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Archive for the ‘things to do in London’ Category

My journey started today at precisely 13:33 when I left the house in Oxted with Pepe (my backpack) settled firmly on my shoulders. I made my way to the station and boarded a 7000 horse-powered beast heading for London.

Arriving at London Bridge within 33 minutes I set off on shanks pony to visit Southwark Cathedral where I would collect my Pilgrim’s Passport

 and view the Chaucer window.

 I obtained my 1st pilgrim’s stamp 😀 and bought a small booklet featuring Chaucer’s story; The Wife of Bath 😉 who was one of the pilgrims featured in The Canterbury Tales. While I was walking around inside the cathedral a young lady wished me Buen Camino which made me cry. I was already feeling so emotional and overwhelmed at the journey ahead, so her greeting just tipped the balance. She had seen the scallop shell secured to Pepe. 😊😊 I was delighted.

 On the way I walked through Borough Market

and passed The Sentinel

before stopping to look at London Bridge and the Thames; “There are two things scarce matched in the Universe The Sun in Heaven and The Thames on Earth“.

Then once again using shanks pony I walked along the banks of the River Thames to my weekend lodging stopping briefly to see a favourite sculpture; The Navigators – seemed apt since I’ll be navigating my route to Canterbury.

After a few hours of sleep

 I walked back along the river upstream to Bermondsey beach to watch the sunset.

Then heading back downstream to Thameside, the intention was to have supper at The Mayflower Pub but it was so full and too noisy,

 so instead I returned to the hostel for tea and hot-cross buns, along the way passing another of my favourite London sculptures; The Sunbeam Weekly and the Pilgrim’s Pocket.

In all a brilliant start to my #Southwark to Canterbury walk #inthefootstepsofChaucer

Distance walked 8.70 kms / 5.44 miles. 16,823 steps. Temperature: wayyy too hot!!!  🌞🌞🌞🌡 

In case you were wondering, I’ve named my backpack Pepe in honour of my Mom. When I was a wee girl my Mother took me to see a film after my Grandmother’s funeral. In the film was a donkey called Pepe. Since I feel a bit like a donkey with my 7+kg load on my back and I’ll be using ‘shanks pony’ for 60+ miles, I thought the backpack deserved something more dignified than just being referred to as ‘the backpack’ 😉 Yes I know…too much time to think 🤣🤣🤣

Southwark Cathedral, the oldest Gothic Church in London is absolutely fascinating. There’s been a place of worship on this site since AD606 when it was a convent. A fantastic place to start my journey.

Famous people asdociated with the cathedral include: Chaucer, his friend John Gower, Shakespeare, Fletcher and Dickens amongst others.

Gower’s memorial; John Gower, Poet Laureate to Richard II and Henry IV.

William Shakespeare memorial.

Some of the memorials are very colourful and the stained glass windows are amazing. Definitely worth a visit.

I’ll be posting photos of my journey on instagram @notjustagranny 

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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.

 

 

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Whilst working for the client in Shepperton the family took her out for lunch on the Sunday so I had an extra hour for my break.

One of my policies when working in a new area is to not only explore the area I’m in, but where possible to explore further afield….so with this in mind I hopped onto the train and went to explore Hampton.

things to see in Hampton

things to see in Hampton

I was expecting to find some interesting ‘things to see’ and although the older buildings are really attractive, it’s mostly suburbia and a HUGE reservoir/water works dominates the scene. Makes sense since the River Thames is nearby, but it didn’t add to the atmosphere!!

I had checked google maps before setting out and the Thames looked quite close to the station…..it wasn’t!! LOL So near yet so far, the river was mostly hidden behind the reservoir. After 30 minutes of walking I finally reached a stretch of the river I could actually access.

sailing at Hampton

sailing at Hampton

I love the river and any opportunity to explore different sections is welcomed, and so I did. I came across Garrick’s Temple to Shakespeare and suddenly I realised that in fact I had walked this stretch a number of times in the past (when we lived in Twickenham).

Garrick's Temple to Shakespeare in Hampton

Garrick’s Temple to Shakespeare in Hampton

By now my time was running out and as the trains only run once an hour to Shepperton I decided to rest there a while and phoned my sister (in South Africa) for her birthday. 🙂        15 years ago at much the same time I was saying happy birthday to her in person in Dublin

rowing on the River Thames at Hampton

rowing on the River Thames at Hampton

I had a lovely view of the river and managed to capture a few scenes of people going by on skiffs and canal boats.

a canal boat goes by along the River Thames

a canal boat goes by along the River Thames

I also noticed what looked like a little cruiser type boat on the opposite bank that looked like it had sunk….

river thames hampton

my ship has sunk in Hampton

Then it was back to the station. On my way, and noticed a row of three houses on the High Street named: River View Cottages….uhm, yes well…..at the time they were built they probably had a view of the river, but that is no longer the case. If they stood on stilts and stretched their necks while standing on on the roof they might still have a glimpse ‘view’ of the river.

