Sweetbriar Dreams

So where shall we go on our journey today?

Friday, 12 September 2014

The Tall Ships Regatta at Greenwich, London

For those dear Readers who have followed me for a while, you will know how dear to me Greenwich, London is.  It's my happy place, an area filled with nothing but sweet and smiling memories that tend to kiss your cheeks as you walk around the old buildings with the distant voices of past family members speaking to you and sharing your journey.  How I wished my dear Grandad was still with us just imparting his knowledge of this area with such enthusiasm and deepest love.  In my mind he was walking with me, Mumsy, Miss Teen and her friend Miss B.  I would have loved to have kept saying, 'Hey, do you remember...?', 'Why was this place called...?' and a million other questions, but instead, I just calmly kept talking to him in my thoughts.  So, Grandad, are you with me?  As you kept saying when we came out of the foot tunnel 'Where shall we go on our journey today? Do you remember?  Well, let's just stay near Greenwich beach and watch the sails come along the misty River Thames.  Does this remind you of your childhood watching the ships come in laden with exotic spices and food from across the seas?
The misty and darker skies can't dampen our spirits, along with the hordes of people that are visiting the Tall Ships Regatta.  Grandad, have you ever seen Greenwich so busy?  I can imagine many many years ago that this was a regular sight.
The romance and beauty of these ships hide the hard work and cramped conditions taken on by those on board.
You knew how I used to love to look at the bare bones of things, what was beneath the surface.  To see the masts, the ropes, the gathered up sails, is such a treat today.
Just standing here made me think of all the times I have stood here before with you by my side and Grandma smiling.
One by one, each ship passes, just like the years we enjoyed together.
Each one being different.
Each one bringing with it sweet memories to savour.
Just carrying on with their journey.
Different views through time.
With ropes showing the different pathways that we took along the way.
Can you remember the times we used to stand here and look across at the Isle of Dogs as the redevelopment was going through the motions over the years?
Then walking into the Painted Hall and looking at the ceiling from the mirror on wheels to save my neck becoming stiff?
And then there was our favourite place, The Queen's House.
Can you remember when me and Grandma got told off for eating our liver sausage and cucumber sandwiches on the terrace here?  Just one bench placed with such a beautiful view, why waste it?
Well, here is the idea that we obviously gave them for this empty place... afternoon tea!
Can you remember when we used to climb the tulip staircase and you used to tell me about the ghost that frequented it?
Then looking over the bannister on the first floor to the beautiful hall beneath us.  Our hands had touched this so many times.
The mesmerising geometric shapes.
 And the familiar statues.
The happy views across to the Royal Naval College.
And then, a painting.  A painting that means so much to both me and Mumsy.  The last time I stood in front of it, you were with me.  This was hard, so so hard that you were only with me in spirit this time.  But, there it was, in an empty room just waiting for me to teach your little game in front of it.
Were you smiling when I said 'right girls, walk left, walk right - see their eyes follow you?'
Now, go to the top of the room, see how long the table is?  Now walk closer, see it shrink?
The Somerset House Conference was painted in 1604 and I was so worried that this was no longer part of the collection.  Grandad, it is still there and now your grandaughter knows the game to pass on to her offspring!
It is lunch time now and time to just sit in Greenwich Park and have a little picnic.  We are happy with a burger and soft drink, however nearby it was Champagne and M&S picnic food!  A far cry from our liver sausage and cucumber sandwiches from times gone by!
A last walk along these cobbled stones under the Queen's House.  How many times did we walk along these, gradually wearing our shoe leather out?
And there's Mumsy, sitting on a bench in the same spot we used to sit at.  Your daughter had not sat here since she was a teenager and was so happy to be here once again.
The view from the bench hasn't changed!
But let's go and do some people watching!  The Naval Officer...
The colourful marching crew...
The skipper shouting his orders...
And, no, is it?... or in Miss Teen's words 'It's J, J, J, J'... couldn't get the words out... speechless.  It's Jack Sparrow, or could it actually be Mr Johnny Depp!!!  We could only wish, but Grandad, he was brilliant and looked, sounded and acted just like him!  He even gave Miss Teen a bit of a show for her to film and blew her a kiss at the end!
But it was nearing the end and time to say our farewells.   The Cutty Sark in its renewed glory was something you didn't get to see, but would have loved to have witnessed.  Also a spot of entertainment to make you smile.
Still looking beautiful and again your knowledge would have been let loose around here.
So Grandad, we will be back soon to walk with you, but until then, may we leave you smiling with Grandma by your side at the bench in the place we used to sit.
The photos this week had to be edited a bit due to the misty weather which was unfortunate, but it was an amazing day and one that I would love to go to again.  We will be back at Greenwich soon and hopefully a more sunny day, but if you want to see Greenwich in its full glory, please read my post here on a sunnier day.

