Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for February, 2017

A couple of months ago I sent back 23 letters from charities asking for money…that’s 23 charities I’ve donated to in the past, some of which I made monthly contributions to for over 5 years!! Every time I get home after a job I’m confronted with piles of begging letters… I mark them ‘return to sender’ every time and put them back into the Royal Mail system and STILL they keep sending letters asking for money.

If I donated monthly (which is what they ask for) to all of them I’d be working to support the charities alone and little left for anything else. I stopped all monthly contributions in 2015 when I realised I was working 1.5 weeks every year just to keep up with my monthly contributions. Now I’m getting tough…it’s ridiculous that I have to phone them to be taken off their lists.

Besides the fact that they pay their executives 2-3 times more than I earn in a year, they send reams of stationery and pens and shit that I really don’t want or need……total waste of the money already contributed. Ever since 92 year-old Olive Cooke’s tragic suicide in Bristol in 2015 I’m getting a bit less sympathetic with these charities. I know they need the money, and they are all worthy causes, but where do you draw the line? And don’t even get me started on the phone calls…..I’m so fed up with their aggressive manner on the phone…you end up feeling quite bullied, much like Olive was. You can’t just say no, because they talk right over you. I had an experience once with Greenpeace. I was already a supporter making monthly contributions and by the end of the call I was signed up to a 2nd monthly contribution by Greenpeace Australia, a contribution that during the call I understood was to be a small increase in my existing standing order.  But no! Suddenly I had these extra £6 p.m. donations going through. Fortunately I reconcile my bank statements on a monthly basis to the last penny/cent and stopped the standing orders immediately. And because the chugger had been so duplicitous, I stopped the original donation at the same time. So they lost out by being dishonest.

I am more than happy to make contributions as and when it pleases me and when it’s something close to my heart, but this bombardment by mail is ridiculous.  If you happen to make even just 1 donation to a given charity and have to provide email and address details, you end up on theirs and lists for other organisations you’ve not donated to at all.

I’ve started limiting my donations to requests from friends on Facebook who support an individual charity…people that I actually know and have met; and mostly now to the smaller more independent charities that focus on one particular issue. But even on facebook you get these ridiculous adverts asking for donations. Personally I think the charities need to readdress their internal expenditure, and assess the extortionate salaries that are paid to their executives, their superfluous spending and the rental for their offices, which are often these amazingly modern spaces that must cost a fortune.

I realise that the charities like Breast Cancer and Alzheimer’s and The British Heart Foundation rely on donations for research, however, that’s why we pay taxes…the Government should be allocating money towards this research in sufficient enough funds to manage this. It would benefit the system in the long run when cures are discovered or changes can be made and that would lift the burden from the NHS for health care. But of course that would mean relying on the Government to spend their money wisely…and we all know how that pans out!!!

It’s a really tricky situation added to by the ‘guilt’ you feel when you don’t donate. However, I’ve just had to harden my heart, donate to those that I relate to – which are still quite a few, and I mostly now use the text facility on my phone with which I can donate as I go when something catches my eye or tugs at my heart-strings.

I just don’t want to be hounded on a monthly basis or even bi-monthly with letters and envelopes filled with pens, or address stickers or such-like. Besides the cost involved to the charity for all this ‘stuff’, it mostly ends up, unopened in the trash…and that is not very ecologically friendly at all.

So much as I would like to support them all, it’s not financially possible and I do wish they’d review all the stuff they send out.

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I get your perception of what he is doing; successfully alienating main stream media in the minds of the masses so that he becomes the ‘truth’ and they’re the enemy. However, what he’s doing is laying the groundwork for future manipulation of the system, to remove liberties (already happening), to undermine democracy ( already happening), to make people think he’s the ‘hero’ making America ‘great again’. But, he’s not. He’s creating fear, racism is raising its ugly head, insinuating itself into the minds of the populas and becoming Methusela, he’s subverting the system to benefit himself, his cronies, and the future of his family.

Yes he’s doing a brilliant job….. of SCREAMING AT EVERYONE ON TWITTER spouting his hate and lies and anger. He’s a very dangerous individual and although I refuse to follow him or accept his hateful rhetoric, I am keeping a very close eye on his methods….because behind the mask lies madness….of a most evil mind. He’s nasty, a bully, sociopathic, a blatant liar, bigoted, misogynistic, racist, cheat, and deceptive beyond anything we’ve seen except in societies like North Korea, Russia, and many of the despotic African countries. A despotic demagogue.

He’s using social media as a tool to manipulate the celebrity brain-dead? The unable to think for themselves masses, who seldom if ever bother to read an intelligent article, publication or book. With all the personal development & marketing courses I did in 2007/2008, one thing they taught us, that shocked me at the time, was that when marketing/selling to the American market, we should market to the mental level of a 9 year old. And my apologies to any Americans reading  this comment, but most of the trainers were Americans. So not my perception.