So Hampton was a bit of a disappointment, but at least I’ve been there and done that…no need to return. Sorry Hampton. Although I haven’t anything more to add…this history board could add a little interest. The dates of these places always fascinates me.

Hampton Ferry & Molesey Hurst

Hampton Ferry & Molesey Hurst

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I love London, of that there is no doubt….I can seriously just spend each day, the whole day, just wandering around looking at everything, taking photos and sharing them on social media and just enjoying the buzz of the city.

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one of my favourite views

The reason I went to London was for a Press Preview at Kensington Palace to preview the Fashion Rules exhibition…..’Fashion Rules Restyled’ for 3daysinlondon.info. I’ve seen the exhibition in it’s previous life and loved the dresses and the story behind each one. When I first heard of Fashion Rules, I thought it meant…yeah baby, fashion rules yeah…it rocks!!! But no, it was about the rules governing the design and the making of dresses worn by The Queen and other members of the Royal Family; Princess Margaret in her day and Princess Diana.20160209_112401 - london20160209_112348 - london20160209_112333 - london The focus of the exhibition has been these 3 ladies and some of their significant dresses; dresses that were seen at major functions, for state occasions, glittering balls, overseas visits and so on. Every dress had to be carefully considered, made to measure and to suit the event, as well as keeping up with ‘fashion’ trends.

I really enjoyed the new format, in the previous exhibition each cabinet focussed on one of the 3 women and the dresses they wore and the rules that governed the making of it. In the new format, the dresses have been grouped into particular compositions and focus rather on the reason behind the making of the dress rather than the women who wore them.

The dresses are gorgeous. Diana’s dresses in particular were stunning especially once she gained more confidence and maturity…she really had a most amazing eye for style.

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Diana, effortlessly cool and stylish…forever beautiful

The Queen’s dresses are outstanding, although she went through a very mumsy style at one stage, when she was a younger woman…omg, she was beautiful, and could easily have graced the covers of Vogue just for her looks….never mind her status.

After the preview I had a hot drink (chocolate) and a slice of carrot cake, very kindly provided by HRP. I was well impressed that the HRP are using wooden forks and not plastic….not a comfortable feel in the mouth, it’s quite rough, but a worthy sacrifice to avoid adding more plastic to the environment. I popped past the Round Pond at the front of the palace and then headed over to More London Riverside to watch the Flipping Marvellous Pancake Races. Oh my gosh, what fun – crazy people. There was a huge group of school kids roped in to watch and cheer loudly and did they cheer loudly LOL. You could hear them well before reaching the races.

By then; 13:00 the day was beautiful, the grey overcast skies from the morning had been dispelled and we were treated to that colour blue only found in the northern hemisphere…perfect for photos 😉

Once I had my fill of the pancake races I walked along the embankment to London Bridge, popped past the Glaziers Hall and then onto the Guildhall Library to see the latest exhibition; The Worshipful Company of Glaziers. I love these little exhibitions, they are so interesting and give a glimpse into a world we don’t normally have access to. The history of the ancient livery companies is fascinating and some of them have roots that go back centuries, never mind decades.

I was in luck…there was a talk about the history of London’s cemeteries of London at the library – I managed to get a seat. So very interesting. It’s astounding how long it took for the powers that be to realise they really couldn’t have dead and rotting corpses stacked in piles beneath the church floors. Urgh, the smell must have been awful.

After the talk I walked past St Paul’s Cathedral and took the #15 bus to Trafalgar Square from whence I walked to St James’s Park on my way to The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace to see their latest exhibition; ‘Masters of the Everyday – Dutch artists in the age of Vermeer’. My gosh those chaps could paint. Sometimes you think you’re looking at a photograph the detail is so fine. Exhibition ends 14 February 2016.

St James’s Park is looking splendid in the spring sunshine with hosts of golden daffodils. My favourite place for daffodils each spring is without doubt Kew Gardens, but since I haven’t been able to get there this year, what a treat it was to see swathes of daffodils as far as the eye could see. It was such a lovely afternoon and the sun was sinking towards the horizon and the rays of sun lit up the pretty little flowers making them shine like a blanket of gold.20160209_155608 - london
20160209_165649 - london

After viewing the exhibition I walked to Victoria Station and past one of my favourite churches; Westminster Cathedral. This is such a gorgeous building and the mosaics decorating the interior are breath-taking.

