London – Day 6 – Palace of Westminster to Gordon’s Wine Bar

….day six continues along the River Thames

After leaving the Westminster Cathedral and Westminster Abbey we continued walking towards the River Thames. Right behind the Abbey lies the Palace of Westminster which holds both houses of Parliament for the United Kingdom. It was originally built in the eleventh century and rebuild in the 1800s after it burned down.

IMG-8939
IMG-8940
IMG-8941
IMG-8947

As you can see from the photos the structure was under quite a bit of construction. The one big disappointment was that Big Ben was also under construction but we knew this before we arrived in London. What I didn’t know was that the entire tower would be covered in scaffolding. The refurbishing is scheduled to take three years to complete and during the renovation the clock bells have been turned off.IMG-8945

From many parts of London one of the sites that stands out above many of the building is the giant Ferris wheel called the London Eye. It is situated on the South Bank of the River Thames in London and is Europe’s tallest Ferris wheel and the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom with over 3.75 million visitors annually.IMG-6999
IMG-8948
IMG-8952
IMG-8955

As we continued along the River Thames we came across the Golden Jubilee bridge built in 2000. It is a steel truss bridge located in Lambeth borough.

IMG-8959
IMG-8960

From here we headed over to Gordon’s Wine Bar but on the way we passed through the Courtauld Institute of Art. At the time we had no idea what we were looking at but we liked the sculptures and the architecture.IMG-8961
IMG-8962
IMG-8963
IMG-8966
IMG-8967

Gordon’s Wine Bar is located on the Strand. It is thought to be the oldest wine bar in London having been established in 1890. The bar is very much a family affair, owned by Wendy Gordon who is the wife of the late much loved Luis Gordon, and now overseen by Luis’ eldest son Simon. The building itself was a warehouse built in 1790 and in 1880 it was converted to accommodations.

We entered through the cellar doors. You need to stoop to get to your rickety candlelit table – anonymity is guaranteed! If the sun is out you can also sit outside in Watergate Walk and enjoy watching the world go by. The bar is loved by many and seems to be a place where time has stood still. It serves only wine, sherries and port and simple food, ranging from homemade pies to mature cheese. If you’re in London you should definitely check this place out. You can find more information here.

A word of warning. If you do go into the cellar watch your head because the ceilings are low and it takes awhile for your eyes to adjust to the dark. I hit my head three times in the space of a minute making my way to our table.

IMG-8970
IMG-8971
IMG-8972
IMG-8975
IMG-8976

London – Day 6 – Westminster Cathedral vs Westminster Abbey

…..I had no idea that they were two different churches

The main difference is that the cathedral is Roman Catholic and the Abbey is part of the Church of England. Also the cathedral is much newer. It was built in 1903 and is the largest Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales. One of the things that struck us as odd about the interior of the cathedral is how dark the ceiling in the main part of the church is. According to the guide at the entrance, the ceiling is almost black because the main lighting source when it was first built consisted of candles and the soot from the them has darkened the interior. I thought that was odd, considering how wealthy the Catholic Church is but according to history churches built in the early 1900s had to be debt free before they could be consecrated. The interior of the cathedral was never completed but it was consecrated none the less in 1910.

The cathedral is built in the Byzantine style.

IMG-8917
IMG-8918
IMG-8919
IMG-8920
IMG-8921
IMG-8922
IMG-8923

The Abbey on the other hand is much older. It was first constructed in 1245 and was originally Catholic. Henry VIII changed that when the Catholic Church wouldn’t grant him a divorce and he formed the Church of England. In 1560 Queen Elizabeth I re-established Westminster as a “Royal Peculiar” – a church of the Church of England responsible directly to the Sovereign, rather than to a diocesan bishop.

IMG-8924
IMG-8929
IMG-8931
IMG-8932

We didn’t get in line to see the inside of the Abbey but my cousin in Germany has convinced me that when we go back we need to take the tour. It sounds fascinating and worth the money. It is certainly rich in history.

In the next post I will continue with day 6 and describe our walk along the Thames River.

 

Thursday Doors – More From London

….thanks to Norm for hosting Thursday Doors

All these doors are in the South Kensington area of London. The Queens Gate Lodge was owned by the Museum of Natural History and was built in 1883 to accommodate an engineer and messenger who worked at the museum. This tiny 2-bedroom house sits in Hyde Park just inside the Queen’s Gate and can be yours for a mere 6 706 000 pounds. When I first saw the sign at the gate to the house I actually thought that it belonged to the Queen. It wasn’t till I returned home and started to research the place that I discovered that the place was named after the famous gate that leads into the park and has nothing to do with Her Majesty.

