Total Pageviews

Saturday, 26 September 2015

London and Open House weekend.

Last weekend was Open House London, an annual event designed to celebrate the architecture and interior design of buildings not usually open to the public. Sometimes these are 'ordinary' homes that may have been remodelled or were of advanced design for their time, Span houses spring to mind. 

This year we hit the City of Westminster, on Saturday leaving Embankment staton we walked to Whitehall Place, following a route I took daily when I worked in the Old War Office Building. It was my first 'proper' job, a senior librarian said to me, "Are you interested in this?" I was, trying make sense of the UDC (Universal Decimal Classification) letters and numbers I inked on the spine of books, the special classifications for military and for regimental histories, the hand written dictionary catalogue arranged by British Museum library 1909 rules. I was interested enough to be sent to Liverpool library school to study for the then Library Association exams., to still belong to CILIP LA's successor,  to be a member of the LA Dewey classification Committee and specialise in Cat'n'Class.

This memorial to the Tank Regiment was a surprise to me, the Old War Office Building is to the right, so clean today compared with the sooty building in the sixties.  

 We started our visit in part of the Admiralty building, sadly cameras weren't allowed so couldn't show the views over Horse Guards or the paintings.  The queues for entry into Admiralty House were long, I had made an error in not bringing knitting or crochet to pass the time, instead we lunched at Waterstones before jumping on a bus to the Westminster Archives in St Ann's Street, not so much for the building but to compare and contrast the facilities offered at the Archive where I volunteer. What a difference, a purpose built building with a reading room with so much space, interesting exhibition of historical artefacts including G. F. Handel's rates bill, a conservation department and a Conservator whose work we were shown. I suspect I will go back for research into my paternal family history. Nothing to do with the building but excellent hospitality from the volunteers for this well organised tours. 

Although not a good photo Open House is about buildings so I show this window in the Reàding Room which reflects this historical city. 

On Sunday we made just one visit to the Methodist Central Hall near Parliament Square, on emerging from Westminster tube the Battle of Britain fly past of spitfires and hurricanes looped over, such timing. The whole area was busy, the congregation, so smart in uniform or Sunday best was streaming out of Westminster Abbey after the Battle of Britain service whilst the Queen Elizabeth conference centre was hosting an event for the London Fashion Show. All this and sunshine made for a great atmosphere. 

View of QE2 conference on left from staircase. If we had wanted to climb up the dome our efforts were thwarted by the disclaimer form, couldn't meet the health criteria, it didn't matter, again the visit was more than the building, there was an interesting video about Methodism and a wall display including this:-

An ideal 'rule of conduct' for the world, transcending all politics and beliefs. 

Friday, 18 September 2015

Surprise crop.

Ian tidied up his Silver Gilt front garden this afternoon, the random potato plant was harvested, we were delighted with the quantity of what he suspects may be Maris Pipers. Size may be uneven, they are smooth and mostly unblemished. 

Lovely atmosphere in the road, passers by chatted, we updated neighbours about the award, were asked for directions to a car park at a local school, commuters spoke to us, apparently Waterloo station was heaving but unusually for Rugby matches our local High Street was very quiet. Indoors now, we can hear the whirr of helicopters, we will watch out for the light effects from the opening ceremony from an upstairs room, if the wind is right we may he the roar of the crowd.  

Meanwhile, another view of a slightly more manicured garden. 

So what do I write about, or should that be - about what do I write? Then I am concerned about punctuation for that sentence. Perhaps start with views from the footbridge at Teddington Lock for a week ago we were part of a group walking from Richmond station to Teddington Lock along the Surrey bank of the River Thames. It was one of those days perfect for walking, warm enough but not baking, not blowy either. We have stops, one of party gives a brief talk about landmarks, plenty of those in this historic borough, one topic of concern was the absence of the cows on Petersham Meadow that day. We shouldn't have been concerned, the cows were visible on Wednesday when I drove past. 

Looking upstream towards the weir 

Middlesex bank on the right, Surrey bank on left. 
Looking back to the island that is part of the Lock. 

As a child, the Lock was a destination walk on a Sunday afternoon, access was far less restricted then, river traffic was commercial too,  coal for the power station at Kingston was transported in this way. 

The big excitement here is the Rugby World Cup and its impact on our lives, we live within walking distance of the stadium, today will be the only weekday affected, our road had fewer commuter cars this morning, some schools didn't open, those that did closed at midday. Ian returned from Kingston by bus as he hadn't wished to drive in, however the traffic was light so it appears warnings of road closures have been heeded. Our High Street has had a facelift, it is quite jolly with banners and flags, the station rebuilt although much needed lifts won't be installed until next year. 