#45 is evil. Period.

Read on: 

Shared via:  http://www.bluedotdaily.com/robert-reich-show-this-to-anyone-who-voted-for-trump-immediately/

“While a lot of Trump voters won’t listen to any criticism of the man (much like Trump himself), there are lots of them that have expressed regret over their support for him.  Whichever of those two categories your Trump-voting friends or family fall into, here is something that they need to read, immediately.  There’s always hope we can change the mind of the latter and keep working on the former.

There are lots of reasons to follow Clinton Secretary of Labor Robert Reich on Facebook. His sharing of this post from a comment by Rosa Figueroa, and others similar to it, is just one of those reasons.

Next time you get into a little squabble with a Trump voter, bring this into the conversation:

You might want to send this to anyone in your family, or anyone you know, who voted for Trump. (Thanks to Rosa Figueroa who posted this in response to one of my posts yesterday.)

1. He called Hillary Clinton a crook.
You bought it.
Then he paid $25 million to settle a fraud lawsuit.

2. He said he’d release his tax returns, eventually.
You bought it.
He hasn’t, and says he never will.

3. He said he’d divest himself from his financial empire, to avoid any conflicts of interest.
You bought it.
He is still heavily involved in his businesses, manipulates the stock market on a daily basis, and has more conflicts of interest than can even be counted.

4. He said Clinton was in the pockets of Goldman Sachs, and would do whatever they said.
You bought it.
He then proceeded to put half a dozen Goldman Sachs executives in positions of power in his administration.

5. He said he’d surround himself with all the best and smartest people.
You bought it.
He nominated theocratic loon Mike Pence for Vice President. A white supremacist named Steve Bannon is his most trusted confidant. Dr. Ben Carson, the world’s greatest idiot savant brain surgeon, is in charge of HUD. Russian quisling Rex Tillerson is Secretary of State.

6. He said he’d be his own man, beholden to no one.
You bought it.
He then appointed Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, whose only “qualifications” were the massive amounts of cash she donated to his campaign.

7. He said he would “drain the swamp” of Washington insiders.
You bought it.
He then admitted that was just a corny slogan he said to fire up the rubes during the rallies, and that he didn’t mean it.

8. He said he knew more about strategy and terrorism than the Generals did.
You bought it.
He promptly gave the green light to a disastrous raid in Yemen- even though all his Generals said it would be a terrible idea. This raid resulted in the deaths of a Navy SEAL, an 8-year old American girl, and numerous civilians. The actual target of the raid escaped, and no useful intel was gained.

9. He said Hillary Clinton couldn’t be counted on in times of crisis.
You bought it.
He didn’t even bother overseeing that raid in Yemen; and instead spent the time hate-tweeting the New York Times, and sleeping.

10. He called CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times “fake news” and said they were his enemy.
You bought it.
He now gets all his information from Breitbart, Gateway Pundit, and InfoWars.

11. He called Barack Obama “the vacationer-in-Chief” and accused him of playing more rounds of golf than Tiger Woods. He promised to never be the kind of president who took cushy vacations on the taxpayer’s dime, not when there was so much important work to be done.
You bought it.
He took his first vacation after 11 days in office.
On the taxpayer’s dime.
And went golfing.

And that’s just the first month.”

Read Full Post »

I was reading an article on facebook recently about the next mass extinction of species on planet earth. I did some further research and found these articles:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/radical-conservation/2015/oct/20/the-four-horsemen-of-the-sixth-mass-extinction

“It was behaviorally modern humans, with their ultrasocial behaviors and complex societies that spread across the Earth, became increasingly larger scale societies, ultimately gaining the capacity to transform the entire Earth. Technology is not the driver of Earth system change – social change is the cause of this.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/01/extinct-animals-could-lose-forever-2017/

“Animal populations plummeted by 58 per cent between 1970 and 2012, with losses on track to reach 67 per cent over the next three years.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/19/critical-10-species-at-risk-climate-change-endangered-world

“From penguins in Antarctica, to butterflies in Spain, and rodents and coral in the Great Barrier Reef, as the world warms these species are disappearing”.

I believe it’ll not change unless humans have a massive wake up call. The reality is that there are too many people on the planet with no signs of slowing down; as of 2013 7.125 billion. There are millions of people struggling to survive, people for whom a few dollars make all the difference between going hungry or feeding their families, so when someone comes along and offers them money to kill or capture wild animals….

There are the people living in abject poverty who are only looking for the next meal and will do anything to get money to feed their families….they don’t care if the species will become extinct.

