Sweetbriar Dreams

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Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The Smoky and Icy London Docklands

Last Friday evening I was itching to put together a post for you all on our trip to London again but tiredness overcame me and the photocard was put to the side to rest until Saturday.  Then... 


I suffer with hemiplegic migraines which are painful, draining and crippling, so here I am three days later and still feeling completely empty.  I don't know what triggered this one so I apologise that I haven't kept up to date with blog reading and commenting but my head now feels like I have stuffed toy crammed in and it's just fluff!

Right, enough of the self pity!

So, this trip was a visit to the London Docklands to take Miss Teen and Miss B ice skating.  I didn't take my usual camera with me but instead took little Pixie.  I have to say that I missed my usual camera and felt as though I had lost my right arm.

I had promised Miss Teen that I would take her ice skating before Christmas but we just didn't get the time.  So, I heard about the ice rink at London Docklands... and they were still open!  With this being where I spent a lot of my childhood and only a hop, skip and a quick swim from my favourite Greenwich, it was time to relive some of my happier times.  However, long gone are the decaying warehouses and holes in the ground where new buildings were going to be built for the regeneration.  In their place, buildings of steel instead of ships of steel.

My childhood was this place.  Way back then it was full of abandoned warehouses and wharves along with old housing and the remnants of damaged buildings from the War.  Now it is full of high rise modern architecture, people in suits and property that is beyond most people's reach.  In my Grandad's words 'do they realise they are living in what was a slum!'.  Well, those slums have gone and just one cramped property would buy my lovely house four times over - are they mad?!!   Skyscrapers have risen up making the area seem claustrophobic.

The grey and glass architecture, individual in their own way but still grey and glass.

Each window with a light behind and no doubt huge amounts of work being exchanged from desktop to desktop.

And huge clouds on the entrances to each building.  Huge clouds of cigarette smoke (I'm sorry to those of you who smoke but... My word!  There must have been about 50 - 100 people by each entrance to these towers, and the air was uncomfortably thick and choking.  I have never experienced this before.

Sorry again to those of you who smoke, but you would also have been shocked too.

Getting away from this area, we went up to the fountain on Cabot Square to get our bearings.

And then at the foot of the towers, the Ice Rink!

Miss Teen and Miss B went straight to the ice skates and were ready!

The rink itself consisted of the main ice rink area and a sculpture in the middle where I enjoyed watching the reflections of the skaters going past onto the pathways that off shoot from the main area.

Such a place to skate!

Perfect for the old, young, and polar bear!

With the girls enjoying their skating for an hour, they were perfectly happy afterwards to join me to cross over to visit The Museum of London Docklands.  You cross over to West India Quay,where the new buildings still surround you, but then some older structures come into play.

You turn around and then... the old warehouses!

At the end of these wonderful historical structures, the Museum of London Docklands...

A place that my Grandad spent many, many, many hours researching, archiving, writing, along with so many others to ensure that the Museum could be created.  I took little Pixie camera in with me and then wished I hadn't as the shots I took were terrible.  So, Miss Teen suggested to go and visit the Museum of London instead.  A VERY good idea!  Off we went to the DLR station nearby to set off on a short journey to St Pauls Tube Station.

No matter how many times I see this building I can never be tired of it!

A short walk and we were at the entrance to the Museum of London.  Now, if you are ever here, please please come to this Museum!  It is on many floors, and packed with amazing artefacts.  I will be going back very soon with my other camera so that I can share this place properly with you, but if you go to the 'People's City' part and ask one of the guides where the war room is with the suspended bomb, sit in the room and listen to the actual accounts of Londoners during the Blitz.  Then, towards the end you will hear a calming man speak about St Pauls during the Blitz and then silence... silence as photos of St Pauls in the burning flames of the City are shown.  The man speaking... my Grandad.

Are you still with me?!  This post is a bit up and down, and I do apologise but I am not quite myself this week.  Hopefully all will be back to normal next time.

Until then, welcome to some lovely new followers and thank you all for your wonderful comments from last week.

Enjoy your week and keep upbeat and healthy!!

Take care.

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  1. Only ever been to London a couple of times; once with school and the second time to visit the Canadian consulate to have our "interview" for emigrating. Need to have a visit to see all those lovely sights and museums that you mentioned.

  2. Hi Chel, How meaningful to hear your Grandfather doing the narration. I enjoyed your Docklands and Museum photos. I actually like seeing old and new architecture together in a city. The old has such charm and the new has such glitz! I have never seen ice skates with a high heel before! Hope your head feels better soon.

  3. Oh, I know what you mean! I use to get terrible migraines. But for some reason haven't in a few years. I think I took Maxalt for them, and it was terribly expensive. Take care of yourself!

  4. So sorry ,just hope you feel better very soon.
    That is wonderful that your grandfather did this .What would he think now after almost 75 years later ?
    Wish I could hear my grandfathers voice again, loved him so much. Thanks for taking us along.

  5. I hope you feel a lot better really soon, Chel. Lovely photos - as always. :o)

  6. How fabulous to hear your grandad speak Chel!
    I recognise some of the pictures having worked around Docklands for a while
    Get well soon x

  7. How fascinating, Chel! I love learning all this stuff and when I come to London, I'll reference this post. I am so sorry that you've been suffering from the horrible M. Good girl, I hope you are much better soon.

  8. Sorry to hear your not feeling well hope you feel better soon nothing worse then a constant thumping head . Nice photos , Sad about all the smokers killing the air close to the buildings over here it is illegal to smoke near the entrances or even on the side walk or an out door patio in a public park or a play ground . I was a smoker and now a days I cant stand it , it stinks , I cant figure out for the life of me how I did then or anyone else did around me YUK ! Thanks for sharing , Have a good week !

  9. Oh Chel! I know your pain! I, too, am a migraine sufferer and I know how debilitating they can be. I am glad you are feeling more yourself after a few days of down time! London is such a city of contrasts - historic old St. Pauls and modern glass and steel buildings reaching to the sky! Afton and I plan on visiting the Museum of London Docklands (I have never been!) and then I am taking her to see the main Museum of London as well. It is one of my favourites! Apparently there is a small Paddington Bear display that we both want to see as well as all of the old relics of London past.
    By the way... do you still want to meet up? We haven't discussed it in awhile.....feel no obligation either! : )

  10. Wow Chel I loved this tour you took us on of the Docklands. So glad your daughter and friend enjoyed the skating. I love the old and new buildings! Thank you for taking us out with you. So sorry to hear that you have been suffering from migrane headaches. Do take it easy. Big hug to you!
    Julie xo

  11. How lovely to hear your grandad's voice at the Museum of London, I really would love to go there on my next visit to London. I have to admit that I do love all the old traditional buildings and although all those modern ones are very sleek, there's a coldness about them. So sorry to hear that you sometimes suffer from debilating migraine. The girls had fun at the ice-rink in their blue high-heeled skating boots! Your small camera did a great job of all the architectural shots!

  12. That is amazing, about your grandad, telling his story at the Museum of London. I love the Museum of London and have sat in that room listening to Londoners. So very moving. I made a film with older people from Deptford, no so very far away from Docklands. They told stories of the 1940s & 50s about their lives in SE London. It was such a pivilege. Stories of the Second World War, working in local factories, going to dances. Next time I'm back at the Museum of London, I will stay until the end of the film and listen to your Grandad.

  13. Dearest Chel...oh! I'm just so sorry you experienced a terrible migrane! I have a slight headache today and feel pretty gloomy, so I can only imagine how horrid you must have felt!
    On the brighter side, these photies of yours of the buildings are wonderful - thank you for sharing a glimpse of London with us! And I would just love to visit that museum someday!
    Glad the ladies enjoyed their ice skating!
    Hoping the rest of your week will be beautiful and that you feel much better!
    Hugs and love, Kelly-Anne

  14. Whenever I have been ice skating I have hardly left the edge - gripping tightly to the barrier. Must admit that for me this is the best way tp visit a big city as in real life it would overwhelm

  15. Wonderful architecture and I love ice skating. A long time ago I skated on the rink in Southampton, but in London must be lovely. But in this post you mention something I hate: migraine. I have it sometimes three days after another and don't want to talk about it. Let's enjoy the pleasures of life, haha.

  16. Wow What great pictures, I love ice skating and what a great setting to do it!, it's been a long time since I was in London/Docklands, so many new buildings, I do love the Museum of London and remember it well. xx

  17. Hello Chel,
    Very good shots of this city.
    Great to see that wonderful buildings. Shot 12 and 13 are nice with the old kranes and a cozy place for a drink.
    Nice that icerink.

    Many greetings,

  18. Great varied post, Chel. And your photos are absolutely fine. I well remember the development of Canary Wharf - I was involved in some work there in the relatively early days. I didn't realise your grandad's connection with museums - you must be SOOO proud! I will be as respectful as possible when I eventually post about the Museum of London!

  19. Hello Chel, thank you for another interesting post, you didn't want to join the teens skating? We have a rink here and I have been a few times, but I'm losing my confidence now! I know there is a place for steel, glass and chrome, and some of it does look very nice, but I do like the old fashioned buildings, the warehouses are lovely. I hope you will soon be feeling much better x

  20. How wonderful that you have that connection with your granddad at the museum. I went there many years ago, and I remember I enjoyed my visit. It's interesting to hear about Canary Wharf pre-skyscrapers, as they really do dominate the place, don't they? Looks like you had a fun day out :)
    Cathy x

  21. If I ever get to London, I will definitely go and listen to your granddad! How neat. I will avoid the clouds of cigarette smoke though as I detest it! Yuck! Looks like your daughter and her friend had fun skating. I hope your migraines have subsided. I have had migraines 3-4 times recently which is unusual for me. Have a blessed rest of the week my friend!

    Hugs, Vicky

  22. Hello lovely friend! Thank you so much for the delightful tour - every time I see pictures of England I want to jump on a plane and come visit you. Some day, my friend, some day....

    I am so sorry about your migraines :( I have a 14-year-old nephew who suffers from them and it just breaks my heart to see anyone suffer from them.

    Thinking of you, my friend. Hugs and blessings!

  23. This was a wonderful post, full of amazing pictures and interesting information. How lovely that your Grandad was so involved with the museum, making your visits there even more special. I hope to go there too, someday. So sorry about your migraine...so debilitating......hope you feel much better and enjoy the weekend.
    Helen xox

  24. Wow, what a beautiful post. Amazing, just amazing how your Grandad was so involved. I hope we can make it to, London someday.
    I will be praying for you to feel better soon.
    xx oo

  25. I'm so sorry to hear you're a migraine sufferer. My stepmom used to be plagued with those things. I pray you find a cure or treatment and never suffer again.
    Even though I'm not a fan of Skyscrapers, it's a big improvement on the slums. I hope the new construction is a good indication that the English economy is improving.
    I would LOVE to visit the Museum. And how wonderful to have your grandfather's voice recorded. You must be very proud.
    Hope you and Coco have a blessed day and stay healthy. ~:)

  26. Chell, Thanks for sharing, what a wonderful day trip. Sorry about that headache, I just had one due to the temps 26 below zero to 28 above Weather is nuts. I used to take my Daughter skating. yvonne

  27. Another great tour, Chel! So interesting to hear about your grandfather.
    Hope you're feeling a bit better, a hug for you.

  28. I love the picture where we have a glimpse of Saint Paul's. Hope you'll feel better soon.

  29. Hi Chel, I am catching up on visiting because I get migraine's, too! Oh, aren't they terrible?! They do throw you off for a few days - I have to lie down for a solid 24 hours....and the pain, well, I don't have to tell you! It must be wonderful to go back to this place of dear memories, but with so many changes it must be a challenge to them, although it is still very beautiful. I haven't been ice skating since I was a young girl, but I did love to skate with that wonderful feeling of flying on the ice. How very wonderful to hear your dear Grandfather's voice in the museum he worked so hard for - it must surely tug at your heartstrings to hear it. You must be very proud. Hugs xo Karen

  30. Checked out your Pixie, I've got one of those too (IXUS 95) in my armoury although I just carry it for social nights as it's marginally better than my phone camera. It has it's drawbacks but personally I wouldn't dispose of it.
    St Pauls is like a breath of fresh air in that part of town. I remember when I visited London a lot, I systematically picked off the tourist attractions. The Museum of London was an interesting place but on a saturday it was stuck in the middle of a ghost town. It was unfortunate that there weren't many people in that day and a long walk back to the comforting sight and people of St Pauls.

  31. Ho wonderful to hear your Grandad talking! I've book marked for my days out folder! X


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