Archive | July, 2018
30 July 2018

Hello Earth

If anyone out there is trying to contact us, via the blog may be the only way for the time being.

We can’t email out and the quality of wi-fi on our first night in Italy is …. well, not good but the blog seems to be working.

28 July 2018

Newcastle

Oh Yeah?

The eastern end of Hadrians wall is what it is – seg-e-doonam. Right in Newcastle and ending on the river Tyne. A major Roman fort way back when, the remains of which were only unearthed a few years ago. It is amazing as the site has been built on at least three times with newer homes, factories or wharf buildings over some 1600 years, all of which were demolished in time to make way for the each of the next developments until this permanent disclosure was made…

All you can see is the outline of the various buildings but the information centre under the viewing tower gives you a full tundown of the history of the site. There is still a part of the wall visible to the top right of the floor plan but it is actually outside the preserved site. It is altogether an amazing story.

Coming out of Newcastle travelling south we were confronted by this monster – an 800,000 pound ‘Angel’.Read the blurb. I really don’t know why we do these things.

As we travel down south the sign to Durham takes our fancy. Lets have a look. After queueing for 1/2 an hour we park to the sound of a brass band playing in a square below the car park….

and they were very entertaining if a little repetitive. Moving on up hill towards the Cathedral that we’ve come here to see we experience yet anther brass band who also ended up being extremely entertaining…

to discover that the city has a “Totally Brass” festival happening. Extracted ourselves from all of this entertainment to go further uphill towards the Cathedral and Castle to discover that we were too late to take a castle tour (booked out and the only way you can get into this castle) and that being Sunday there was a service being conducted in the cathedral and tourists were not welcome. However we did manage a guided walking tour of much of the old walled city…

through which we got a complete story of the history of Durham and the cathedral and castle. Engrossing.

Our night stop was near York in a little village to find the above as our hotel for the night. A very pleasant surprise.

On the drive into York proper thenext morning we espied a sign to “Ancient Church”. Interest piqued we offed and sought.

Very austere outside astounding on the inside and over 1000 years old.

York too is an old walled city, much of the wall still existant…

plus it has a massive cathedral and Cliffords tower…

this being an early fortification of the city, before the walls were built. We did not get to the cathedral being a little slow and somewhat cathedralled out but we took a bus tour as we now have managed to do in most places.

A very interesting city in which we’d like to spend more time.

 

25 July 2018

I Dunno

I think we are near Melrose in the area of the Scottish Borders but I don’t know the name of the place. The hotel is “The Border Hotel”. Now, it appears that the Scottish Border is something of a moving experience, hence the “Scottish Borders“! We presume that it is nailed down now but historically it has been fought over. We’ve overnighted in a quaint little pub which I don’t remember the name of or where it is but it was OK. The main reason I don’t remember is that we spent hours chasing a laundromat and we’ve been to Melrose, Selkirk, some where else, some where else and finally Galashiels to find some wash tubs in a car park behind a service station.And this on the advice of two local constables who got it wrong anyway.

But, before I go on – Belated “Happy Birthday” to John Fowler, early “Happy Birthday” to Rob Dey, and very early “Happy Birthday” to our beloved daughter Calinda. We’ve been having trouble sending emails – for some reason they don’t like travelling over water and as I’m sure you’re well aware theres lots of that betwen here and there, but for some reason our blog continues to keep you up to date despite the water.

There is altogether too much to see and spend time on in the Scottish Border region. One could probably spend weeks here exploring ancient history but we’ve now got limited time, made worse by actually seeing things. We stumbled upon Mallestein House…

circa 1600 with the middle bit around 1750. I don’t know how they can live like this! And, its still with the same family the current generation of whom still lives there. Mind you, we didn’t see their wing to appreciate things like modern plumbing, toilets etc. cos the old bit don’t have none.