And then there’s the mid-range population with their demands for all the comforts and luxuries of consumerism…..the throw away group who buy discard buy discard buy discard without any regard for the planet and what their junk is doing to the space where animal/insect/amphibian/plant species depend on to survive.

Then we have the super rich who are either wild-life hunters or believe that the bones or skin or testicles or heart or whatever is good mojo for enhanced sexual virility or just to show off that they have ‘enough’ money to get whatever they want.

Then we have #45 who is shutting down the EPA and opening up previously protected land for his wealthy greedy buddies to drill for oil or gas or whatever….which we use on a daily basis in our lives of consumerism. The only thing that will save this planet is the mass extinction of the human race.

Read Full Post »

London is truly my absolute favourite city in the world….I’ve had a love-affair with this city since the day back in March 2002 when I cautiously made my way from London Bridge station and stepped tentatively onto London Bridge looking downstream. Instant love!

hello london and magic lantern festival

View of the River Thames towards Tower Bridge from London Bridge

After a wonderful adventure on the Isle of Wight I was in transit on my way home in Kent. But first I had to stop over in London, there was much to see and do – 1. go see the fabulous Magic Lantern Festival at Chiswick House and 2. meet my best friend Valy at Guildhall Art Gallery where we were to see that extraordinary and totally amazing sliver of history: William the Conqueror’s London Charter dating from 1067!!! I mean seriously!!

The train hurtled up the line from Portsmouth to London Victoria; 148.6 km’s 🙂 I had mapmywalk on just for fun and it was weird watching myself walking 1 km in 1.20 seconds!! If I had actually walked the distance it would have been 108850 steps!!! Crikey.

Before too long we arrived at Victoria Station. I lugged my bag below ground and onto the Victoria line to Earls Court where I had planned to stay the night at the YHA…my favourite choice of accommodation. I checked in, located my bed (which had been ‘acquired’ by a young lady, whom I very kindly informed had to move to the top bunk.) We swapped bedding, I made sure to put my stuff all over the bed to indicate that it was in use and headed out into the cold and dark to Chiswick House for the Magic Lantern Festival.

Wow!!! What an extraordinary exhibition! when I told my daughter I was planning on going she was aghast….I loathe those lanterns that people tend to send off into the air for arbitrary reasons and various events, and she initially thought “what??? but you hate those things!!” I do and it wasn’t.

Magic Lantern Festival - Chiswick House, London

Magic Lantern Festival – Chiswick House, London

This is the 2nd year that Chiswick House has hosted this amazing festival. The beautifully sculpted and decorated items shone out like a beacon and I’m sure could probably have been seen from space 😉 It was fantastic. My jaw literally dropped at the splendour as I gasped in wonder at each new exhibit. After passing through security the path wove and meandered around the grounds and gardens of the house, weaving between hedges, past the lake, over the bridge, past the house and lit up the night with wonder! I can’t even begin to describe how exquisite each piece was. Lifelike figures, delicate flowers, bold horsemen on charging mounts, magnificent palaces, temples and towering ships in full sail. Magnificent.

Magic Lantern Festival - Chiswick House, London

lifelike figures – exquisite

Despite the ticket sell-out, the venue wasn’t over-crowded and people tended to thin out and then gather in a group at each new wonder. The path was muddy of course and in order to showcase the full splendour of the pieces, there were only intermittent low lights on the ground to guide the way. But seriously there was so much light from the exhibits you hardly needed anything else to guide the way.

Magic Lantern Festival - Chiswick House, London

Magic Lantern Festival – Chiswick House, London

The only downside that I can think of were the food stall sort of half way round and the ‘fun-fair’ and tent and stalls at the end. But even though they were a distraction, they were necessary of course for the venue to generate income to offset the costs of hosting such an event. Well worth the ticket price…which may I add was exceptionally cheap considering the stunning stunning exhibition. I’ll let the photos do the talking.

Sunday dawned more or less bright and of course, being the YHA…quite early. People have no idea how to keep quiet LOL.

I lugged my bag downstairs to the luggage room, prayed it would be okay and stepped out into the then sunshine. I had planned on going to Hampton Court Palace but frankly I was just wayyyy too tired so instead I meandered about the area, just exploring the streets enroute to City of London and Guildhall Art Gallery to view the charter given to the City of London by William the Conqueror soon after he was crowned at Westminster.

colourful houses in london

scenes of London

On the way I visited the V&A Museum…where I saw a fantastic exhibition featuring Lockwood Kipling (Rudyard Kipling’s father), and his time in India…which seemed rather congruent as how I had just the day before visited Osborne House where you can see the influence India had on ‘Empress’ Victoria.

a magnificent Dale Chihuly glass sculpture in the V&A Museum foyer

a magnificent Dale Chihuly glass sculpture in the V&A Museum foyer

Then I popped in at the Science Museum to see the capsule the Tim Peake travelled back to earth in after his stint on the ISS International Space Station last year. Wow!!! Amazing. The Science Museum is a particular favourite of mine and I love to see all the amazing exhibits they have there.