Thought I could download a FB picture, it didn't work, I have six weeks to take my own. 

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Holiday Continued.

As it is some time since we moved west from Looe, I am going to just mention highlights so then catchup on more recent events. Must add, when I give publicity to a business it is because I considered we had good service, or were fun, a bit different, may need to be better known. This is not to say that I disagree with more commercial blogs, I don't, this blog is just my rambling, inarticulate and I hope fairly uncontroversial thoughts and therefore an incomplete part of the life of a content baby boomer who still worries about getting things right. 

On our way to Falmouth we stopped to have a brief look around Truro, as usual in a cathedral city we lunched in the cathedral cafe and were not disappointed. What did disappoint us was the Christmas shop inside  the cathedral, now this was August 18th so we are still in the season of Trinity, in my weird brain I equate Trinity with Summer - is it all that green - and more weirdly with Summer dresses. 

We couldn't face going in, from what we saw the items on offer looked like commercial tat. 

I may have said before, our holidays are not beach and sand, we potter around, if possible meet with friends or family so even more enjoyable and this time it was doubly so. A colleague from Ian's working life in Dubai retired to Falmouth; a colleague from Ian's completely different London employment retired with wife and family to Falmouth and we had arranged to meet up with these guys whilst we were there. What was amazing was that these two guys had met and realised they both knew Ian!  Now Dubai friend is going to do work for London friend's daughter. 

In spite of the rainy and grey weather we were able to go out on a two hour boat ride from Falmouth up the Helford River, somewhere I had wanted to do since reading about this area in Howard Spring's Cornish novels.  Rather blowy, but such lovely clean air that enabled me to cope with steep inclines so after we needed refreshment, by chance we saw a sign for Cafe Cinammon situated off The High Street in Old Brewery Yard. Although it was almost closing time the owners, Debby and Ross still served us, we sat in the sheltered sunny courtyard and enjoyed the most yummy cakes and drinks, followed by chat and banter. I didn't take photographs so see their FB page for more details, we hope to return and urge others to try the food here.  There are some lovely glossy lifestyle magazines to peruse,  another reason to linger. 

We wandered along the High Street, another gem, independent shops, not a clone high street here and up the top some views across the water. 

Of course crochet and knitting grew, more details soon. 

Good night everyone. 

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Learning curve.

It is well over four years since I acquired an iPad yet I still struggle. Over a week ago I couldn't read or send emails from either of my accounts on my iPad, there was still the magic ping when someone sent me mail I was only able to pick up from my iPhone, everything else worked. Forty five minutes on the phone to Nadia, an Apple lady in Portugal resulted in an appointment at Apple in the Bentalls Centre as she couldn't solve the mystery.

All is well, within a few moments the problem was solved, my IPad was Full Up. A few weeks before I had used iTunes to link it with the ancient lap top, over five and a half photographs spilled over onto the iPad leaving no room for the contents of the emails.  Both internally and externally the machine had a thorough clean, now I have to add back Apps and websites. One of the first to return was Ravelry, I need to install BBC iPlayer to catch up on The Archers too.

It was in mid August that Ian and I set off for our Summer holidays, slightly different this year, we went away in school holidays, stayed in England and returned to a hotel we'd visited in July 2013.

Our first few days were spent with daughter, we linked up with a school friend of mine who lives in Poundbury on the edge of Dorchester, the weather was atrocious so no chance to photograph the town, so different from elsewhere, few traffic signs, no yellow lines, mixture of shops with houses. Each property has out of sight garages or car ports, front gardens didn't figure either.  Apparently the bus service is good, Dorchester has two railway stations too.  It was far too wet to walk around but we visited one shop Christabel's Linens, full of goodies, so much so couldn't resist buying towels for the shower room we are having built by extending downstairs cloakroom.

The poor weather followed us to Cornwall, we stayed at the Fieldhead Hotel in West Poole again for a couple of nights, on our last visit we hadn't travelled on the train line from Poole to Liskeard, I was under the misapprehension that this was a steam or heritage line, but it was the modern incarnation of British Rail, just two shabby carriages coming to the end of their lives as if they had been discarded by more important and prestigious lines. The shabbiness matched the town of Liskeard, it was difficult to find somewhere for lunch, we ended up in Stuart House, a community building for arts, where sandwiches were made freshly for us by volunteers in the café. We do ponder about some towns, we use the type of shops and their products as a measure, Liskeard seemed poor in this regard and we wondered about the occupations of the inhabitants. Certainly it was within commuting distance to Plymouth by car or train, the train was a bit of a trek from the town centre.

More about an enjoyable holiday in spite of poor weather, it is too late to write more.