Sweetbriar Dreams

So where shall we go on our journey today?

Friday, 29 August 2014

The Vibrant Colours of London

Well, here we are again on stage three of our day trip in London, are you still with me?  If you have been reading my posts for the last two weeks you will now know how much you can pack into one day.

So, are you ready?  Another cup of tea and a bakewell tart should see you through as I take you by the hand near the foot of the London Eye.
As we walked to this instantly recognisable marvel of engineering, we could hear in the distance a tuneful thump of drums.  As the sound began to make rhythms in our ears, a carnival appeared.  As if out of nowhere, South Bank became even more alive with the impromptu appearance of London youth at its best.  The group is the Kinetika Bloco Summer School, you can visit them here.
The pink head dresses filled the pavement while the crowds just made space for them to dance and gave a splash of colour against the threatening skies.
Following behind the amazing sound of the brass...
Followed by the body shaking drums...
This was the perfect show to introduce Miss Teen and Miss B to the vibrancy and surprising variety of the South Bank.

But then again, there was also the now familiar... do you remember this colourful happy juggler from my St Paul's post?  Here he was again!  This time the glasses were on hiding his friendly smiling eyes.
At the South Bank Centre it was time to look up and see the temporary boat on the top of the roof.  A surprising hotel room for now!
And below the crowds were once more gathered to watch the skateboarders perform.
Further along, bubbles filled the air, some huge and glorious...
Others, small and thousands in numbers...
A huge hit with the little kids watching.  Parents looking on with phones and cameras laughing at their children all reaching up and then chasing the bubbles across Jubilee Gardens... and then shouting and chasing after their precious babies as they disappeared into the crowds!  

Next along there was a 'bike show'.  Again, things just pop up as you walk along.
But we had two more places to see before we headed home.  The first was the Wonderground...
Lots of shows take place here and it is a good 'watering hole'.  The first show is just outside with what looked like an old fashioned curiosity show.
 Inside, the Merry Go Round was going a little slow.  I couldn't work out why at first, but... take a look... can you see why it would go so slow??!!
Did you work it out?  Yes, it is a PUB!!!  On top of each horse is a table to place your well deserved pint on as you slowly look around the Wonderground.  Must go back in the evening it would be amazing!

Miss Teen and Miss B were now ready to go on the Star Ride... (you may recognise the photo and the name on the Trip Advisor write up!)
Swinging in a circle to the very top...
Yes, that's the London Eye to the right!  Apparently the view was breathtaking... I took their word for it!

Our final leg (or my final moments on my poor tired feet) was to the Graffiti Tunnel (or Banksy Tunnel as it is sometimes called).  A friendly London Cab driver told me where it was, which was near Waterloo Station, not too far away and we approached an uninviting tunnel, but this was Miss Teen's ultimate goal, something that she desperately wanted to see, nothing was going to stop this one!
We entered the tunnel, most would probably think to quickly walk away, but the colours drew us in and knowing that there was so much more to see.
In the entrance, one of the artists was already at work...
The tools of the trade at his feet, how my daughter was yearning to join him!
We ventured further into the old disused road tunnel taking in the diversity of the street art.
Another artist who was a bit more health and safety conscious, or maybe because we were further in the tunnel and not near constant fresh air!
The street art was everywhere and Miss Teen's camera was capturing every single piece.
This piece made me smile as it was opposite one of the many doors in the sides of the tunnel that take you to various other parts.  The door opposite took us to an exhibition by an artist who makes pictures out of typewriting!
There was no Banksy today, wouldn't that have been a treat!!  However, here are a couple more shots of some of the colour down this otherwise disused grey tunnel.
Miss Teen felt so happy here and kept going taking every photo she could right until the end of the tunnel!
On our way out, we couldn't believe it!  The typewriter artist was typing her latest picture of the tunnel, just sitting on the pavement with one of her Brother typewriters!
Keira Rathbone has been on many shows and you really should watch her work here.  We were so happy to watch her in the flesh working her magic.
And so dear Readers, it was with a heavy heart (and feet), that we returned to Kings Cross Station for the train back to Lincolnshire.  A very full day from the Tower of London to Waterloo.  Never mind, back in London in a week's time to see the tall ships in Greenwich for my birthday weekend!!

I do hope you have enjoyed our little walk along the river, I can't believe what we managed to fit in.

I'd also like to welcome to some lovely new followers, and thank you all so much for your encouraging comments, you are all so very kind.

Take care.

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Saturday, 23 August 2014

From Tower Bridge to Oxo Tower

Well, where did that week go?  Following on from last week's post to the Tower of London's installation we are now walking over Tower Bridge for a colourful tour full of such variety on the South Bank.  As usual I had to look up to get a slightly different view of this iconic bridge.
Our walk was long, with plenty of stops along the way, just drinking in the diverse culture of this City.  It's amazing that with living and working in this fantastic part of the country when I was younger, I just didn't see it at the time, but now that I live in a very, very quiet corner of the Lincolnshire countryside, I can't wait to get back to get my London fix, and try to fit in as much as I can in one day.