Tim Peake's Capsule at The Science Museum

Tim Peake’s Capsule at The Science Museum

You could spend days and not see everything…much like the V&A and the many other fantastic museums in London. From there I meandered through Kensington Gardens and popped into Kensington Palace. My Historic Royal Palaces membership was due to expire and I really wanted to make one more visit before that happened. It was perfect really as I had visited Osborne House on the Isle of Wight just the day before.

The young Queen Victoria at Kensington palace

The young Queen Victoria at Kensington palace

I met my lovely Belgian friend Valy there at 12noon and we immediately went to have a look. Extraordinary! It’s just mind-blowing to see these treasures. How these things survive is incredible. I often wonder that if people had had more ….I suppose respect for things in the past few centuries, we might have more such treasures. Nevertheless, those that we do have are a wonder to behold and I appreciate every one of them.

On till 27 April 2017: A celebration of the 950th anniversary of the 1067 charter, the oldest item from the City of London Corporation’s 100 km of archives.

The charter was given to the City by William the Conqueror soon after he was crowned at Westminster, but before he entered the City of London. It is key to how William won the support of London and how the City itself began to gain its special autonomy.  Written in Old English, the Charter is tiny, less than 16cm x 2cm in size with one of the earliest seal impressions of William I.

Enchanting!!! Extraordinary!! Amazing!! Incredible!! Ancient!!

We spent another 30 minutes or so in the art gallery…oh those paintings….just stunning. Sometimes I look at them and just wonder at the skill and patience and love the artists must have had…very often you can look at a paintings and it is so finely executed you thinks it’s a photograph.

Procession of Sir James Whitehead, Lord Mayor 1888-1889

“The Ninth of November, 1888”; shows the Procession of Sir James Whitehead, Lord Mayor 1888-1889, passing the Royal Exchange. – artist William Logsdail (1859-1944)

From there we set off across the City of London intending to walk all the way back to Westminster but unfortunately it started to rain so we jumped on a bus instead. On our way to Leicester Square we briefly  passed by the Chinese New Year celebrations in Trafalgar Square.

Chinese New Year 2017 - Trafalgar Square

Chinese New Year 2017 – Trafalgar Square

For the very first time in a very long while I lost my beatings and ended up taking the LONG way round to Leicester Square. Urgh. I can blame lack of sleep LOL.

new LEGO store at Leicester Square

The huge new LEGO store at Leicester Square

All too soon it was time to say goodbye and Valy headed over to St Pancras for the Eurostar back to Belgium and I onto the tube to Earls Court and then back to the mainline station for my train home.

What a fab end to a wonderful trip to the Isle of Wight. I’d SO love to go back there sometime, but the chances of that are pretty slender. I love to see new places and have so many travel goals to achieve on my wish list, that it’s improbable. Although The Needles are calling for a 2nd look 😉 so who knows…..

Next time I’ll be in Surrey working in what I was to discover was one of the Domesday Book towns and………blog coming soon….the place of the oaks.

 

 

Read Full Post »

I’m so sharing this. Because of a small minority, it’s always the small-(minded) minorities that cause mayhem, based on their egotistical narrow-minded ideologies, that create an atmosphere of hate and anger.
Sadly this is often enhanced by our Governmental parties, usually again a small ego-driven minority (I won’t mention names like Farage and Nuttall and Griffin and many of the USA republican party etc to keep their anonymity 😠😠😠) and rags like The Sun and Daily Mail and more recently I’ve noticed; The Spectator, that spew their vitriolic rhetoric across their pages like vomit. It’s open-minded people, who are welcoming and inclusive of different cultures and religions and races that make up the world creating communities of love and kindness and sharing. I’m sure that’s what John Lennon meant by his song ‘Imagine’.
That’s what this writer is conveying. Feel free to share, it’s on a public post. This people is humanity. This is what the world is and will continue to be despite the efforts of warmongers, haters and vitriolic old men…no names mentioned just a reference to a rump aka #45.