On my way to the station I picked up an Evening Standard; the headlines took my breath away: Fireball horror at the palace. Seems some chap had set fire to himself at 3am in the morning near to the Orangery at the palace. How terribly sad, what an awful way to die. I always feel so sad when I hear about things like that, to think how mentally tormented they must have been at that time, to end their life especially in such a horrific way. May he now RIP, poor man.

So there it is, my day trip to London. What a terrific city. If you ever hear of a job that requires someone to walk about all day taking photos and sharing them on social media etc, please let me know 😉

Cheers folks, hope you enjoy the video

and the sneak peek at the Fashion Rules exhibition and the daffodils. The Pancake race was noisy, crazy and fun. Here’s to 2017 when I’m planning on watching the races at Borough Market. Within the next 4 years I will have attended all the pancake race venues in London.

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one of my favourite views

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me and the green man

me and the Green Man

yes! You read that right…..I went Wassailing down the Thames on a Sunday afternoon!!  The Twelfth Night of Christmas festivities are held annually on the 6th January, and this year (also the first year) I got to hear about it!
So yesterday (January 6th) was one of the highlights of my London life to date!!  I have lived in this city for 11 years now and it was only 2 weeks ago that I learned about the custom of wassailing.  I received an email from a friend of mine inviting me to join him and his crew on the Trinity Tide as they carried the Holly (Green) Man from St Katherine’s Pier along the Thames to Bankside.    I joined the cutter and crew at the pier at 1.45pm and my excitement knew no bounds; to be a passenger on the Trinity Tide had been a dream of mine since November 2010 when I first saw it in the Lord Mayor’s Show 🙂

the trinity tide

the beautiful Trinity Tide

My daughter who was to be the official photographer and I set off really early and made our way to Tower Hill…thankfully the trains were running just fine and we made it in good time 🙂    We stopped off at Costa Coffee for a last-minute order (by text…gotta love social mobility) of 5 hot coffees; white please!! 🙂     I was guessing the crew were in need of urgent refreshment after rowing on what was a cold and grey day, from Deptford to Tower Bridge.   Then down to the pier it was…I was still stressing big time about ‘am I in the right place?’ & ‘where were we landing?’ and sent a panic stricken text to Joe to make sure I had the right place. Daft!!!

twelfth night festivities

me on my phone 🙂

When we arrived at the pier, there was no Green Man to be seen; my nerves were skittering about and almost overwhelmed my excitement.  Then suddenly I saw the Trinity Tide as she rounded the bend

twelfth night festivities the trinity tide

the Trinity Tide arrives in good time

and a few seconds later I saw the Green Man making his way down the walkway to the pontoon!! Hooray!! I was in the right place at the right time! This does not happen often 🙂  The Green Man looked absolutely splendid decked out in his greenery and the face painting was extraordinary!   The Holly Man ‘brings in the green’ and ‘wassails’ or toasts the people, the River Thames and the Globe – an old tradition encouraging good growth.

the green man arrives

the extraordinary Holly (Green) Man arrives

The cutter pulled up alongside the pontoon and quick as a flash before anyone could change their minds I was on and seated.  Try to pry me off now and see how far you get!!! 🙂

the trinity tide and the twelfth night festivities

safely ensconced and looking as pleased as punch

Within a very short space of time we were off…..the piper in the bow,

the piper in the bow of the trinity tide

settled in for the trip; the piper in the bow of the Trinity Tide

the oarsman ready to row, the jolly green man standing as we go, one of the Mummers to wave and say hello; wassail the boats, then me in the VIP seat ( 🙂 ) and Joe standing at the stern to guide us safely along the river with nautical expressions like: easy as you go, or keep it even lads and even the odd ‘heave’.

trinity tide sailing under tower bridge

looking ever so tiny against the huge structure of Tower Bridge, the Trinity Tide is on her way

Ohmygosh…what fun!!! I was truly in my element, grinning from ear-to-ear like a cheshire cat.  I could scarcely believe my luck.
What an experience…..I can recommend it to anyone….although I am not sure that you would be able to go in the Trinity Tide, but you can sure take a ferry along the river.  The views of the city are marvellous and although the tide was out and the water so low I could probably have walked along the river (kidding!), it was just amazing to sail beneath the bridges and see the buildings along the embankments from that perspective.

london bridge

the underbelly of London Bridge, thankfully not falling down that day.

The Cap’n and his crew hailed and cheered the Green Man and the Trinity Tide and even 3 Days in London got 3 cheers….what fun!!
We made exceptionally good time, those blokes sure know how to row….and before we knew it, and way too soon for me, we arrived at Bankside.

green man welcoming party at bankside

the Green man arrives at Bankside…let the festivities begin!!!

