Welcome to my blog

This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Reflections at Wakehurst Place

Wakehurst Place, East Sussex is the country estate of the Royal Botanic Gardens,Kew. It is a mixture of natural woodland, lakes and formal gardens.

 At the heart of the gardens is an Elizabethan house and the 21st century Millennium seed bank.

 In the Himalayan Glen the rhododendrons are in full flower.

Sharing with James at Weekend Reflections

Friday, 17 April 2015

Cathedral reflection

 Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City reflected in the glass panels outside the church.

Inside the Cathedral is a pendulum which records  how much the building is moving. Reduction of the water table,caused by the pumping of water for use by Mexico City's increasing population, means that the ground is continuously settling and causing the building to sink.


haring with James at Weekend Reflections

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

The Fourth Plinth

The latest installation on the 4th plinth in Trafalgar Square is Gift Horse by Hans Haacke. It is a bronze skeleton of a horse based on an etching by George Stubbs. Tied to its front leg is an electronic ribbon which displays live FTSE ticker from the London Stock Exchange.

 Over 150 years ago the fourth plinth was originally planned to display a statue of William IV on a horse. The statue was abandoned due to lack of funds. Haacke wanted to make the link between power, money and history with his sculpture.

If you want to see previous installations on the 4th plinth click here

Monday, 13 April 2015

St Mary Aldermanbury - from London to Missouri

I stumbled across this tiny green garden in the City of London a couple of weeks ago. It is close to the Guildhall but I had never noticed it before and only wandered in because I was curious as to why there was a memorial to Shakespeare.

But it is not Shakespeare that it commemorates but two men, John Heminge and Henry Condell. They  were fellow actors and friends of the Bard who lived in this parish and were buried here. Although I had never heard of them the world owes them much as  the two men  collected all of Shakespeare's plays after his death in 1616 and are credited with having them published.

An information board in the corner had more intriguing information about this tiny garden. It used to be the site of St Mary Aldermanbury, records of which date back to 1181. Destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666 it was rebuilt by Wren but damaged by bombing in WW2, it was decided not to rebuild it again. But the story doesn't end there as the ruins were shipped to Fulton, Missouri where the church was re-erected. More research was needed.

In 1961, the President of Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri discussed having a memorial to Sir Winston Churchill who had made a speech at the College in 1946 which became known as his 'Iron Curtain' speech. A Life magazine feature on war-ravaged Wren churches which were going to be demolished sparked the idea of importing the ruins of one of them to be rebuilt as a memorial and the college chapel.
St Mary Aldermanbury was chosen for its size but there was negative comments in the British press calling it ......'the last word in sentimental extravagance'. It took 4 years to get permission to remove the remains of the church and also to raise the $2 million ($10 million in today's money) necessary to ensure the completion of the project. Removal began in 1965 with 7000 stones being labelled and their position noted on a diagram of the original church. Any missing stones were replaced by stone quarried from the original Portland Quarry. Wren's original plans were used to reconstruct the building.
The foundation stone was laid in 1966. Three hundred years after the Great Fire of London and the year following Churchill's death. The last stone was put in place in May 1967 but it took another two years for English woodcarvers to recreate the pulpit, balcony and baptismal font using pre-war photographs. An American firm manufactured the glass for the windows and a Dutch company cast five new bronze bells for the Tower.
The fire warden who watched the church burn in 1940 built the organ and helped with the authenticity of the interior and finally in May 1969 the dedication of the memorial took place.

"I am honoured... The removal of a ruined Christopher Wren Church, largely destroyed by enemy action in London in 1941 (sic), and its reconstruction and re-dedication at Fulton, is an imaginative concept..."
-Winston S Churchill

Back in London the church and churchyard site was acquired by the City of London in 1970 and laid out as a garden. The College of Westminster, Fulton had a plaque laid in the garden

Sharing with  Our World Tuesday

Friday, 10 April 2015

Walking to London

My second walk over the Easter weekend was an urban walk to Tower Bridge London. I began by walking the three miles to Greenwich Park from home. Too boring to record but once in the park there was plenty to admire.

The Greenwich Observatory
The Pavilion cafe

Greenwich High Street, not much traffic as it is still early.

There is such a wide range of food from around the world here in Greenwich.

Don't know the breed but these magnificent dogs attracted a lot of attention.

The Cutty Sark

Entrance to the Greenwich foot tunnel beneath the Thames

You can see a similar building on the opposite side of the river which is the pedestrian tunnel exit.

 Walking through the Greenwich foot tunnel.
Looking back towards Greenwich.

Walking along the Thames path on the North side of the river

A memorial to the 6 members of the London Fire Brigade who lost their lives in an explosion on this site in July 1969 when it was Dudgeons Wharf.
 The Isle of Dogs Pumping Station. Designed by John Outram, this building houses pumping equipment that returns surface water to the river Thames. Rather than design a boring brick building he created this classical design with lots of symbolism called the 'Temple of Storms'.

I am now on the Isle of Dogs which was home to the docks but as has happened in many cities it is now an upmarket residential  and financial area of London

 Canary Wharf

 The new terminal for Crossrail.

A converted 19th cent warehouse.

Can now see the tall buildings of the City of London in the distance.

This is a ventilation shaft for the Rotherhithe tunnel crossing the river at this point. The tunnel now carries vehicles but was originally built for horsedrawn carriages.

More converted warehouses.

Finally Tower Bridge comes into view.
St Catherine's Dock

After a ten mile walk it was homeward bound on the driverless Docklands Light Railway

Sharing with James at Weekend Reflections