This story gave me goosebumps; the person who shared this said:

“From a closed group but it deserves a wider audience, shared by a friend of mine on Facebook”……..read on:

“I went for a walk today.  First, down to the Post Office where the owner helped me with my parcel, checking the post code which he was worried was not correct.  He’s a Muslim, a first generation immigrant judging by his voice – not that that made any difference.  When I left the Post Office I decided to go home by a roundabout route in order to get a bit of exercise.  As I passed a gate I got a huge hello and grin from the chap standing there having a smoke.  He was black and had spectacular dreadlocks almost down to his waist – not that that made any difference.  I went on my way, passing a lollipop man who was greeting parents and children as they passed with a beaming smile.  He was white – not that it made any difference.  On I went on this chilly afternoon, up past the hospital and met a “walking bus”: two young women and about ten children holding hands with each other and chattering away nineteen to the dozen, making their way home from school.  Some of those children had white skins and some of them had brown skins, not that it made any difference – it certainly didn’t to them.  I carried on, past the bike shop with the white owner, circling through the park past the swarms of students from our highly successful 6th form college in their mixed ethnic groups gossiping with the energy that young people have in abundance. Not that it made any difference either.

When I walk around the town centre I hear voices in many accents and languages.  I have heard most of them all my life.  The Scots, Irish, Germans, Italians, Jews and Basques were already here before I was born.  So too were the Eastern Europeans, fleeing first the Nazis and then the Communists.  There are Latvian clubs, Ukrainian clubs , Polish clubs, Estonian clubs  and so on all over the region.  After the “Captive Nations” Europeans came people from the West Indies and then people from the Indian sub-continent and Africa.  The new voices around my home town are Chinese; we have a thriving University which has a good number of Chinese students, and those of a new wave of Eastern European people.  Not that any of THAT matters.

I taught for thirty eight  years in the area, mostly at a comprehensive, and taught children from all these backgrounds, and also from Africa, from Palestine, from Sri Lanka, from Greece and from Russia.  They were all, well, children.  They were, of course, mostly lovely.  My colleagues were white, brown, Christian, agnostic, Muslim, French, Spanish, Caribbean.  Not that any of that made any difference.  I spent my last five years of work at one of the highest achieving schools in the country where some of the pupils had doctors or surgeons as parents, some taxi-drivers, some accountants, some shop-keepers and some academics and so on.  Nearly forty percent of the pupils were Muslim or of Asian descent – and none of that, none of it, made any difference.

When I was about twelve I had an experience that did make a difference.  On a visit to my grandfather’s house one day, being left alone whilst everyone else went to walk the dogs I explored my grandfather’s library.  Looking through his books I discovered a photographic record of what the Allies found in the extermination camps in 1945.  There was a horrid fascination that kept me turning the pages looking at one nightmare after another.  I felt sick and yet I couldn’t stop looking: gallows, ovens and shower-rooms that weren’t.  One image stays with me: a giant yard full of what appeared, at first sight, to be neat stacks of firewood.  Except it wasn’t wood that was so neatly piled.  I couldn’t  tell my parents why I was so upset when they returned from their walk, I felt that I had been looking at something obscene and shameful, and I had.

So here’s the thing: I was taught at junior school that white people were naturally better than every one else, that there were such things as human races and you could judge people by which religion they held to.  It was all a lie.  None of it, none of this nationalistic, xenophobic nonsense that engulfs us today is true.  And it is why I am so angry about the results of the Referendum; that a project that was explicitly set up to ensure that the horrors of the past could never be repeated because we would be bound together at first economically and then through shared cultural experiences, a project that in those terms at least was an enormous success, that all this should be thrown away under the influences of those very forces it set out to destroy, is heart-breaking.  I say shame, shame to all those unprincipled politicians and media men who encouraged this Pandora’s box to be opened.  Let us hope that a butterfly of hope was released too.”

Although I don’t who it is, I love the person who wrote this…..and yes indeed, let us hope…..butterfly-quote

Read Full Post »

After a lovely hot shower when I got back to the B&B the night before, I jumped into bed and snuggled down for the night…weary to my bones but every so happy with what I had seen. Thankfully my night was undisturbed so when the alarm went off at 7:30 again I felt refreshed and ready to go go go. This was also my final morning on the island and I was due to catch the 13:47 ferry to Portsmouth and then train to London.

