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!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Churchill's Funeral

Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the death of Sir Winston Churchill. It brings back particular memories for me as my brother was one of the sailors pulling the gun carriage which carried his coffin. I remember him telling me that they had been rehearsing for some time before his death and would march along the streets in the middle of the night. The day was a bitterly cold day and they were not allowed to wear their coats so they all wore pyjamas under their uniform. I don't have a photograph of him from that day but I photographed these ones from a display at Chartwell in Kent, Churchill's home.

It was a bitterly cold day when I visited Chartwell this week. The house wasn't open but the you could walk around the grounds.

The camellia was in full flower.

Friday, 23 January 2015


A new development (well new to me) in the West of the City of London. Mainly offices with the usual coffee bars and restaurants.

 I like the entrance which is the only distinguishing feature of yet another mainly glass building in the City of London.
Sharing with James at Weekend Reflections

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Electric Vehicles

Driving in Central London is very expensive as alongside the usual costs of running a car, you must also pay the Congestion charge. It costs £11.50 per day if you drive your car within the charging zone between 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday. There is no charge outside those times. The charge was brought in to try and reduce the amount of traffic on the roads which create CO2 emissions.  There are exemptions:
  • Two-wheeled motorbikes (and sidecars) and mopeds
  • Emergency service vehicles, such as ambulances and fire engines, which have a taxation class of 'ambulance' or 'fire engine' on the date of travel
  • NHS vehicles that are exempt from road tax
  • Vehicles used by disabled people that are exempt from road tax and have a 'disabled' taxation class 
  • Vehicles for more than one disabled person (for example Dial-a-Ride) that are exempt from road tax and have a 'disabled' taxation class
  • Licensed taxis
  •                              `                                                                              (Transport for London)

The other group of vehicles exempt from the charge are certain types of electric vehicles. The Government offers lots of financial incentives such as no road tax 
to try and encourage people to swap their petrol/diesel vehicles for an electric one. The biggest disadvantage as far as I can see is that they can only cover a fairly short distance before needing to be recharged. I spotted this recharging point in West London but I haven't noticed that many recharging points. Maybe I need to look more carefully. Does anyone out there own an electric vehicle?
I never drive into Central London as  public transport is good enough for all my needs.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

The fifteen billion pound railway

Crossrail is the  new high frequency and high capacity 73 mile railway, linking Reading and Heathrow in the West , to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the East. It is hoped that by carrying 1500 passengers in each train during the peak periods it will reduce crowding on the transport system. It is expected that 200 million passengers will travel on Crossrail each year.

Regional map
This is a map of the route with the pink section showing the new tunnels.

This shows the Central London section of the route.

It has 21 km of new tunnels going under Central London which should be finished by this Spring although it will take another 3 - 4  years before it is operational.  

These photos show the construction of the Canary Wharf Crossrail station in Docklands.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Reflections on the way to work

My voluntary role as a sighted guide takes me back to  the Billingsgate Fish Market Cookery School over the next few weeks. I was here in the Summer with another group of blind or partially sighted young adults and was delighted to have the opportunity to come along and help again with a new group. Yesterday I couldn't help but notice that my journey was just one reflection after another.

Sharing with James at Weekend Reflections

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

V and A cafe

I don't seem able to visit a Museum without going to the cafe for a welcome sit down and a cup of tea. Here at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the cafe is situated in the original Morris, Gamble and Poynter rooms. Henry Cole who designed the Museum wanted to use contemporary artists to design the refreshment rooms and chose the best with William Morris being one of the most famous designers of the Victorian period. The three interlinking rooms are striking in their design and certainly give you something to look at as you enjoy your food and drink.

 The Poynter Room was originally called the grill room as food was grilled in view of the guests in the space beneath the stained glass window.

(I wonder if these photos ring any bells with Stewart M from Paying Ready Attention as it was here that I met his wonderful family last Summer.)

Even the tiles in the toilet area are interesting.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Chihuly's chandelier

The wonderfully ornate entrance to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London,

 with the statues of Inspiration and Knowledge on either side.

Once inside you are greeted by this magnificent chandelier which many of you (especially if you have been to Seattle) will recognise as the work of Dale Chihuly.

 He has designed a series of chandeliers but this one was specifically designed for this entrance in 2001.  Made from blown glass and steel, it weighs 1724 kilos.

 I was careful not to stand beneath it!

Sharing with Our World Tuesday