Just in the mouth of the bell you see the clay bead repeating the Z-letter.
From 'The Just So stories' 'How the Alphabet was made.' '