Sadly the B&B forgot to put out my breakfast tray so I had to raid the dining room and left with 2 yogurt pots and a box of cereal in my backpack. Oh the food I eat when exploring.

exploring the isle of wight, visit the isle of wight

fantastic views from the top deck of the bus

I hopped onto the 08:50 bus to Osborne and arrived with 45 minutes to spare before the gates of Osborne House opened. Rather than hang around kicking my heels I had noticed on the way in that East Cowes marina was just a stones-throw (okay no not really…it was a tad further), so I set off at a quick pace to explore – despite that it was all downhill, I’m so glad I made the effort.

exploring the isle of wight, visit the isle of wight

East Cowes Marina

The weather was stunning in comparison to the day before and the marina looked beautiful. I explored for a bit then headed back to Osborne House…..urgh those hills going back up!!!

osborne house, exploring the isle of wight, visit the isle of wight

aerial view of Osborne and the house

Osborne House was wonderful. The interior is sumptuous and the views from the patio and many of the windows are stunning. Osborne House was the much loved seaside retreat for Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, built between 1845 and 1851, and apparently they spent many a happy day there with their children. It was also the place Victoria returned to after the death of her beloved Albert in 1861. She was to spend the next 7 years there, holed up, mourning the loss of her husband, friend and confidant, dressed in black and refusing to budge, even though desperately needed as Head of State. She even refused to ‘Open Parliament’, which put the Government in a quandry!  Queen Victoria used Osborne for over 50 years, entertaining foreign royalty and visiting ministers.

osborne house, exploring the isle of wight, visit the isle of wight

Osborne House, Isle of Wight – seaside home for Victoria and Albert

Taken on a guided tour of the lower floor and some of the rooms, we were left gasping by the sheer splendour and magnificence of the furnishings and decorations. Albert had pretty much the final say on how it should look and I can say the man had amazing taste; he has left an amazing legacy for the country.

osborne house isle of wight, visit isle of wight

beautifully decorated and long passageways

Not ostentatious, but finely set out, the rooms are stunning with faux-marble columns, exquisitely woven carpets, fabulous paintings on the walls, much of it original furniture and works of art (some are replicas as the current Queen has the originals).

osborne house isle of wight, visit isle of wight

exquisitely furnished with lush carpets, decorative ceilings, fabulous chandeliers

Their initials V & A interwoven can be seen in ceiling decorations, woven into the corners of carpets and added wherever possible.

victoria and albert osborne house isle of wight, visit the isle of wight

V & A – everywhere you looked there initials were interwoven and part of the decor; carpets, floors, ceilings, cornices

I found it to be quite poignant viewing the rooms and imagined the family living there – how much they must have loved it.

osborne house isle of wight, visit isle of wight

beautiful passageways with exquisite sculptures, finely furnished rooms

Many, many family portraits filled the walls in most of the family rooms. Poignant images of beloved children, from toddlers into adulthood with children of their own; all long gone, some of whom met tragic ends.

osborne house victoria and albert, visit the isle of wight

Victoria and Albert who between them created a dynasty that spread across the world – family portraits

The one room that left me gasping was the fabulous Durbar Room. Added to entertain large numbers of people it was built and completed between 1891 and 1892 almost 30 years after Prince Albert’s death…I’m quite sure he would have approved. This room is stunning! Designed by Lockwood Kipling (father of the author Rudyard Kipling) and master carver Bhai Ram Singh. Detailed with intricate Indian-style plaster work, it is richly decorated in the architectural styles of northern India and reflected Queen Victoria’s then status as Empress of India, the large reception room is breath-taking. Although it looks like everything is carved from ivory, the plaster-work was executed by the Indian plasterer Bhai Ram Singh -there is not one piece of ivory in the room.

osborne house isle of wight, victoria and albert osborne house, visit the isle of wight

The Durbar Room, Osborne House

The Durbar Wing also provided accommodation for Princess Beatrice, Queen Victoria’s youngest married daughter, and her family on the 1st floor.

In the display cabinets in the room are some of the stunning gifts received by Victoria when she was Empress of India.

queen victoria empress of india, osborne house isle of wight, visit the isle of wight

gifts for the Empress of India, Osborne House, Isle of Wight

With reference to my visit to The Needles yesterday and the Marconi Monument, in 1898 messages were received from Marconi at Queen Victoria’s Osborne House on a telephone presented by Alexander Bell.

Queen Victoria died at Osborne House in 1901.

queen victoria, osborne house, isle of wight

Queen Victoria – Osborne House, Isle of Wight

Her successor, her eldest son, Edward VII (1841–1910), didn’t need it and as no other member of the royal family wanted to take on the upkeep, the king gave the Osborne estate to the nation on his  Coronation Day in 1902.  Osborne House is now managed by English Heritage.

After the tour which sadly only took in part of the house due to much needed repairs being done on the central staircase, I headed outdoors to enjoy the sunshine and views. The grounds are a delight and much as I wanted to go down to the beach are and visit the Swiss Cottage, my time was almost up, so I contented myself with a quick whizz around the perimeter of the house and at 12noon I recorded the chimes of the clock and then set off back to the bus-stop. In all a fantastic trip.

visit osborne house isle of wight, visit isle of wight

Exterior views of Osborne House and across the grounds to the Solent

My next stop was Ryde, then the B&B where I collected my suitcase and set off for the ferry with plenty of time to spare. I even managed to watch one of the Hovercraft come in to land….again!!! LOL They are fascinating to watch.

