Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness

We’ve gone through the Keatsian days when it seemed ‘warm days will never cease’, and although the ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ is still with us, there’s a nip in the air in the morning, the sun rises later and sets earlier.

Under grey skies

In London, every season has something to offer residents and visitors alike. So whether you are thinking of visiting a gallery, taking a stroll around the centre of London, visiting somewhere out of town, or exploring some of the lesser known areas, there’s a tour to please everyone. Continue reading “Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness”

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Summer in the City

Yesterday was hot, though fortunately London is not suffering the same high temperatures as parts of France. It was a good reminder to always carry water, and to refill water bottles at every opportunity. You can now get apps for your ‘phone which tell you the sites of water fountains and other places where you can do this.

Throughout July visitors to London can see the guard change at Buckingham Palace daily. I must have witnessed it hundreds of times during my time as a London Blue Badge Guide, but somehow it never fails to please.

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Simply Salisbury and Stonehenge

I have had the good fortune to take two contrasting groups to visit Salisbury and Stonehenge in recent weeks. On both occasions the weather was kind, and we enjoyed blue skies and sunshine. I hope everyone got good photos.

The first group was a mix of children and adults from the US. The children were home schooled, and as I have found before with home schooled children, their questions were varied and interesting. If any of them see this post I should love to read some comments about what they thought of the two sites.

On my second visit I was with a group of adults from various countries. Antiques Roadshow was being filmed outside Salisbury cathedral. I have never seen so many people there, many with their dogs.

But we found a space outside the west end of the cathedral, and my group kindly posed.

Outside Salisbury Cathedral
Continue reading “Simply Salisbury and Stonehenge”

Through other eyes (for the teachers planning school trips)

Obviously when I am guiding somewhere it is a place I have explored and studied. Oh the late nights over guttering candles, the hours in libraries, the sore feet from investigating hidden corners.
Not that I am complaining: absolutely not. I love my job.

One of the joys is seeing somewhere familiar through other eyes. This was very much the case recently when I had the joyous task of accompanying some French primary school children when they visited Windsor and Eton.

Royal Windsor
Continue reading “Through other eyes (for the teachers planning school trips)”

Why Windsor?

Since the wedding last year between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Windsor has enjoyed increased popularity as a visitor destination.
I advised one of my Irish cousins who was meeting friends from Canada in London to take the train and spend the day in Windsor. They all loved it.

You may not get to see the Queen, but you can have your photograph taken with Harry and Meghan.

Harry and Meghan

Eton College, where Princes William and Harry received their secondary education, is a short pleasant walk away across the Thames.

Eton College

The domestic architecture of both Windsor and Eton is easy on the eye.

Red door
Continue reading “Why Windsor?”

A Welcome in Eltham

Yesterday I enjoyed a visit to Eltham Palace with a lovely couple from Sydney, Australia. Although the weather was grey, the palace still shone.

Eltham Palace

We walked and talked. All of us being animal lovers, May-Jongg (Jonggy) the Courtaulds’ pet lemur featured quite strongly. Bought by the couple from Harrod’s pet department in 1923, he lived with them for fifteen years. Much loved and indulged by his doting owners, he was regarded by their visitors with a certain nervousness.
Mah-Jongg

Prone to stealing olives from martinis, nipping guests’ ankles during dinner, his most outrageous action was to bite the hand of Percy Lemon at a lunch the Courtaulds gave on their yacht Virginia on the morning scheduled for the departure of the 1930-1 British Arctic Air Route Expedition. Lemon was the expedition’s wireless operator. He turned out to be allergic to the iodine used to disinfect the wound and the expedition had to be postponed for three months while he recovered. Continue reading “A Welcome in Eltham”

Watts Gallery

On a grey damp day my BBG colleague Chris and I went to Watts Gallery in Compton, Surrey. The last time we visited together was around twenty years ago, when we took my much loved Aunt Kath who lived locally there for lunch. Even then the Welsh Rarebit served in the café was renowned.

Neither of us has visited fOr several years, and Aunt Kath died in 2015. So this visit was somewhat overdue. Especially since we were both well aware that an important restoration project had taken place, and the gallery, once the preserve of locals, and very much below the radar, had become much better known.

The spur for the visit was, oddly enough, another my relatives. My cousin Russell is the current artist in residence and we wanted to see what he was up to.

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Artist in Residence

Continue reading “Watts Gallery”

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