We learnt an interesting fact about personal hygeine in Edinbrugh – there was none! Bodily waste in the “potty” was thrown out the window to the cry of “gardyloo” around 10.00pm each night into the street. Urine was stored for washing – it is a bleach. Other bits, thrown from the windows were consumed by pigs, the pigs being the ultimate recycler, cos then you ate the pigs – Ugh! There was no running water, nobody bathed and even in the new town of Edinburgh in the 1800’s there was no running water. Edinburgh was known as “Stinky Town”, but it highlights the deficiencies of the era everywhere and Mallenstein was no exception.

However, a surprising contradiction exists at Melrose Chapel. Dating back to the 1300’s the Cistercian Monks had some very advanced ideas. Not only were they financially self sustaining, they built a massive business empire through farming – wool, sheep, crops and they had latrines which were self flushing. Diverting the local river through channels facilitated the movement of movements….

and they built a massive church complex of which only ruins exist today…

but it gives you some idea of the masons and artisans skills of some 700 years ago.

Within the Borders area there are many similar examples and by this stage we have taken much longer than anticipated to suss out some. It would not be hard to spend weeks exploring this area and learning of the history. What was particularly interesting here at Melrose was that the monks failed because of their own success – commercialism won out – the order simply moved on to become a business empire.

One interesting sidelight is that purportedly Robert the Bruce’s heart is buried here (think Mel Gibson – ‘Braveheart’).

Then it was on to “Mary,Queen of Scots” house in somewhere I forget and I’m sure she did too cos she was only here for a period of time while recovering from an illness whilst travelling, but every town has to have a ‘hook’. The picture of the “garderobe” illustrates a typical toilet facility of ‘wealthy’ home owners. Where does it all go – out into the street of course.

There is still so much more to show and tell but lets get this across the water for the birthdays before they too become old hat.

24 July 2018

Edinburgh

We planned just 3 days here, ended up being 4, could have used a week.

Edinburgh is fascinating, old, and  captivating. There are 3 seperate bus tours and we took them all, some more than once. There is so much to see its hard to know where to start but we did start with the Royal Mile – this is as the name suggests is a strip of roadway in the middle of the old city starting at Edinburgh Castle and travelling down to Holyroodhouse and the new Scottish Parliament. As we didn’t in all our time here manage to get to the latter two places please feel free to Google them as I believe they are worth a look and they are on our list to visit first up next time. By the time we took one of the bus tours around the perimeter of the city and walked the Mile got some cash from a phone booth, inspected one of the most beautiful cathedrals we have seen so far, watched/observed the street performers (the one juggling the knives was from Sydney and bloody entertaining too) the day was done…

and we hadn’t yet walked the Mile.

We stayed in a hotel well out of town and by pure arse it turned out to be a gem – reasonably priced reasonable quality, good food – a Best Western brand. Took the train into the city, a 25 minute journey and it deposited us virtually in the centre of the city –

The guide book suggests spending a couple of hours visiting the Castle, moving on to various other things for an hour or two here and there, but we didn’t see everything in the Castle in 6 hours. Crowds were definitely a problem but there is so much to see you’ve just got to bear with the masses. Unfortunately there are certain photo restricted areas not the least of which is the Scottish regalia display. Whilst not as impressive as the Queens display in the Tower of London it is still worth a look. We managed to be there for the firing of the one o’clock gun. This concurs with the dropping of the time ball, the same procedure as is adopted at the Greenwich Observatory in London but it scared the s… outa me and the photo shot went astray…

and you can just make out the ball up the pole, then not as it turns 1.00pm.

Just to get position to observe all of this  took the best part of 1/2 an hour.

We got to have lunch in what was once part of the officers quarters….

with magical people appearing overhead ( just workers fixing something or talking about fixing something).

The castle is really something. Built on the top of a volcanic noll it is an engineering masterpiece that in part dates back to the early 1300’s. Like most of these places, it has evolved. There are additions as late as the 20th century and its a bit hard to get a handle on all of this. As an example the Scottish National War Memorial Hall was built in the 20th century….

whereas

dates back to about 1130, apparently the oldest remaining building in Edinburgh.

For the record some more shots of the Castle…

Google or Wikipedia Edinburgh Castle and you will find an incredible history of change, useage, development. It is of course the backdrop to The Edinburgh Military Tattoo each year and this was being set up for whilst we were there, adding to the chaos.

We spent a bit more time on the Royal Mile, deigned to eat in town this evening and then back on the train to the hotel in Whitburn.

Next day took in Brittania..

the Royal “Yatch” retired in ’97 I think. Something of an insight into the indulgences the top end of town although not as lavish as we would have expected. The Queens and Prince Phillips individual bedrooms (staterooms?) feature single beds whereas Charlie had a double bed put in for his honeymoon – Wow!

Thence on to Rosslyn Chapel, a little out of town….

and another place where inside shots are not allowed. This place is extraodinary – the detail is unbelievable, dating back to 1456. It remains the property of the 7th Earl of Rosslyn, carrying on the family ownership since inception. It also featured in The Da Vinci Code, Dan Browns novel of Knights Templar tales which has led to its increased tourism interest. Oh and Yes – I hit the pigeon (the target).

Back to Edinburgh for a look at three engineering marvels – the new bridge over the Forth…

the next oldest….

and the oldest – 1893…

We sat and ate overlooking this bridge and marvelled at its beauty this evening, watching the endless railway activity.

This had to conclude Edinburgh. Parts more southern were calling and inevitably the end of our UK trip, but we’re still a week or so off that so more to follow. There are also a few more things so far unreported up North but I’ll get back to that in due course.

For now, Good Evening.

 

22 July 2018

Glasgow sorta

Twas on to Glasgow we went but the day was taken up with washing and visits to the pharmacy, the doctor, the hospital, the NHS, the doctor, the pharmacy, the hospital, the doctor and finally the pharmacy to get some meds for Jude. I love the efficiency of Britains medical service. I think you’d bleed out if you were injured although they may be able to clone you back to life  – Dolly the cloned sheep lived and died near here (well a little further north but you get the picture). So, bottom line, we didn’t see much of Glasgow and we had a commitment further north so onwards and upwards we went.

Drumnadrochit was calling (What?). Its at the side of Loch Ness and it really was the Lochs that were calling us home but Drumnadrochit was where we had to stay. Lets say first up that this was the most expensive yet worst accommodation we’ve had so far – nearly $200 a night and not even breakfast included….

Now, given that these two buildings are pictured in the hotels blog as being side by side one might get the distinct impression that they are one and the same and consequentially this place looks at least interesting. Nothing could be further from the truth.We didn’t actually go into the Loch Ness visitor centre cos it cost money to do so but we did drag our weary bones up the stairs in the hotel, to find ourselves in a miserable little room with no acoustic properties whatsoever. You’ve heard the term ‘banging’, now we know what it means. Trouble is it was all next door as their bed kept hitting the adjoining wall. The only saving grace was he was a quick finisher. Then the next night 50 or 60 asians moved in and they don’t know how to be quiet let alone close a door without slamming it – all f…… night. To add insult to injury the bloody toilet wouldn’t flush properly and the one breakfast we had in their so called cafe should have been flushed first.

It was though close to Loch Ness and the village of Drumnadrochit was … interesting! We had dinner twice there, once good, once ordinary (but same place). This Loch and all others including Lomond are nonetheless beautiful, as is the countryside…

the first 3 Loch Lomond the next 2 Loch Ness. You might notice the only monster was the cruise boat and I should add we did look hard but Nessie didn’t favour us this time…

and I get the very distinct impression she doesn’t appear for just anybody.

We had determined to visit niece Renee on Skye which was another reason for staying at Drumnadrochit as it was the closest accommodation we could get. Skye, this weekend and indeed for days preceeding and after was booked solid, so a 2 1/2 hour drive (each way) was in order. Along the way we were intoduced to Eilean Doonan Castle. Billed as a fully restored 13th century castle it had to have some attraction, as indeed it did even on the most miserable and first wet day we’ve had since leaving home……

It is now a private residence although open to the public (for a cost of course) but it’s worth every penny to see…

Ah! Whoops. No photography allowed!

We did with permission get one photo, albiet not a good one as we had to look like we weren’t taking it…

as it’s not often you get a Fergusson with two s’s. Look up the connection Fergussons!

But we did get some outside shots through the rain and mist which I guess fairly accurately reflects the usual climate of the area…

It is worth a visit if you’re ever here.

On to Skye and the scenery is incredible…

and on to lunch with Renee, Matilda and Sean at their cafe at Bog Myrtle (Isle of Skye)…

Lovely lunch, good chat and catch up with niece and great-niece, but then back to the place they call Drumnadrochit (I’m fairly sure that means something unholy in Gaelic).

Moved on then to Edinburgh via Inverness and ended up spending four nights in Edinburgh because there is so much to see. I’m not sure I have effectively conveyed the beauty of the Scottish scenery here but even the drive back down south didn’t disappoint….

and whilst not strictly in sequence you get the picture.

There are many more shots I could bore you with but they’ll have to wait until you visit us at home. Uh, don’t use that as an excuse not to visit – I could just give you a USB just to piss you off.

Anyway, Edinburgh is a whole ‘nother story, a chapter in its own right so tune in to the next instalment coming soon.

20 July 2018

Stoke(d) on Trent

Didn’t know quite what to expect but on the way here many signs pointed to “Wedgewood”. Well follow the signs to find out I says.

Out in the country through all the usual English country lanes we  get to….

Yes, the home base and manufacturing facility of Wedgewood China. It’s huge although we subsequently learn that it now only employs about 600 when earlier it was over 2000. Amazingly still so much is hand made, hand painted and hand assembled and packed…

the first being “creamware” the first ever mass production Wedgewood selected by the then Queen for her own use (around 1750 I think I remember) and what put Josiah Wedgewood on the map. The rest are just examples of hand crafted, hand painted china over many years although the single “pot” has a value of around 1 million pounds.

These two pots are just two of six and also have a value of around 1 mil…..

We were not allowed to film in the factory so a word description is necessary. Firstly we were advised that we had arrived at the right time of the day as the factory had not yet fully heated up. Thanks!!!

It was already hot with several kilns running at 1100′ and not all were fired up. Actually most of the firing occurs overnight but it still gets hotter later in the day. Firstly was an overview of the factory floor – watching individuals place clay into moulders, others attaching handles, others moving stacks of part cooked pieces setting them up to go through the kilns. As we moved around the gallery above the factory floor there were many descriptors of the action below. Then we come down to the factory floor where the painters and artists are working, then the moulders and pattern makers – line after line of hand crafting operations. Just delightful to witness. One fellow we got chatting to had been hand moulding and machining special pieces on a 200 year old lathe for the last 40 years. It appears that the majority of employees are long term.

The factory is set in the middle of a housing estate. This was developed for the workers although it is now being extended for private sales. This is the second major plant of Wedgewood and has been in operation since the 60’s I seem to remember. The first was built in the early 1800’s and lasted until this one was commissioned…

It’s impressive. Also in the area is the house of Spode. We didn’t seek that one out. Sorry Margaret but we couldn’t afford to bring any home.

Moving on we had a way to go to get to Liverpool for the night but not before a stopover in a little village to see a Bobbin Mill. WTF!

Back in the industrial age cotton and wool weaving was at its height.What is cotton or wool wound onto to feed the machines? – a bobbin. Apparently back when it was all happening there were some 60 bobbin mills knocking out bobbins in this area. This is the only one that has been preserved and in its heyday put out 1 million pieces in a year.

Why here I heard some ignorant person ask – cos heres the wood and heres the water. Water? Of course, what drives the machinery! Surrounded by forest of the right specification although the timber once cut had to be sized and dried over about 12 months before it could be worked. But of course thats what you have 10 year old apprentices for – chop the wood size it and stack it. Workers here worked 12 hour shifts, got paid by the piece and worked 6 days straight. The conditions are horrendous….

The original equipment was driven from a waterwheel but sometimein the late 1800’sa steamengine was put in and this still gets fired up today (well not actually this day cos it was broken, but when its fixed again it will) …

all the tools and lathes are continuously running via belts over pulleys throughout the shop. Repairs are made whilst everything continues to run – pretty exciting stuff.

Well after a hard days work we retired to our castle for the night…

– Leasowe Castle just out of Liverpool. Not only was it a fun place to be it was comfortable and reasonably priced and we enjoyed one of the best meals we’ve experienced so far.

We sort of explored Liverpool on our way out the next morning and found nothing to our liking – it looks grotty, derelict in parts, not at all attractive. No wonder the Beatles left for greener pastures.

From Liverool it was on to Carlisle, partly because it was on the way north and it presented as a reasonable place to stop for the night. It also proved to be a good jumping off point to see Hadrians Wall. This wall, some 76 miles in length with observation towers every 1/3 mile, a fort every 1 mile and a garrison every 5 miles or so was commissioned by the Roman emporer Hadrian in 166AD to denote the most northern border of the Roman Empire. It is not the Scottish border and is in part some 60km south thereof, but it was placed there to ward off the northern hordes. It is impressive…

having been built some 4 metres high and as much as 2 metres thick. So, where has it all gone?  Well here of course….

 

– Lanercost Priory and hundreds of other such buildings either side of the wall after the demise of the Roman empire after 410AD. Whilst it was not immediate as many Roman soldiers and their families remained in situ, most of the wall was simply ‘repurposed’ over time.

 

 

17 July 2018

Warwick

On our way out of Shakespearesville we checked out a hotel we knew we couldn’t afford, but you’ve got to have dreams – maybe next time if we win Tatts..

Next stop was definitely home….

One could get very comfortable here…

although the heating bill could be a bit high.

This is Warwick Castle. It is a restored medieval castle and if you want a history lesson talk to Dr Google. We can only say that it is mind blowing, not in the same way as, say, Windsor Castle, but it represents a life style of an era. Much of it is recent restoration but it is well done and altogether worth seeing. The ‘scary’ dungeon tour is a bit over the top but it was fun nonetheless…

No photographs were allowed (or really possible in what was mostly darkness) which makes it a little hard to relay the effects, but I had my head on the chopping block and fortunately the lopper missed. But the moving seats got everyone else worked up as did the water splatter supposedly representing blood (but in the dark who could tell). We walked away unscathed.

The rest of the place is a museum of antiquity…

and I’ve only just scratched the surface. A piece ‘de resistance’ was thebuffet…

carved from one tree.

There’s often a downside to these things though. Wouldn’t have missed it but at over $120.00 to get in it was a little like I’d bought it.

We didn’t stay for the night show (which did cost more again), we missed the jousting but did witness an archer demonstrating the famed English longbow and a diabolical crossbow.

We were a bit time poor when we got to this place as we had a booking for this night further on near Worcester and given the relative hardship of finding economical and acceptable quality accommodation we had to move on.

Our next overnight didn’t compete with the castle but it did have a certain style  to it…

and proved to be quite comfortable after we actually found it. Talk about lost up country lanes in Smite (yes, that’s S. m. i. t. e). B & B and dinner was good too.

Next day takes us on to Stoke on Trent and what a surprise and delight that turned out to be. But just wait my impatient readers cos now its bedtime in Edinburgh, many days on from whence I’m reporting. Bear with me though because very shortly we do get to live in a castle.

15 July 2018

Bristol Cities

Bath to Bristol, a whole 39 miles but a fair days travel. I can’tget over how long it takes to get anywhere here even though the freeways and tollways have a 70mph (115k/h) limit. They’re always stop/start. Back to day one – I picked up the car at London City Terminal, two train stops from Justin & Janes. It took nearly an hour to drive back.

But on with the tale. Bristol is a city in South-west England with a population of nearly 500k and another 250k round-about. It houses Bristol Cathedral…..

which was founded in 1140 consecrated in 1148 but built in the years 1220 – 1877. It is the final resting place for monks and abbots and knights with tombs dating back to the 1200’s. It is, like so many of these old cathedrals and palaces and castles, inspirational/spectacular.

There’s lots more to Bristol ….

including the river port, the SS Great Britain (Engineer Brunels last effort – look it up cos it and he is very interesting).

There is a lot of history here too but isn’t that the case with all of Britain and Europe.

Then it was on to….

although we never actually got to Piddle just loved the sign as we travelled through to Stratford-Upon-Avon. Two days touring Stratford experiencing Shakespeare in everything. It was glorious and probably could have spent more time there but the crowds got a little tiresome…

I know, I know, but we did avoid most of them but I had to wait to get some shots…

The photos above in sequence are;

a bank in historical building, a row of Tudors (about 1600’s), the site of Shakespeares last house torn down by a later owner to piss off the council, council living in the past, Jude trying to get into the past, Shakespeares daughter Susanna and husband John Halls house (medical  practitioner), the little punt and the punter, Anne Hathaways cottage (Shakespeares wife who was 8 years his senior when they married), great costuming for the tea shop, more Tudor fronts and Shakespeares birthplace ( family home where he took his new wife after they married to live for a time with Mum and Dad)

It is interesting to note that Shakespeare became seriously wealthy in his time and a significant property owner. Anne Hathaway was of a very comfortable family too and inherited well, but the Shakespeare line ended with William as no boys reached maturity in the family to carry on the name.

We even took the little punt – across the Avon. By the way we are told that there are many Avon rivers in England cos when the Romans took over they asked of the then inhabitants what each river in an area was called to be told ‘Afon’ which apparently just meant river so now we have many river rivers.

Sunday market was a buzz – no amber glass ashtrays at all. We actually bought stuff. Don’t know how we’re going to get it all home yet – maybe the Royal Mail.

We also took a bus tour of the region  which is fast becoming a mandatory familiarisation procedure….

( street light given to Stratford by Israel (I think), a last thatched roof, the English rolling hills, a vintage footbridge over the railway) – all from the bus.

 

13 July 2018

Stonehenge

Our first port of call after leaving London had to be Stonehenge. Not to see the henge cos it hasn’t changed since last time but to see the new visitor centre `a la Jane Monk our dear DIL. We did, it is truly interesting and a real piece of architectural work but guess who forgot to put the SD card back in the camera so I can’t show you what a masterpiece it is.

Suffice to say it is indelibly imprinted on the brain and just maybe Jane and Justin do have some photos I can add later.

Anyway for that transgression I had to take a Bath. We only got as far as Beckington on the way to take that Bath when we were distracted by ‘Olde England’……

We ended up overnighting in a nearby Travelodge (described as a budget hotel at $160.00 per night) which was pretty ordinary, no aircon and bloody hot. However we did get a good meal at the local pub pictured above.

Next morning on to that Bath.

What a sight as we rounded a corner to take in the vista of this city….

and we’ve just scratched the surface of what is a huge place.

First up was to find some accommodation. Guess what?

Another bloody Travelodge was as good as it got – I’m not surprised they had vacancies – you even have to pay for Wi-Fi and parking. Fact is there weren’t any other available, affordable options, so humble we became. Meals were crap too.

But, Bath made us feel better. First up was a tour bus to get some sense of the city…

this one actually taking us to the surrounding areas, the next one through the city proper….

then it was time for the promised Bath. Now here’s the rub – the Roman Baths are nearly 2000 years old, they’re lined with lead, the water is hot and as a consequencethy are full of algae. Not the most condusive environment to ones well being. So look don’t bathe was the order of  the day….

The second water shot above is actually the spring from whence the hot water comes and you can see bubbles coming up – it then is channelled into the main ‘bath’ from which it is further channelled out to the fields (well was once)

Interesting to note however is the overstructures that house the baths are all of more recent construction ie around 1800’s. The bath ruins were rediscovered in the 1700’s, the buildings having collapsed in centuries before and built over with other dwellings in the period after Roman withdrawal from Britain (AD410). The last photo above is of the caldera floor – a floor supported on stacks of tiles and under which a fire was set to raise the room temperature. There were several of these rooms all graduated in temperature to the heat of this final one where the Romans would flens their sweaty skins before entering the baths.

In later years, read 17-1800s’ after the rediscovery and reconstruction, the Victorians would start their day at 6.00am with a bath here, finishing around 9.00am then it was off to some foppish day time activities followed by evening balls and suppers. Its notable that the wealthy used porters to carry them to and from in their ‘bath chairs’.

The city as it is seen today is relatively recent, 1700’s onwards. It was previously a village after Roman times although a lot of Roman development took place in 100 – 300AD but was lost in years after Roman withdrawal. This is a fascinating piece of British history as are so many other places. The Bath Cathedral actually dates back to 700 AD but had revelopment and reconstruction in 13 -1400AD. We don’t know what its early form took although there was a ‘place of worship’ attached to the Roman baths much earlier.

The Royal Crescent built in 1767 – 1774 and designed by John Wood the Younger  is just another idiosyncratic piece of Bath….

and so is the yellow door  which is the only one allowed cos it was painted in the 1970’s and became the subject of a town planning appeal which was won by the appellant. Other attempts to change external physical elements have been thwarted.

Some more of Bath…

Bath is a very wealthy city both historically and today it seems. Tourism is rampant, probably the biggest money spinner. But we loved it – it is quintessentially British.

8 July 2018

London

I thought we’d left 100′ behind. Its more here but of course its measured differently – its only 34′ – 35′ (I think). We were so glad Justin met us at the airport and helped with the luggage. By the time we trained to Woolwich, walked to their apartment and up 64 stairs we were f., um , hot.

But, so good to see Jane and Edith with Justin at home in London. And, what a surprise their home base of Royal Woolwich Arsenal is. Personally I love it. I doubt we could actually live in it but the way the old buildings have been re-purposed is fantastic….

Then its right on the Thames…

and you can either catch the ferry or the train into town. We caught the ferry. It’s far more interesting. I think this was day 2. Justin and Jane had sort of mapped out an activity plan and this meant that we had lots to see and do. Without trying to put it all in sequence we saw…

the Tate Modern and a lot of scenery around it.

I think this actually might have been day 3 cos day 2 was the Golden Hind and the GMT museum ( I think)…

 which makes you think about ‘the figurehead was a nude in bed….’

the steel frame

the captains ‘head’, then us across the line leading to the worlds early timekeeping devices

Truly fascinating history. I guess todays computer technology is the next phase of technological development but it is really good to see some technological history which doesn’t rely on 01 (I’m sure you know what I mean).

Of course the Greewich Meridian is the basis of latitudinal and longitutinal measurement as well as the worlds base time measurement but it does only go back to the 1800’s when the world of commerce demanded some standard of measurement for the world.

Our littlest granddaughter is a delightful 3 year old – she put up with us with an absolute minimum of fuss ….

and clearly enjoyed our outings.

St Pauls is a protected vista – no buildings are allowed to obscure its visage but when you get to it it is absolutely hemmed in. Nor were we allowed to take photos inside which is a great pity because it is fabulous

The gate is one of the original or early city gates that has been relocated to the Paternoster Square

 and is of itself an intertesting piece of history. Paternoster Square is now where the London Stock Exchange resides..

Now we’re tired – its been a busy few days and I’m fairly sure Jane and Justin and Edith are tired of entertaining us so we will move on.

The more we see of London the greater its fascination, the more interesting its history and the more there is yet to see. We’re booked in for a Palace of Westminster tour and  a Prom at Albert Hall on our return at the end of the month. More of London then.

Its now on to Scotland via lots of other places…..