And so it was time to say goodbye to the Isle of Wight. I shall definitely return, although I know not when. But there is still much to see and after chatting to the gentleman that I accosted one day on one of my walks in Bembridge, I am inspired to do what he did and walk around the while perimeter of the island. (btw I didn’t harm the guy, I just stopped him to ask about the walking poles he was using!! 😉 )

visit the isle of wight

Goodbye to the Isle of Wight

One of my ambitions is to visit 100 of the Domesday towns and villages in England. There are 84 such places on the Isle of Wight, some of which have morphed into larger towns and others that are still around but looking nothing at all like they may have in 1085/86. I managed to visit 6 of these places: Binstead, Brading, Nettleston, Sandown, Shanklin and a walk through the lower end of Puckpool.

The Domesday Book was commissioned in December 1085 by William the Conqueror, who invaded England in 1066. The first draft was completed in August 1086 and contained records for 13,418 settlements in the English counties south of the rivers Ribble and Tees (the border with Scotland at the time).

Read Full Post »

Day 2: After a very disturbed night, and struggling to get back to sleep after being woken at 01:30 in the morning by a hell of a ruckus downstairs (I did look but couldn’t see who or what), I was tempted to just shut my eyes and snuggle back under the covers when my alarm went off at 7:30! Urgh. But, I had adventures ahead so after a most welcome cup of tea I got dressed, partook of the ‘continental’ breakfast the B&B had kindly provided for me, and set off for the bus to my first stop……Brading Roman Villa.

visit Brading Roman Villa on the Isle of Wight

Brading Roman Villa on the Isle of Wight

It was great travelling along a different route and of course in the daylight I could see so much more of the countryside. Before too long the driver let me off at my requested stop and directed me to the entrance to the villa. On the whole I found the bus drivers on the IoW to be very helpful. It was a real thrill to walk along the route that had possibly been traversed by the Romans nearly two centuries ago. I was quite early so I enjoyed a 30 minute excursion of the site before entering the building.

visit brading roman villa isle of wight

the outside area of Brading Roman Villa

The Brading Roman Villa heritage site is owned and operated by the Oglander Roman Trust and they have done a superb job of preserving the remains. There are a number of cabinets exhibiting ancient artefacts..fab!!

visit brading roman villa

Brading Roman Villa

I had a very entertaining guide give me a head start and then I was off to explore. Oh my gosh! I cannot tell you how stunning the place is. Imagine being able to see the stunning mosaics insitu as they had been laid all those hundreds of years ago. And they are astoundingly beautiful. It always gives me a thrill to walk in the footsteps of long ago civilizations…..I always wish I could just time-travel for an hour or so…just to experience what it must have looked like.

visit brading roman villa isle of wight

some of the stunning mosaics. what a wonderful way to decorate your house

After thoroughly exploring the villa I set off once again for the next leg of my journey to Shanklin. The route took us through Sandown and since I had already visited the town previously, decided to not get off there again.

whistle stop tour of the isle of wight shanklin

scenes of Shanklin

Shanklin was lovely and I had a fantastic walk around the town, discovered some beautiful places and managed a short walk along the clifftop before heading back into town centre to the little tea-shop I had seen earlier: Cinderella’s Tea Room and Dress Shop…how could I not stop off 😉

whistle stop tour of the isle of wight shanklin

Cinderella Tea Room and dress shop

Then it was off back uphill through the town and since my bus wasn’t due for another 30 minutes I decided to walk as far as I could before the next one was due. Along the way I passed the most delightful set of cottages you could imagine. Totally quintessential England. The Old Thatch Teashop was closed for the winter, I am most certainly going to plan a visit the next time I visit the island.

whistle stop tour of the isle of wight shanklin

Chocolate Box perfect – quintessential England – Shanklin Isle of Wight

Unfortunately the clouds had by now settled and it began to rain…I had already walked a fair distance so wasn’t too unhappy to wait for the bus – it arrived just before the heavens opened!! Glad of the snug warmth of the bus I enjoyed the scenery whizzing by. One of the things that surprised me the most about the IoW is how hilly it is. I thought it might be fun to walk around the island next visit, and that thought was uppermost in my mind as we traversed the hills and dales…..those hills will be a test of my endurance, that’s for sure.