And an extra bonus….because we were so early we (the rowers not me!!) rowed almost to Waterloo Bridge and then back down again, all the while the Mummer and Green Man wassailing along the Thames.
We landed safely on the beach (Churchill would have been proud), where we were met by a group of Mummers and others.

twelfth night festivities mummers at bankside

The Mummers waiting to greet the Green Man

Quick as a flash the Green Man was gone and I didn’t even have time to say goodbye 🙂  I climbed out the boat with huge reluctance!  The embankment was lined with revellers and spectators there to see the arrival of the Green Man from the Thames, watch the Mummers and join in with the celebrations and Twelfth Night festivities.
Their costumes were just brilliant and the characters enchanting!  I said goodbye to the Trinity Tide and crew and all too soon they made their way back along the Thames to Deptford.

the trinity tide leaves for her return voyage to deptford

goodbye Trinity Tide; bon voyage and thank you

The play was in full swing by the time I found myself a good vantage point and although I could not see very well or hear much of what was going on, the bits that I did get to see and hear were uproariously funny.  At the end of the play, cakes are distributed – a bean and a pea hidden in two of them. Those who find them are hailed King and Queen for the day and crowned with ceremony.  The little cakes were duly handed out and King Bean and Queen Pea were identified, they were crowned and the whole jolly group set off with revellers and spectators trailing behind to the George Inn for the next bit of the tradition.  I ran like mad through the back streets (it’s really useful knowing my way around!) to get to the George Inn before the crowd as I really wanted to record them arriving….which they did with great noise, pomp and ceremony!! What a brilliant experience.

mummers at the george inn southwark

the Holly (Green) Man arrives at the George Inn, Southwark amidst much noise and ceremony

I can highly recommend that you put the 6 January 2015 into your diary and head on over to Bankside for next year’s festivities.  Snippets of information in this blog are from this site; do visit it, it’s brilliant.

If you would like to join me on twitter  where I post information about London I would be delighted.  I am also on facebook and if you have any photos you would like to share of your London experiences, why not join the growing community of people who love London.  Thanks for dropping by and reading this blog, I also blog about London at 3 days in London.  So if you are in London for 3 days….or perhaps more, do feel free to visit the website for some ideas on places to visit and things to do and I wish you a wonderful stay.

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london 2012, olympic games london,

London 2012

#London2012 and I am here!!! Thrilled to be part of what is the cremé de la cremé of sporting events, one of the most amazing events in sports.  I am living a part of history that for some folks (me included) is a once in a lifetime opportunity.  We live history every single day, some impacts on us and much doesn’t….depending on where it happens and what happens and whether or not we are involved in some way.

My personal history was written the day the company I was working for back in South Africa went into liquidation…little did I know just how much that was going to change my life; the radical shift that was pending…and I didn’t even know.   My only concern on the day was…”let me into the building I have work to do…don’t have time for this BS!!” (they did and I got on with my job 🙂 ), my next concern was whether or not I would get another job….those were the days of the new South Africa where to be Old/er, White, Man/Woman was not conducive to getting a job and then the worry about the mortgage popped into my head.

Then I had a stroke of genius….I would visit my sister in Ireland 🙂   What a great idea…. I didn’t have to ask for leave..I would be free to go on holiday for as long as I liked!    So I booked my ticket and the rest is ‘history!’…..and here I am living in what is the greatest city in the world and just about to be part of one of the most momentous events of this year…and we have had quite a few!  I bought/ordered tickets for my daughter and myself and thankfully we were awarded tickets for 2 events; one at the Olympic Stadium and one at Excel.

london 2012, olympic games london, oliver golding

Oliver Golding, just before they lit the flame for his section of the relay…up close and personal

The buildup was initially slow, but over the last few months the excitement has mounted and when the Olympic Flame landed in the UK on 28th May, we really got into the swing of things as it travelled around the country, drawing ever greater crowds to watch it go by!   And yesterday it travelled through my home town!!! Hooray.

