Hidden Airstrip

….next to the Christmas Tree Farm we visited last week

When we were tying our tree to the roof of our car I walked around the parking lot looking for interesting scenes to photograph. There was a man standing close by and he told me I was welcome to walk further onto the airstrip. Airstrip?

I had no idea that the open field that I had been photographing was an aerodrome (term used for a grass runway). I guess the wind sox should have given it away.P1070301
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I’m not sure of the name of the Aerodrome but I think it might be the Flamboro Air Strip. Behind the man stood a large out building and he invited us to come inside and see the planes. It housed about five replica planes that were 7/8th of the actual size of the originals.

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There was one other light aircraft that I found very interesting. It was built and owned by the kind gentleman who invited us in. It has an open cockpit and single seat. It looks like fun to fly but I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to go up in it.P1070314
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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.

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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
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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.

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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
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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.

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Pic and a Word Challenge – Steps

….thanks to Pic and a Word Challenge for this week’s theme – Steps

Every day I walk

Ten thousand steps, sometimes more

Sometimes less – feels good

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London – Day 4, Part 2

…..Diana’s Memorial Fountain, Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens, the V & A and happy birthday to my sweetie

While walking along the Serpentine we came across Princess Diana’s Memorial Fountain. It was officially opened in 2004 by Queen Elizabeth and the opening was attended by Prince Charles, her two sons and her brother Charles Spencer. It was the first time in seven years that the Spencers and the Windsors came together to honour Diana.

The fountain itself was designed by an American, Kathryn Gustafson.  She had wanted the fountain, which was built to the south of the Serpentine, to be accessible and to reflect Diana’s “inclusive” personality.IMG-8812
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From the fountain we walked further west towards Kensington Gardens where we came across the Albert Memorial. From the size of the memorial you would have thought that Albert had been a king but it was commissioned by Queen Victoria in memory of her beloved husband Prince Albert, who died in 1861. The memorial was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott.

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After Kensington Gardens we headed south to meet up with my husband Kevin and our son, Brendan. Brendan is a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum.IMG-8833
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The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art and design, housing a permanent collection of over 2.3 million objects that span over 5,000 years of human creativity. The Museum holds many of the UK’s national collections and houses some of the greatest resources for the study of architecture, furniture, fashion, textiles, photography, sculpture, painting, jewellery, glass, ceramics, book arts, Asian art and design, theatre and performance. (copied from the V&A website – www.vam.ac.uk)

Brendan gave us a wonderful personal tour of some of his favourite rooms at the museum.

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The last five photos were taken in the casting room. The gold leaf that you see here was used to cover the private parts of the statue, David, whenever Queen Victoria would come to visit the museum.

Opened in 1873, the Cast Courts display copies of some of the world’s most significant works of art reproduced in plaster, electrotype, photography, and digital media. The cast collection is famous for including reproductions of Michelangelo’s David, Trajan’s Column, and Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise, amongst many others.(copied from the V&A website).

Brendan explained to us that the whole idea of making these copies was to bring the world to the people at a time when most people couldn’t afford to travel to exotic places. Over the years these copies have become invaluable reproductions because many of the original pieces have been damaged or disappeared because of environmental factors or conflict.

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It’s impossible to see everything in this museum in one visit. I went back a couple more times I was in London.

After an exhausting day of walking we went back to our apartment to rest and freshen up. October 2nd is Kevin’s birthday so Brendan and Azadeh booked a reservation at a restaurant in Central London called Polpo Smithfield. We had a wonderful time sharing numerous plates of delicious Venetian food. fd3f46d5-f05c-407b-b1bb-20256b07ea63
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London – Day 4 (Harrods, Hyde Park)

….day four was another busy day with lots of walking

Today my Andrea, Josie and I headed to Harrods and Hyde Park. We left Kevin at home to rest and agreed to meet up later in the afternoon.

Harrods is probably one of the most famous stores in London. It is not centrally located and is about a mile from Kensington in the area known as Knightsbridge. Knightsbridge is a very exclusive area, one of the wealthiest parts of London where some of London’s most expensive hotels are situated. Needless to say that we didn’t go there to shop but merely to look around. The food hall was most interesting and beautifully set up with gorgeous display cases of chocolates and pastries and the seafood was displayed on mounds of ice in the most  attractive way.

While we were there we were told about the Egyptian escalators that were built in 1998 to reflect the Edwardian style of the building. Harrods built the first ever escalator in the UK in 1898. Nervous customers using the contraption were offered brandy when they reached the top to help them recover from their “ordeal”.

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From Harrods we walked over to Hyde Park and walked along the Serpentine Lake. People actually swim in this lake along with the local ducks, geese and swans.IMG-8686
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The installation art that you see in the lake is from the world famous artist, Christo, who unveiled his work The London Mastaba (2018) earlier in June. It is a 20-metre-high floating sculpture on London’s Serpentine Lake, constructed from 7,506 oil drums.

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Stay tuned for part 2…….