Monday, 23 January 2017

A frosty walk

We've experienced temperatures of -9 these past few nights but the days have been wonderfully clear with blue skies and no wind.

Our 'short' walk yesterday took us a bit further than planned ... we continued to the left as we reached the Flower Pot Hotel instead of the doing the circular walk back to the marina ...
... and ended up on the The Culden Faw Estate which incorporates Hambleden Village/Estate, Culham Estate and the Deer Park at Fawley.
Fantastic rolling countryside
Approaching Culham Court which has a rather distinguished and interesting background
Danesfield House Hotel in the far distance on the other side of the Thames
Oh how the other half live!
Culham Court has had some distinguished, interesting and notorious owners ... check out these links ...the Swiss Banker - really interesting reading, a billionaire who was not a good employer  and who demolished a house to build a chapel
I've often taken a picture from the river as we've cruised but never seen the river from this angle before
It's a chilly day!
You may just be able to see the white deer in the estates Deer Park.
It was here that we decided it was time to turn back, we'll check the map to see how far it is to walk another day all the way to Culham Lock along the Thames Path from the marina.
An hour after setting off we can see the Mill and marina in the distance.  A good walk.

PS: Just looked up the Flower Pot Hotel on Trip Advisor as we've often seen lots of walkers and families going in on a Sunday but most of the reviews are not good at all. We've often thought of paying a visit ourselves but have decided not to bother after reading them.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

In the Tower

Sunday in London was another mizzly-wet day as we walked the 20 minutes over Tower Bridge to the Tower of London
Click on any of the pictures to enlarge

First stop was The Crown Jewels, for us the best part of the site.  No photography allowed here so click on the link to see the most fabulous jewels and settings ever. Some were not currently on show as two maces were in use in Parliament and the House of Lords (Parliament cannot sit without the mace being present).   The crown jewels are 'the real thing' and are kept safe in the tower in a vault which has doors at least 12" thick.

First stop was the Fusiliers Museum

Wonderful sculpture made from weapons and armour

St Thomas's Tower built by Edward I between 1275-1279
Still raining!
The Tower's innermost wall with more modern buildings beyond!
Private residences built in the outer wall with Tower Bridge behind
Inspecting the guards at the White Tower
The Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula is a special and unique place of worship with an extraordinary history. It is the parish church of HM Tower of London and is apparently the most visited heritage site in the country.  The sculpture in front of the chapel is the Execution Monument.

There was so much more to see than I've described above, we didn't take any of the tours as it was so wet outside.  I'd like to go back in better weather (but not in the busy summer months) and join some of the tours especially the Crypt tour in the Chapel Royal.

Before we left we took another look at The Crown Jewels and they were still just as amazing!

To end our City weekend away on Sunday evening we took the underground to Leicester Square to an Angus Steakhouse where we thoroughly enjoyed an excellent meal.  

                           Home on Monday morning - always a good place to be.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

A walk along the Southbank ...

 The Navigators by David Kemp 1987
A River of bridges
Graffiti and busking in harmony
... crossing the Thames via the Millenium Bridge to St Paul's Cathedral where we spent a few hours before continuing our walk on the North Bank

I saw the galleon on top of this steeple from a distance so came to see if it was a sailor's church.  It's not actually but is named after a 4th century saint St Nicholas of Myra patron saint of fishermen amongst other groups.  
We walked around the outside and found an open door so had a quick peek inside ... what a beautiful setting for a wedding reception.
The main event for us was St Martin's Theatre for a performance of The Mousetrap.
We enjoyed the performance although we had no idea really what to expect.  How can a play run for 64 years and over 126,000 performances to full houses without the plot and outcome being a well known fact ... it's because the audiences are asked to keep the ending a secret! So don't ask and I'll tell you no lies!

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

A City Break

We treated ourselves this past weekend with a few days in London.

We took a bus to Marlow railway station and two trains (change at Maidenhead) to Paddington Station.  From there as we had small suitcases to carry we went by taxi through the city traffic which took nearly an hour to the Premier Inn at Tower Bridge ... at a cost of over £31!!! We decided then that we'd get Oyster Cards! When we returned to Paddington yesterday on the underground it cost us £4.80 and took just 15 minutes!

Taken on my phone from the taxi as we approached and crossed Tower Bridge ...
The hotel was just a few minutes further and we were soon in our room which was bigger that we thought it would be and had everything we'd asked for, the most important of which was a bath which we made very good use of!
 ... and had a good view of the city skyline.

Clothes and paraphernalia unpacked we soon set out on our first outing.  It's a 15 minute walk to the nearest tube (London Bridge) where we purchased the Oyster Cards and used the tube for the first time in many, many years (why pay when you have free bus travel?) so that we could get where we want to be so much quicker.

 St Martin in the Fields for candlelight Bach concert by the
... but first we needed nourishment and chose to eat in St Martin's Crypt where we didn't enjoy the worst fish and chips we'd ever tasted!  It's an atmospheric place and holds jazz evening on certain Wednesday throughout the month, something I would like to attend one day.

We had a little time to spare so had a walk round the gallery before making our way upstairs

We always try to visit here when in London it's such a welcoming place.  Some lunchtimes there are free concerts when you can come and go as you please to listen to some wonderful music at no cost (or a donation) or even pop in on a cold day for a warm and a sit down.
 We really enjoyed the music, lots of bass and lively too, the musicians enjoyed it as much as we did.

St Martins and Trafalgar Square as we set off back to the underground
 London Bridge underground station is alongside the Shard and is at it's most impressive in the dark!  

Yesterday (Monday) morning when we were leaving there was a really long queue of people waiting to ride up to the viewing platform which was at that time in the clouds so not good value for money at that time!