Next stop was Newport. Located at the point where the River Medina splits into two; one branch, the Medina continues almost all the way across the island to the southern most point, splitting into lots of smaller tributaries and off shoots along the way, and the other continues as the Lukely Brook to Bowcombe where it peters out.

visit newport isle of wight

Newport Harbour and the River Medina, Isle of Wight

Newport, located in the centre of the island, is the principal town on the IoW and often referred to as the capital. With the town’s quay a short distance away, the town centre is made up of 2 squares surrounded by elegant Victorian and Georgian architecture.

visit newport isle of wight

scenes of Newport, Isle of Wight

With a historic past that goes back 40,000 years to the Neanderthal period, mousterian remains; tools made by Neanderthals were found in the 1970’s, there are also Roman remains and two Roman villas, as well as links to the Norman Conquest.  I spent an hour or so walking around and visited The Guildhall Museum which is a delightful showcase for the history of the island. Well worth a visit.

guildhall museum visit newport isle of wight

Guildhall Museum, Newport, Isle of Wight – only £2 entry fee, it’s so worth a visit

As mentioned previously, the buses are not exactly very regular so instead of waiting for 45 minutes for the next one out of town, I walked to Carisbrooke Castle which was next on my agenda. Carisbrooke was for centuries the Isle of Wight’s capital and was once called Buccombe or Beaucombe, and means the ‘ fair valley’ and I’m sure on a fine day it would be an amazing sight from the top of the hill across the valley.

visit Carisbrooke, Newport, Isle of Wight

Carisbrooke, Newport, Isle of Wight

I so enjoyed the walk; it took no time at all and I was within sight of the castle…only at the top of a great big bloody hill LOL. I wasn’t in the mood for climbing!!! Jeez. Anyway, I put on my big girl panties and started trudging uphill. Ever so worth it.

visit carisbrooke castle newport isle of wight

Carisbrooke Castle – Charles I was detained here before his trial

Carisbrooke Castle is stunning!! Carrisbrooke, an historic Motte-and-Bailey castle, originally a Roman fort, is located in the village of Carisbrooke, not too far from Newport. The castle was built soon after William the Conqueror came to England and the following centuries saw a tumultuous history with a number of owners. In 1293 the castle became the property of Edward I and the crown. In 1647 Charles I took refuge at the castle, but this later turned into his prison from which he tried to escape in the months prior to his trial. His daughter princess Elizabeth later died there aged 14. Also managed by English Heritage the castle was unfortunately closed on weekdays at the time of my visit. I’ll definitely have to visit again.

carisbrooke isle of wight

the village of Carisbrooke with the castle on the other side of the river Lukely

The village of Carisbrooke appears to be split in two by the River Lukely with a major part of the town on one side and the castle on the other.  The views from the hill on which the castle perches are outstanding, even though it was a grey and glum day.

From there I made the insane decision to make the long journey to see The Needles. I had planned on doing this as part of my whistle-stop tour, but the day was already closing in, it was raining and I was cold and hungry. But after a quick whatsapp discussion with my daughter I drew breath and started walking…yes, you guessed…the next bus was 37 minutes away and I don’t like standing endlessly waiting!!! ….LOL I tell you it was a real challenge getting around the island with the ludicrous bus timetable. On the way I passed through the village of Gunville, of which I saw little besides the name and a convenience store where I bought something to eat….I was famished by that time : 15:30!! I decided at this point to wait for the bus….the road out of the village was narrow with high hedges and it was raining…..I didn’t fancy becoming a statistic on the Isle of Wight!

Located at the South Western tip of the Isle of Wight above Alum Bay, The Needles, an iconic image, immediately spring to mind when you think of the island.  Am I ever so glad I decided to go!! We got to The Needles tourist area at 16:50 – completely deserted. The bus I arrived on was due to leave again at 17:05. It was raining. It was getting dark. The next bus after was at 17:35…..I did not feel like hanging around. So I dashed over to the viewing platform, had a quick look, took some photos and dashed back to the warmth of the bus. Wow, what a thrill to see them in the distance even though the light was fading rapidly and I could barely see.

visit the needles on the isle of wight

The Needles above Alum Bay on the south-western tip of the Isle of Wight

An added bonus was being able to see the Marconi Monument. Located at The Needles, the monument marks the precise location where Guglielmo Marconi undertook his pioneering work at the end of the 19th Century.  This led to radio and all telecommunications as we know it today.

The Needles and the Marconi Monument, Isle of Wight

The Needles and the Marconi Monument, Isle of Wight

And then we were off and on the way back to Newport where once again and for the final time that day I had to change buses to get back to Ryde.

A magical day, albeit exhausting. I got to see 90% of what I had planned on seeing and even though it was a whistle-stop tour, it was fun. I was however really really glad to get back to the B&B and bed!

The following day; Saturday was my final morning on the Isle of Wight and I had planned a trip to see Osborne House; once the seaside home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

For more about my first day of adventure….

Day 3 – 1/2

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »