Next stop, Colchester

A novel might have taken me to Coventry, but by a strange symmetry it was after visiting Colchester I began reading a novel that mentions, even features, some of the places I saw in the original capital of Roman Britain.

I had unfortunately sprained my ankle just a few days beforehand, so my explorations were not quite as extensive as I should have liked. Still it gives me a good excuse to return.

I have visited many other parts of Essex, and even celebrated a birthday in and around Wivenhoe a few years ago when friends joined me for an easy eight mile walk which started, middled and ended at the pub.

Colchester boasts an impressive castle, a ruined abbey, and an astounding building that is home to the Museum of Modern Art.

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The Walworth Walk

I’ll be leading the Walworth Old and New walk Saturday 3rd December, meeting outside Kennington tube station at 10.45am.

From the Saxons to the present day, Walworth has had many incarnations.



Famous as the birthplace of Charlie Chaplin, Walworth has belonged to a court jester, temporarily housed St Thomas’ Hospital, seen the first giraffes in a public collection in the United Kingdom, been the force behind achieving age related pensions, and has been mentioned in literature from Charles Dickens to Muriel Spark. Continue reading

Fire! London’s Burning!

It’s three hundred and fifty years since the City of London was devasted by a terrible fire, and there are any number of events commemorating the dreadful conflagration we know as the Great Fire of London.

You may already have been to the exhibition at the Museum of London. If not, make a date in your diary. It is well worth the visit. Continue reading

August Update

My, hasn’t the summer flown by!

I’ve had a holiday in Ireland, visiting family and catching up with friends.I was staying near the Sperrins, the lanscape dominated by Slieve Gallion which long ago I climbed during the hillwalking festival.

Slieve Gallion

Slieve Gallion

We went to the Titanic Exhibition which was excellent. I shall gladly go back and see it again.

Titanic exhibition

Titanic exhibition

Titanic

Titanic

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Hampton Court Palace and Gardens

The Hampton Court Flower Show is on this week. Alas, I do not have a ticket, but I shared the train there from waterloo with eager horticulturalists, and the return journey with same, only this time carrying an array of plants. The station was so busy they had laid on live music to entertain us.

There were of course also plants at the station, displayed in the wheelbarrows that over the past few years have become planters of choice for public spaces.

Wheelbarrow planter at the railway station

Wheelbarrow planter at the railway station

I don’t get to work at Hampton Court anywhere near as often as I should like. It’s a brilliant day out and there’s so much to do and to see. You can travel there by train, by boat, or a mixture of the two, and the setting, by the river, is to die for.

On the river

On the river


You can visit much of the surrounding gardens for free, and they are both formal and wonderful.
Wonderful formality

Wonderful formality


Heraldic spaces

Heraldic spaces


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Hurrah for Harwich

Harwich was a delight. Our arrival teas, coffees and cake were taken in the Swan, the second oldest building in the town, complete with C15 wall painting and evidence of an active local crafts scene.

Wall painting

Wall painting

Knitting

Knitting

We were in Mayflower territory. Christopher Jones, captain of that ship lived in a house just a few doors down from the Swan.

Christopher Jones' House

Christopher Jones’ House

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The Week Ahead

Tomorrow I am to spend the day in Harwich in the company of the very wonderful Stephen Humphrey, who knows more about Southwark than anyone else alive, and is pretty damn hot on other places too. It’s the annual outing of the Southwark and Lambeth Archaeological Society, SLAS, of which I am not a member though I do occasionally attend their talks.

Last year we went to Winchester, the year before, Ramsgate. Stephen evidently believes a well fed audience is a happy audience, so there’ll be tea or coffee and cake when we arrive. At Ramsgate our morning refreshments were so extensive few of us had room for lunch. The weather forecast is mixed but the company should be good, and Stephen makes sure the coach in which we travel is a comfortable one.

Memorial Bench Winchester Castle

Memorial Bench Winchester Castle

The outing will mark the end of my few days break. Continue reading

Walworth Walk, Weather and Open Studios

On Saturday I am leading my bi-annual walk around Walworth, finishing at the Artists Open Studios at Pullens’ Yards.

Walworth Walk

Walworth Walk

Just in case you can’t read the details on the picture, The walk starts outside Kennington tube station at 10.45am, and costs £10, or £8 for over 65s and full-time card-carrying students.

I’ll have some leaflets about the Open Studios with me too. There’s lots going on.

Open Studios June 2016

Open Studios June 2016

The week’s weather forecast shows an up and down graph; some sunny basking days; some summer storms; some cloud; humidity.

Today we’ve had all of the above already, and it’s not yet three in the afternoon. Continue reading

Simply Salisbury and Stonehenge

I’m doing a bit of homework for the tours I do fairly regularly to Salisbury, reading The Spire by William Golding. It’s very good, both the story and the way it is written. I’m two thirds of the way through, so not sure how it will end. I hope to finish it before I am back in Salisbury on Tuesday.

I am rather fond of Salisbury, so I was glad to meet someone at the start of last week who came with me a couple of weeks ago. She approached me smiling, and said how much she had enjoyed the day.

That sort of feedback always pleases.

Salisbury Cathedral’s spire is very famous. It pierces the sky above the town. Currently in the cloisters and in the churchyard around the cathedral there are sculptures by Sophie Ryder.

This one is my favourite:

Dog and hare having a conversation sitting on a horse

Dog and hare having a conversation sitting on a horse

The explanation says the dog and hare are having a coversation while sitting on the horse and the horse is listening intently. Sophie Ryder uses animal figures, or often human bodies with animal heads, to explore the relationships we have with each other. That is a pretty important theme anywhere, but particularly in a Christian church. Continue reading

In the Footsteps of Royalty

I’m hoping my Instagram feed will explain that I have been pretty busy so far this month, and time for blogging has been conspicuously absent. One day of heavy rain last week sent me back to my waterproof shoes, and yesterday morning I was glad to find a pair of gloves in my bag, but spring is settling into its stride with longer days and plenty of sunshine.

Most of my work this coming week is with private groups; just two public walks with LW and then parliament on Saturday.

Palace of Westminster

Palace of Westminster

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