I was so excited the night before that I hardly slept!!!  I went to bed at about 1.30am; the adrenaline  racing through my body & my mind popping about all over the place.  I finally fell asleep only to wake at 5am. Unable to go back to sleep, I got up, had a cup of tea and a biscuit then dressed and ready to go by 6:48.  I kissed my daughter goodbye.   She is usually out the door well before me (I don’t do mornings) and by 7:12am I was at Kew Gardens….no-one else was there.  I thought for sure I had the wrong place.  I quickly got onto twitter (via my brand new wonderful little mobile computer (aka a phone) and saw tweets about the traffic being interrupted and that they would be handing out maps and info at Kew Station…so I whizzed over got myself a much need cup of coffee and waited.  They got there at just on 8am and map in hand I strode back up the road to the gates…..the Marshalls had just arrived and were amazed to see someone already there. LOL I was in the right place, at the right time…okay, well still a tad too early!

london 2012, olympic games london, kew gardens, olympic torch relay

Kew Gardens gates…..open at 9.30am 🙂

Then while I sat and waited an old gent joined me on the bench and we chatted awhile.  I was too excited to sit still for long so made my excuses and off I went to hang around in front of the gates in the hope they may opened them sooner….they didn’t!

Finally they opened the gates……..and I was in.  By then the crowd has grown as more and more folks arrived. My friend Peter joined me and we set off, taking photos along the way to find a good spot.

london 2012, olympic games london, kew gardens, olympic torch relay, anjula wilson

Anjula Wilson – at Kew Gardens after her stint carrying the Olympic Torch in the relay

Yesterday was seriously awesome…to see the Olympic Torch from such close proximity. No barriers, no policing, just UK citizens and visitors enjoying what is a momentous occasion. To see a flame that has travelled not only across our country but from another land, with a history that goes back aeons…this is a must see. Personally, despite all the hiccups, all the negativity and all the problems we have had…I think we should be proud to hosting this amazing event. #London2012 I am so grateful that I am here to experience it.

One of the advantages of being up that early was that I got to see the river with the morning sunrise.  I have photgrpahed this particular scene hundreds of times, but this was the first time so early in the morning…..I guess I am going to ‘have to do mornings’ 🙂

london 2012, olympic games london, kew gardens, olympic torch relay, twickenham bridge

early morning at Twickenham Bridge

After the Torch had left, we meandered about exploring the gardens and having a look at the new David Nash exhibition and walking around the Treetop Walkway which is seriously cool. After an hour or so we headed over to Twickenham for tea and cupcakes, then strolled along the Thames pathway to Richmond and finally to the station at 5.45pm. What a brilliant day.

I have posted some photos of the Olympic torch and Kew Gardens on my facebook page.

 

Just found this new post with a brilliant photo of the Olympic Rings at Kew Gardens

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charles dickens, charles dickens museum, pickwick papers, the centre page pub st pauls, historical pubs of london, recommended pubs in london, where to eat in london

Charles Dickens lived here 1837-1839 - now the Dickens Museum

Last week Thursday; April 26th, I set off on a magical #walkabout through the streets of London to discover more about Charles Dickens (blog to follow shortly 🙂 ).  We started off from the Charles Dickens Museum and the route we followed took us through some amazing areas, areas full of history where we crossed paths with the ghosts of London.  After about 5.5 hours of walking (we took a lot of diversions and stopped at loads of places), my companion and I were famished, and since this was a Dickens walk we were doing, we decided to stop off at one of my favourite pubs in the City of London; especially as the tour ended nearby and the pub was mentioned in The Pickwick Papers: When Mr. Pickwick was visited in Fleet prison by his friends Winkle, Snodgrass and Tupman, they ordered “a bottle or two of very good wine, for which a messenger was dispatched to the Horn Coffee House “

charles dickens, the centre page, historical pubs in london

The Centre Page

Every time I visit St Paul’s Cathedral or go #walkabout in that area I always stop off at The Centre Page Pub for hot chips which I usually have as a take-away and then sit on the steps and enjoy the sunshine and hustle and bustle of folks walking by while I eat my treat.  Yesterday I decided to have the ‘Charles Dickens Posh Pie and Mash’ specifically the Steak Ale and horseradish, and we requested to eat in the Dickens Room downstairs. 🙂

charles dickens, the centre page, historical pubs in london

Charles Dickens Posh Pie & Buttery Mash - steak ale and horseradish

The last time we ate there I had the fish & chips which were just delicious and this meal was even better.  I do not normally eat beef, but I have to say that the meat was tender and juicy and just yummy.  So if your’e in the area and need something quality to eat in a historical setting, I can highly recommend this delightful pub; The Centre Page, 29-33 Knightrider Street,  just down the way from St Paul’s as if heading towards the Millenium Bridge and Tate Modern. Every photo in the slideshow has a link with Charles Dickens.

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History Note: The Centre Page began life as The Horn Tavern founded in 1660 after the restoration of King Charles II. The origins of the name may have come from the King’s celebrations or as there were several coaching inns around St Paul’s the sound of the coaching horn may also have given inspiration.

Nearest tube: St Paul’s on the Central line

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