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, 21 August 2014

Weekend Reflection at the Olympic Park

Spiegelei Junior by Jem Finer.

This art installation can be found in the Queen Elizabeth Park, commonly known as the Olympic park. On the outside this sculpture inverts and reflects the surrounding park. If you go underneath the sculpture you can put your head inside and the camera obscura gives you a 360deg view of the upside down park.

Sharing with James at Weekend Reflection

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Imperial War Museum North

This is the Imperial War Museum North. It was built in 2002 by the side of the Manchester Ship Canal. It is the newest of the 5 IWM and the first outside the SE of England. The others are:
IWM London
HMS Belfast London
Churchill War Rooms
IWM Duxford Cambridgeshire.

It was designed by Daniel Libeskind and is based on a world shattered by the conflict of war. The globe has been broken into three main shards to be reconstructed as a museum. The three shards representing conflict on land, sea and air.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Weekend reflections in Docklands

I stumbled across this area of Docklands on my way to Billingsgate Fish market. This is the old Poplar Dock (I think). In the 1970s I used to work in Poplar when it still had the old docks and as I walked around I just could not believe the transformation with its huge office blocks and hotel. It even had tourists wandering around. Regeneration had to happen in this part of London. The docks were no longer needed and there were no jobs. Everywhere was looking run down. So I am pleased that so much money has gone into the area but the jobs that have been created are very different from the ones that existed here before but times have changed and the world doesn't stand still.

The cobbled street and old brick wall - reminders of the past.
 Sharing with James at     Weekend Reflections

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Stop or go?

This Traffic Light tree contains 75 sets of traffic lights. It was created by the French sculptor Pierre Vivant who described it as 'imitating the natural landscape of the adjacent London Plane trees, while the changing pattern of the lights reveals and reflects the never ending rhythm of the surrounding domestic, financial and commercial activities'

It was originally installed in 1998 at the Westferry roundabout near Canary wharf, a large financial district in London's docklands. It was removed in 2011 so that work could be carried out to reconfigure the traffic flow. As a consequence it could  not be returned to its original setting  but after a couple of years in storage it has found a new home on the Trafalgar Way roundabout near Billingsgate fish market. As you can see work is still going on to its setting but it is good to see the lights on again.

When it was first erected,  motorists were confused by the numerous light changes but it soon became a favourite amongst the locals and visitors to the area.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

London Docklands Museum #12

Inside the London Docklands Museum I was captivated by this model of London Bridge. This first bridge over the River Thames was begun in 1176 and had numerous houses built along its whole length.

In the centre was a  Chapel dedicated to St Thomas a Beckett who was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170. This picture shows what the chapel would have looked like around 1397 when it was rebuilt. Many pilgrims would stop to worship here on their way to Canterbury.

There was a drawbridge to allow large vessels to travel  upstream

Also in the Museum was a reconstruction of the areas around the river with its dark,narrow passageways and shops like the Ship Chandlers.

The shipyards and factories all had their own blacksmiths' shops.

I hadn't realised how much opposition there was to the regeneration of the docklands. The idea in 1985 to change the docklands into a new financial area sent shock waves through the community. A Funeral march took place  with a symbolic coffin carried through the streets and posters proclaiming the 'Death of a community'.

Sharing with Our World Tuesday

Friday, 8 August 2014

West India Docks

West India Docks North Quay. This was London's first cargo handling dock. It was opened in August 1802 and was the largest of its kind in the world at that time. During the 1700s the Merchant ships would be moored along the river Thames. With 13,500 ships arriving each year there was a demand that something be done to prevent the blocking of the river with all the ships.  The cargo from these ships would be ferried to the shore by  smaller boats called 'lighters'. As a consequence there were many opportunities for the cargo to be stolen.

In response to the anger of the owners of the cargo, a secure dock was built allowing the cargo to be unloaded within 4 days rather than the 4 weeks. Alongside the dock they built 9 secure warehouses to store the cargo. Today there remains just one which now houses restaurants and the London Docklands Museum.

Sharing with James at Weekend Reflections