So my dear readers, here we go again!  I couldn't put everything down in this blog post, it would be far too long, so I have added an album to my Facebook page, please pop along if you would like to see more (I'd love it if you would 'like' too).  Right, cup of tea in hand, slippers on and a Garibaldi?... here we go...
On the other side of the Thames looking back across to the grey stone of the Tower of London, it seems dwarfed by the Guerkin, Walkie Talkie and Cheesegrater, however the old and new are now all icons together.  The more modern buildings are yet to prove themselves with the test of time though.
 I must say, we did stay here just looking over for quite some time.  It was busy but we felt incredibly comfortable with our own thoughts and dreams.  However, lots to still pack in!  Our plan was to just walk along the River's edge and stop at different points along the way, just taking our time.  The permanent museum on board HMS Belfast, something I have never done but the company with me today were more arty and not the military type.
Over the River, the golden top to the Monument poked its head out in between the other buildings.  Apparently if it fell the top is meant to be able to reach where the Great Fire of London started in Pudding Lane.  Have you ever climbed to the top?  Myself and Miss Teen have and it put me in mind of our St Paul's trip a couple of weeks ago.  Painful!  But, you do get a certificate at the end of it, and the views are well worth it along with a much better platform to view from as you can see...
A little way along, we came to Hay's Galleria.  The sign states that in the mid 1850's, following the steady rise of the River Thames as the commercial lifeline of the City of London, Sir William Cubitt was commissioned to build a new wharf around and enclosed dock.  Ships from all over the world visited the new Hay's Wharf but the most beautiful were the tea clippers from India and China.  By the end of the century, over 80% of perishable foodstuffs passed through the area which became known as the "Larder of London".  Hay's Wharf has now been restored and it stands where the tall tea clippers edged their way into the dock 150 years ago.  I wonder if the Cutty Sark was one of the tea clippers?
While Miss Teen and her friend succumbed to the shops inside the Galleria, I was intrigued by the beautiful piece of engineering in the middle of this area.
With some retail therapy suitably ticked off the list, we carried on our walk until we came to London Bridge. The bridge itself isn't very exciting but its predecessors show the barbarity and ways of living that used to be.  The Wikipedia link is here and well worth looking at.  Nearby is the forgotten Cathedral, Southwark, again steeped in history.
But we were looking for some vibrancy (no Cathedral climbing for me today!!), and just around the corner here it was, the start of all things arty and exciting... Borough Market.
Now I admit, as a Londoner and spending so much of my early life going out with friends around the area, I never, ever knew of this place!  The smells of the different foods, both being sold to invent new recipes and also those cooking absolutely delicious fayre was mind blowing!  If you get a chance and haven't been before, it is on my 'must do's'.  Even a little bit of entertainment while you enjoy this wonderful atmosphere!
We will be back!  

Walking a little further you come to this very old, narrow street.  It made me think of the closeness of buildings back during the Great Fire of London and how easy it was for the flames to lick the buildings opposite.
The lovely building near the centre left of the shot is actually quite important.  This is 'The Clink', the notorious medieval prison.  So barbaric that they still have one of their old 'guests' hanging around outside...
It is now a museum and one that we will re-visit at some stage, but our walk was only part way through.

Another look across the Thames, and this time we are back to the Millennium Bridge and St Paul's (my legs still hurt after that climb a couple of weeks ago!).  But look!  Could this be any more perfect?  A blue sky, St Paul's, The Thames and a narrow boat!!  How my heart skipped when I saw this boat and wished that I was on board.
By now our feet were a little tired and the girls were asking to go down to the sandy beach which was beckoning to us.  After all, it's not every day you can say you have paddled in the Thames!
Looking across London while dipping your toes was a little strange to say the least, but so beautifully cool (and entertaining to those who were looking over the side just wishing they were doing the same!).
One thing to watch for are waves created from the pleasure boats going up and down the River.  These models found out the hard way during their shoot (those waves were the little warnings!).
By now we were at the OXO Tower, yes they used to use it as a cold store many many years ago.  It is now a mixture of shops, flats and a restaurant.
We all discussed that this would be a great place to live (in another life maybe).
The views would be, well, just perfect.
And so dear Readers, I will leave it at that for now.  We were now looking towards Westminster, which means we were on the exciting part of the South Bank with huge amounts of colourful characters and constant fun.  Next week's post dear friends, next week!
Thank you so much for your visits and comments last week on the installation.  I am gradually getting around to acknowledging you all but with GCSE results coming through for Mr Teen (he passed them all!!) and then the enrolment at College, my life has been a little stressful to say the least.  Like I said at the beginning of this post, 'where has the week gone?!'.

I have noticed however that quite a few of you have gone back to 'no reply' bloggers.  This maybe the Google+ thing again of reverting you without telling you, but just to let you know that I have added a contact form in my side bar in case you wanted to get in touch that way.

Have a wonderful weekend and week.

Take care.

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