Saturday, 21 July 2018

A Kent weekend

I have spent another lovely Kent weekend with my eldest son and family and travelling down on Thursday afternoon meant that I could go out for the day on Friday.  The county of Kent has so much history and this time I chose Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII.  My apologies for the angle of some of the photos but pictures had lighting above and so I had to take them at the side.
Anne Boleyn

The castle itself is quite small
Castle on the left

Castle complete with drawbridge and moat!!
and was built in 1270, but in the 15th and 16th centuries was the home of the Bullens.  Anne gentrified the name to Boleyn, to sound more French!!  Later the castle passed into the ownership of Anne of Cleves (Henry's fourth wife) whom he divorced and is nicknamed the Flanders Mare because she was supposed to be so ugly!  It gradually fell into decline until 1903, when it was bought by William Waldorf Astor, who restored the castle and built the 'Tudor' village behind for friends to stay.  He was very much an Anglophile.

I passed over the moat and into the courtyard
Quite small

and into the house where photography was permitted, without flash.
Postilions boots about 1690

These boots fascinated me as they were very wide but so sensible.  The postilion rode one horse of a pair pulling a coach and wore one of these to prevent his leg getting crushed between the two horses.  He would be wearing his own boots inside.  Sensible idea.

There were samples of 17thC 'stumpwork'  needlework -

The tester finely carved oak bed of Henry VIII made c1540
This carving of Henry is over the fireplace

Anne's bedhead
Anne's Book of Hours
I loved this Tunbridge ware writing slope c1860

made of tiny slivers of wood
- detail of above

The next two photos are modern translations of letters between Anne and the King (click to get a close up)

There was so much to see and do here and in the gardens, which were looking so burnt after all the dry weather.  However coming round a corner and sitting in the shade were these two

that were being looked after by a Parrot Rescue Centre and were having a day out!  I loved them as I have always wanted a parrot since I was quite young but my late husband wouldn't' let me (too expensive to buy) so I kept cockatiels instead!!

Next day we all went to 15th century Godinton House, near Ashford, much quieter than Hever Castle, but still very scorched by the sun.  The house was in the Toke family for 400 years but when the final owner, Alan Wyndham Green  died in 1996 ownership passed to a Trust that he had set up.

No photography inside this house but we had very knowledgeable guides to take us round, however first we looked round outside
The North Front
East side
South side

This pond was originally a swimming pool

The Italian garden and summerhouse
We also walked round the walled kitchen garden and greenhouses, the latter with very productive peach trees. 

Two very different houses but both full of history.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

RAF 100 years

I am back after a period of lassitude and suddenly I have too much to write about, which in my opinion is sod's law as I haven't done much up until now!!

As you may know I look after my great nephew, 4 year old Will, every Tuesday and as this stops at the end of August, when he goes to school I decided to give him a treat.  The date (10 July) had been booked for ages as I wanted to go before the schools broke up for the summer holidays as we were planning to go to the Science and Natural History Museums.

BUT two days before I learnt about the RAF flypast that was taking place with 100 aircraft to celebrate 100 years since they were set up.  The flypast was taking place down The Mall and over Buckingham Palace with the Royal Family watching.

So we set out by train, with my phone number written on Will's wrist (brilliant idea from No 2 son) in case he got lost.  Our first stop was to have coffee with Mummy at work - the BBC!
Will excited to see Mummy at work
We had coffee in the Media Centre where you look down on the News Room but photography not permitted. 

This band (don't know who they are!) were setting up just outside the 'One Show' studio.  The reflection is the Radio Theatre studio where the public are admitted for recording of radio shows. We hopped on an 88 bus and headed down Regent Street that was hung with banners

by Joe Tilson to celebrate 250 years of the Royal Academy of Arts.  We got off the bus at Trafalgar Square and walked down The Mall

hung with the Union and RAF flags.  Poor Will was completely surrounded by thousands of people and being little didn't see much so started asking for lunch.  When I got us near the Victoria Memorial I sat him on the kerb and provided his lunch whilst I got ready for the flypast - and so follow lots and lots and lots of photos!
Pumas and Chinooks

… and at this point came the Dakota followed by the Battle of Britain memorial flight and I couldn't get my new camera to focus ****** - bad language.  Suddenly it worked
P120P Elementary training

Basic fast jet training

Military training


Electronic surveillance

Voyager air refuelling 

Intelligence and reconnaissance



and finally the wonderful
Red Arrows RAF Aerobatic flying team
and watching on the balcony were all the Royal Family

(L to r. Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, Earl and Countess of Wessex, Prince Andrew, Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, The Queen, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Anne, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and the Duke of Kent) - phew!!  Click on the photo to get a better look.

Now it was Will's turn and we walked round St James's Park and saw various ducks, swans, a heron (in the middle of London!)  and the pelicans -
Three Pelicans

and Will told me all about how they stored fish in their beaks!!  We found this little house in the park that had a lovely garden
The productive kitchen garden
and a bug house

Not sure what species of duck (?) this is

A moorhen on its nest
Meanwhile we were walking past Horse Guards Parade where there was a reception going on attended by all the RAF personnel who had taken part in the day, including the arrival of the Earl and Countess of Wessex.  I did take a photo of this but it was not good.
The reception on Horse Guards with a number of aircraft on show.

I did wonder how these aircraft got there; was it under their own steam or on the back of a lorry?

Anyway as it was still 'Will time' we headed for Hamleys on Regent Street with its five floors of toys and after that met Mummy for a pizza and the fast train home very late.

NB - my apologies if I got any of the aircraft wrong as there were so many.  However do go to this link that I used RAF100 from their Facebook page.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

The Women's Tour

The Women's Tour was coming to Rushden; how exciting is that so I decided I must let you know all about it.

It is one of the biggest events to hit our small town since Rushden Lakes was opened last year and we were going to get the start of Stage 2 so I started planning what to see and photograph and then disaster struck.

Firstly I fell off my bike and have damaged my left leg, but that was not going to stop me but the major catastrophe came when I went to take a photo - my camera was not working!! It has been hard worked for about five years so I decided to buy a new one so I was very much a learner when I took the photos that follow. 

The day before, I went to Rushden Hall Park to see what was going on but it was all quite quiet -
Now owned by the Council and used
as offices

The start being built
The run from the start
Next day I was down in the park good and early and what a transformation and what a buzz of excitement. 
Motorbikes galore
Lead cars in place
… more motorbikes
Police road closure instructions
I did ask one motorbike policeman if there were any left in the county and he said only two were there and all the rest came from around the country, including Wales.

The 'Start' had been built from yesterday, the teams were being introduced...

WNT-Rotor a British team

Not sure who they were!!

BTC City Ljubljana

I wandered round all the different areas admiring the size of the accompanying vehicles

Noted our local councillors/mayors wearing their chains of office (you have to take my word for it) having a free coffee and a bun.

whilst the cyclists were warming up
 A member of Team Storey preparing
 and then I decided to make my way into town past all the motorbikes again.

I took up my position and at 10.15am the procession started with the Peloton (100+ riders) following
The TV cameraman motorbike on right
and they headed out for a tour of the town before returning to where I was standing on the point of a traffic island

before setting out on the race and the finish in Daventry.

A great morning out and great for the town and well supported.