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!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Twinings Tea Museum

There has been a Twinings tea shop  on The Strand since 1706 when Thomas Twining bought Tom's coffee shop. At that time  London was full of coffee shops as they were the meeting places for business transactions. There was a lot of competition between the coffee houses but Tom's was different as it also sold tea.
Tea was an expensive commodity as it was highly taxed but it became very fashionable during the 18th Cent among the upper classes.

The shop is very narrow with shelves on either side displaying all the different teas. Above the shelves are portraits of the Twinings family who have been involved in the business since 1706.
Towards the back of the shop is a loose tea bar with a sampling counter where you can try one or two of the numerous varieties available. The assistant was very knowledgeable, not just about the tea, but also about the history of the building. The building had to be rebuilt after the war but they kept the same design.

At the back is a small museum displaying tea pots and caddies as well as information about the Twining family. Although Twinings  is now owned by an American company there is still a descendant from Thomas Twining on the board of directors.
 The word caddy comes from the Malay 'kati' which was a measure of weight. As the tea was so expensive it was kept in a locked box.

 Lots of people think the bowl in the centre of the caddy was for sugar but apparently it was for the lady of the house to mix and blend her own tea.

This plaque can be found at the back of the building.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Lincoln's Inn Fields

A very rainy day meant there was no point in my travelling out to Essex walking around my next Underground station (info here ) so I decided to stay in London and go to a museum instead. I am in Lincoln's Inn Fields, the largest public square in London.

Laid out in the 1630s, the centre of the square is a large park where I used to play netball many, many years ago. I came here today to visit Sir John Soane's Museum. He was an architect who is probably most remembered for designing the Bank of England.

 He bought 3 houses and rebuilt them from the inside out. The centre one is the light coloured stone  one above. The inside of the museum has been left just as he wanted it to be, crammed with paintings, sculptures and antiquities. Many of his architectural drawings as well as models are also displayed. Only 70 people are allowed in at any one time so there are usually queues outside. No photography is allowed so I can't show you anything. It is free entry and is definitely worth a visit.

One side of the square is Lincoln's Inn separated from the square by a brick wall. Lincoln's Inn is one of the four inns that make up the inns of court.to which barristers of England and Wales belong. It is such a pity the weather was so grey and wet making the buildings look dull.

Inside Lincoln's Inn. It was now pouring  with rain but I couldn't leave without taking  a few photos as quickly as I could of these 16th and 17th cent buildings.





The chapel was open so in I went to escape the rain and have a look around.  The first chapel was built here in 1428. This chapel was built between 1620 and 1623 but there have been numerous renovations over the years.

I loved the stained glass window with the numerous heraldic shields.

Beneath the chapel is this wonderful 15th cent vaulted undercroft.



With no let up in the weather it was time to go home. Of course one advantage of the rain was the abundance of reflections to share with James at Weekend Reflections

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Museum of Brands

The Museum began life in Gloucester in 1984 and moved to London in 2005. It was the brainchild of Robert Opie who started collecting packaging before it disappeared forever. He wanted to follow the history of consumerism from Victorian times to see how it has evolved.  He started his collection 50 years ago and by 1975 he had enough material to hold an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum called The Pack Age and from there opened the Museum in Gloucester.

The Museum has recently moved to this building near Ladbroke Grove and when I visited  last week they had only  half the exhibits in place but will be up to speed by Spring 2016.
Arranged in decades the brands and packaging go back to the 1800s.

 For me it was like a walk down Memory Lane (well the last few decades were!).
 I remember the Roberts radio as I was given one when I went to College.
 Looking at the packaging it is interesting to note the number of brands that have not changed greatly over the years

 In the early 1900s many brand names ended with 'O'. I wonder why?

Monday, 16 November 2015

Wooden Underground station

Being interested in everything to do with the Underground, I couldn't resist visiting this wooden life-size station on display inside the former campus of the art school Central St Martins.

It was created by the sculptor and illustrator Camilla Barnard who recreates everyday objects in wood. " I want to try to replicate as many things as I can, so a Tube Station is quite a big iconic one to tick off the list" Barnard told  Dezeen   at the opening of the installation. Using hand painted sheets of timber, it took 3 months to construct in her studio in East London.

 All the signs and the replica newspapers are handpainted.

 The station is positioned alongside a transport for London themed cafe at Designjunction and is part of an 18 month programme of events and exhibitions celebrating 150 years of the London Underground.

Sharing with Our World Tuesday