Can I also say at the end of this very long post, thank you so much for your wonderful birthday wishes, you are all so lovely!

Have a wonderful weekend and week.

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  1. I so loved your pictures. You really do have a wonderful blog.

  2. Chel, this is such a sweet and touching post dedicated to your Grandad. What a lovely time you had reminiscing your last visit here with your dear grandfather. Thank you for sharing with us. Hugs. Pam

  3. Hi Chel, wow what a great post of Greenwhich, London! I love all the ships and the photos are magnificent! It was such a nice tribute to your grandad! It is so nice that you have so much to see and do and always include us in your travels and day trips! Glad you had a nice birthday! Take care and enjoy the weekend and next week.
    Julie xoxo

  4. Beautiful letter to your Grandad. Your's is the third blog I have read today from people that have visited Greenwich in the last week.

  5. Oh, to be in England!

    And if that isn't Johnny, it is his clone! WOW!


    Sheila :-)

  6. This post warmed my heart! What amazing memories you have of your Grandad! And the adventures you went on were so wonderful! That painting is one of my favorites! And those ships are so glorious in their grandness!!! Thank you for taking us along with you....I have no doubt that your Grandad was with you on your journey! Nicole xo

  7. Beautiful post, Chel. Long live your grandad's memories! :o)

  8. The tall ships are spectacular, whatever the weather.

  9. I was not able to get out to see the ships, so many thanks for the post you have taken some great pics of them

  10. Great post and stunning photos of the ships, what a great day..
    Amanda xx

  11. beautiful pictures and beautiful reading….. thank you !!!!!
    xxxxxx ale

  12. Gorgeous pics, Chel! And such vivid memories of such a beautiful place. I am sure your grand dad was with every step of the way, too! I've never seen Greenwich on any of my 5 visits to London. I think I'll make it a priority when my daughter and I visit in March!!

  13. Wonderful, entertaining post Chel. I love the old sailing ships and you captured some great pics of them together with the Thames River area, and of course Greenwich. I love visiting there always.

    Hugs - Mary

  14. Oh how I enjoyed this walk around Greenwich with you and your granddad! One of my favorites yet. These photos are phenomenal...how I would love to visit such a gorgeous place. What is the dome shaped building in the background of one of the photos? Looks to be mirrored...maybe a greenhouse? Just curious..:) Have a lovely Sunday!

    Blessings, Vicky

    1. Ha ha, not a greenhouse, this is an amazing piece of engineering which houses the lift shaft and stairs to take you down into the Greenwich Foot Tunnel. From one side of the river you go into this Victorian building and can then walk under the Thames to the other side. It runs from Greenwich to Canary Wharf. If you go to my previous post on Greenwich you will see a shot of inside the tunnel. It is dark, and a little leaky now, but a quick way to get from Greenwich to the Isle of Dogs. Take care my friend xx

  15. Such a beautiful and poignant post. Loved the photos. And fancy seeing Jack - sorry Capt - Sparrow ;)


  16. Love this!! Thanks for the smiles. If you ever get to Boston, you must visit the USS Consititution aka Old Ironside. Again, thanks for the photos..and the smiles. Blessings

