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 August 2013

The Thames Path

I finally reached the source of the River Thames last week. I have loved almost every minute of the walk, meeting lots of different people, seeing wildlife I had never seen before and achieving a long held dream of walking from the Thames Barrier in South East London to the source of the river in Gloucestershire, 184 miles away.




The weather has been excellent for walking this summer so I hadly encountered any rain at all. For the most part I travelled from home to where I had finished walking the previous day. This in itself was a logistical challenge, having to co-ordinate the trains and buses. Some days it took almost 3 hours to get to my starting point and the same to get home so travelling was taking up as much time as the walk. But then time was on my side. I had not set myself a schedule so was not under pressure to finish within a particular number of days. In fact it took 17 days. It could easily be done in less if you are staying over on route. Once I reached Oxford I sought out accomodation and from then it was a continuous walk.


I met people from Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, the USA as well as many from the British Isles. I saw herons, cormorants,kingfishers and red kites by the dozen.  There were fishermen, eel catchers, crayfish catchers, naturalists as well as naturists!
I was sorry it had come to an end but there will be another trail somewhere for me to walk again soon. Meanwhile I am continuing to document it on my other blog www.62andthenext10pathways.blogspot.co.uk

The posts are long but I want to do it as an aide memoire for myself. Here's to the next one




Sharing with    Weekend reflections

Monday, 26 August 2013

Wallingford

Wallingford is a small town in Oxfordshire situated by the banks of the river Thames. The name suggests there was once a ford here and a Roman settlement 














 The 17th cent Town hall supported by the doric pillars is at the end of the Market Square. Today the ground floor is used an an information centre.


 This is a drinking fountain which was erected in the Square in 1885.






William the Conqueror came here in 1067 and had a castle built. In the castle gardens you can walk up to the top of the mound where the castle once stood. From here there are wonderful views over the town.






Sharing with 'Our World Tuesday'

Monday, 19 August 2013

English villages

What could be more English than these Thames side village scenes. They are just a picture of peace and tranquility in a very troubled world.
Clifton Hampden




Whitchurch
 
 Sharing with 'Our World Tuesday'

More scenery from the Thames at www.62andthenext10pathways.blogspot.co.uk



Our World Tuesday Graphic

Friday, 16 August 2013

Windsor Railway Station

Although a small town Windsor has two railway stations as a result of competition between the Great Western and Southern railway companies to build a railway line there. South Western almost got there first but for a broken girder. Isambard Brunel, The Great Western Railway's engineer rode on the first train to Windsor in October 1849.






You enter the station through this Victorian shopping arcade.


 Full scale replica of the engine 'The Queen' which pulled the carriages of the Royal train. It was withdrawn from service in 1912.




There are many small shops and cafes within the arcade.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Saints alive

An unusual exhibition of scultures and drawings by Michael Landy is on display at the National Gallery in London. His work has been inspired by the lives of saints depicted in the paintings around the gallery. You are not allowed to take photographs in the gallery so these photos are taken from their leaflet and a postcard.




It is not a large exhibition and here you can see the main exhibits. The models can all move and their movements are quite noisy. The sculpture in the foreground is St Jerome. He was a great scholar who translated the bible from its original Greek  and Hebrew into Latin. Legend has it that he used to beat himself with a rock to prevent having impure thoughts.


This one is called 'Multi-Saint'. It is at the back of the room on the right. The saints depicted are:
St Peter Martyr (1205-1252) murdered with an axe blow to the head:
St Lawrence roasted alive on a griddle;
St Lucy plucked out her own eyes and sent them to an admirer who praised her beauty;
St Catherine tortured on a wheel.







This is St Thomas (Doubting Thomas) who refused to believe that Christ had risen until he felt the wounds of Christ.


It is quite a gruesome exhibition but it highlights the lives of the saints as shown in the paintings within the gallery. Sometimes we look at these paintings from an artistic viewpoint and not always from the subject and symbolism included within them.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Paddington Station


 Mr and Mrs Brown first met Paddington on a railway platform. In fact, that is how he came to have such an unusual name for a bear for Paddington was the name of the station. 
From 'A Bear Called Paddington' by Michael Bond. So began Paddington Bear's long association with the station.
 The statue can be found at the bottom of the escalator near the shopping and eating area of the station. Paddington Station was built as the main terminus for the Great West Railway and a station I am becoming increasingly familiar with as I travel further and further out of London to reach the Thames path.

  The great engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel was planning a grand building at Paddington, but had to economise due to the rising costs of building the main line, and he had to abandon his original plans. A temporary station was created opening on 4 June 1838, but when the main line to Bristol was opened GWR agreed to the building of a permanent station designed by Brunel.









Brunel was influenced by the design and construction of the Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition of 1851 and you can see how this influenced his design by his use of wrought iron and glass for the roof.
















A statue of Isambard Kingdom Brunel can be found sitting under the clock on Platform 1.




Saturday, 10 August 2013

Victorian pillar box

I spotted this pillar box on Eton High Street.





This pillar box dates back to the days of Queen Victoria and is very rare. It is made from cast iron probably around 1860. All our pillar boxes have the Monarch's initials on them so the majority you see will have EIIR embossed on the side but this one has VR. It is still used as a pillar box.

 

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Window shopping


 Spotted in a gentleman's outfitters in Eton. You can just see the reflection of the high street in the window below. If you are a member of the Eton Rowing Team I am sure this is what you need to be wearing. Or maybe out for the day on the river.
More on the river at Windsor here


Sharing with James at Weekend reflections
 

Monday, 5 August 2013

National Trust #9:Little Moreton Hall

On my way home from Manchester last week I stopped off in Cheshire to see this black and white Tudor Hall. The home of the Moreton family from the 1500s until the 17thcent when their fortunes changed. It now belongs to the National Trust.



When
this building went up, glass could only be made in small pieces and was held together with lead, hence the decorative windows.












They have dated these wall paintings between 1563 -1598. After that oak panelling was fitted around the walls. The paintings were discovered in 1976 when an electrician was rewiring the building.







This is Queen Elizabeth I's court of arms over the fire, to show they were royalists when the civil war began in 1642.



An example of how the roof was made from gritstone slates making it very heavy.




This is how the windows were made.
 





This is the Garderobe, very much a status symbol of the times. They would probably have had soft wool instead of leaves or moss as the Tudor equivalent of toilet paper.



The long gallery used for dancing or indoor games.




The knot garden





The chapel





The hall is surrounded by a moat.

Sharing with 'Our World Tuesday'