 

IMG-9071
IMG-9072
IMG-9073
IMG-9200
IMG-9201
IMG-9205
IMG-9208

An Old Fashion Corn Roast

As some of you know I’ve taken up bread baking at Montgomery’s Inn here in the west end of Toronto. The inn is an historical site and museum and depends on the generosity of time given by numerous volunteers. Every year the inn hosts a community corn roast.

IMG_4120

This was the first one I’ve ever attended and I was there as a volunteer. I helped roast the corn in the outdoor wood fired oven that we use for our bread baking every week. In the kitchen the volunteers cooked the sausages and more volunteers manned the tables where tickets were sold, food distributed and where coffee and tea were served. Down the hill there was an activity area for the children and under the tent there was live entertainment.IMG_4121

On the other side of the building several historical organizations set up booths to display information about their group and quite a few people were dressed in period costumes. Later in the evening the ukulele class that performs the first Thursday of every month also gave an impromptu performance for the community in attendance. I’ve been playing with the group off and on since January and I was happy to be there again after a bit of an absence. When you haven’t played for awhile three hours of singing and playing  can be hard on the fingers but wonderful for the soul.IMG_4122

For more information about the museum and list of events check out the website.

Thursday Doors – May 24, 2018

….Montgomery’s Inn

At the intersection of Dundas and Islington in the west end of Toronto sits the heritage site of Montgomery’s Inn. The inn was built in 1830 by Thomas and Margaret Montgomery, both immigrants from Ireland. It served as a meeting place for the community and a place for travellers to rest and enjoy a drink and a meal. The original property covered 400 acres of land and was used primarily for farming.

Today the building has been restored and serves as a historical museum and hosts various groups and exhibitions. Momentarily the building is undergoing more restoration but remains open to the public. For more information about the history go here.IMG_1991
IMG_1992
IMG_1993
IMG_1999
IMG_2010

Thanks to Norm for hosting Thursday Doors

What Happened in 1917?

….in Canada

1917 is often referred to as the worst year in Canadian history. In that year we saw the highest casualty figures for Canada during WWI. The death toll at Vimy Ridge alone was 3598 with another 7000 injured.

The city of Halifax was destroyed when two ships collided in Halifax Harbour, killing 1900 civilians and injuring 9000 in a town of 50 000. It was the worst man-made destruction of a city until 1945.

The conscription policy divided the country in one of the most bitter elections ever in 1917 but on the upside some women were granted the right to vote if they had a husband, father or brother who served in the war.

It was also the year that the Nation Hockey League (NHL) was established but not until an American team won the Stanley Cup for the first time earlier in the year. Tom Thomson, a famous Canadian artist, also died that year under mysterious circumstances.

Today I went to Montgomery’s Inn to sign up as a volunteer. While I was there I happened upon a wonderful art display of paintings depicting what happened in Canada in 1917.

IMG_2012

IMG_1996
IMG_1997
IMG_1998
IMG_2001
IMG_2002
IMG_2003
IMG_2004
IMG_2005
IMG_2006
IMG_2009
IMG_2011

Thursday Doors – November 23, 2017 – North on Sixth Street

….thanks to Norm for hosting Thursday Doors

Lately I’ve been exploring and walking through my neighbourhood looking for interesting doors. I usually walk east or west from my house but last week I decided to venture north. I live on Sixth Street but I rarely go north of Lakeshore Blvd. I discovered some lovely homes, two churches and a Japanese temple. I took a closer look at St. Margaret’s Church.

St. Margaret’s has serviced the community of New Toronto for over 100 years. The cornerstone was laid in 1910 and the building was completed in 1911. It has numerous outreach programs, such as Out of the Cold, community dinners and the Boy Scouts.

IMG_0116IMG_0120IMG_0122IMG_0124

Most of the homes are typical New Toronto homes, compact and situated on small lots but many owners clearly take pride in their places and numerous homes in the neighbourhood are undergoing extensive renovations.

IMG_0113IMG_0118fullsizeoutput_7a66fullsizeoutput_7a67IMG_0128