  17. Wow! What a wonderful blog, and such lovely memories of your Grandad, thank you for sharing something so beautiful and so personal. No.2 son and I didn't get to Greenwich as the riverboats had over an hours delay, and we had tickets for Twickenham! But we saw the amazing Poppies at the Tower, had a rather enjoyable wander around Borough Market, and then watched a rather bad game of Rugby, from the last but one row, up in the Gods!! (we lost!!) but it was total fun!!! Afterwards headed back up to town for a night-time wander and a late tea in The Rainforest Café, which was different!!! So a marvellous day in London Town!!!! I love the old Thames Barges, I used to work near Malden in Essex and loved walking along the Blackwater to see the huge Barges. So glad you had such a good day, even if the weather was a bit grotty! X

  18. Oh, Chel, I write this with misty eyes as I travel along with you and your Dear Grandfather in spirit. A lovely journey, with such sweet memories of the beautiful scenes and places of your heart. The tall ships are indeed a treasure - genuine works of art, and I can't imagine the knowledge required to build, sail, and maintain these amazing vessels. How wonderful to have these memories and thank you so much for sharing and taking us along. Hugs to you, xo Karen

  19. Oh I loved this visit! I envy you your sweet memories of your granddad walking around with you, filling you in on on the beautiful sights. The sailing ships are just amazing. Thanks for sharing!

  20. I enjoyed visiting and reading such fond memories of your granddad. I wish I could have seen mine more, but the little bits of time I had with him was special and so memorable.
    Wonderful ships , such beauties.

  21. Wonderful images, Chel, and no small wonder that you find the place so evocative; you really put your heart into this. It is wonderful that you have these memories to treasure; an enormous privilege, really. Looks like you had a fabulous day. And you remind me that it is a long time since I visited Greenwich - so many places, so little time!!

  22. What lovely images, all those elegant masts and the memories attached to your photos. That spiral staircase with decorative banisters is breathtaking!

  23. What an amazing adventure you shared. I've so longed to see the "Tall Ships" like that (probably never will though) but I enjoyed each and everyone of your gorgeous photos of them. Your post was filled with lots of great stuff. That staircase was fabulous. Thanks for sharing.

  24. What a wonderful day in Greenwich. Your narration including the conversation with your Grandad is lovely and a tribute to the special times you shared with him. Tall ships are so full of romance. I enjoy seeing them come into the harbour here, too, on occasion.

  25. Beautiful photos, and I enjoyed your narrative. I saw some of the tall ships this weekend, too, at St. Katherine's Docks. They are something to see!

  26. What a great series of photos and post. The tall ships are my favorite, they are beautiful to see. Thanks for sharing, have a happy new week!

  27. Such wonderful memories. I enjoyed reading your post very much. Maybe one day we'll bump into one another in Greenwich.

  28. Wow! Know your GrandDad was with you ~ Marvelous photography and can see why 'it is your happy place'! Love the Johnny Dep one ~ great photos for OWT!

    artmusedog and carol (A Creative Harbor)

  29. Wonderful shots of the boats and building.

  30. ah, i bet your granddad was with you in spirit
    such beautiful ships and it looks like you had a wonderful time

  31. We had a great day out at Greenwich when we were in London - H (my son) wanted to do the one foot in the East and West hemisphere thing!

    M25 issue caused by late night writing, dyslexia and a failure to proof read well!!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  32. That staircase shot....sigh. It's beautiful...could you imagine it in black and white?


  33. Wow!
    Thank you for taking us around your happy place. :) It's very charming.

    We can see you miss your grand dad so much. Hugs to you.

  34. What a wonderful post! The Tall Ships were in Helsinki last year. It was such an impressive event I couldn't help publishing several posts on it in July 2013. I know your bench (when we visited a couple of years ago the benches - or at least the one I shot - were facing away from the colonnade) but the painting is a fascinating detail I must check next time. The pirate does show a striking resemblance to Johnny. Must be thanks to the great makeup, unless...


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