Sweetbriar Dreams

So where shall we go on our journey today?

Friday, 31 May 2013

I Promised You London

You may have read this earlier in the weekend, but something went wrong with the post I put together on Saturday and it completely disappeared, so I am trying to put this back together from memory.  So annoying, but hey ho, these things are sent to try us!  Ok, rant over!  Here we go...again!

I love visiting my home town of London and plan these trips with the teenagers well in advance.  This is mainly because I had a wonderful Grandad who knew every inch of the City due to his day job during World War II which helped him by night as he was a fire fighter during these hours.  I try to remember everything he taught me and pass this information on to my two, but his knowledge was so great that we usually ended up with a following believing he was a guide!  We had decided to visit the Science Museum (this ended up as being briefly), the Victoria and Albert Museum (one floor) and the Natural History Museum was given up right from the start due to the enormous queues going down the road.  So, we got back on the Piccadilly Line to Green Park as we use this as a base due to it being near Buckingham Palace which is a good start if you are touring the Square Mile.  So, in true marathon post style, please grab yourself a glass of Pimms and a punnet of strawberries and join us on our journey in the City I call HOME!  We will start at the Victoria Memorial looking down towards The Mall which was adorned with Union Jacks and getting ready for the Trooping The Colour.
We had decided that we would take a leisurely walk down to Trafalgar Square but just from this ten minute walk you can see so many wonderful London sights.  The stately Big Ben...
Horseguards Parade was being prepared for the Trooping the Colour.
But on when we walked looking at the Union Jacks along the way.
And then, there he was, Nelson, looking towards the Houses of Parliament.
So much cleaner these days compared to the days gone by where there were pigeons everywhere!  
This pigeon was one of the few and he was having a bit of a wash!
Oh the fountains of Trafalgar Square!  Happy New Year's memories.
And this man would have been right at home on those evenings!
We had our lunch while he played to the passing crowds (being careful not to drop any crumbs for fear of being swarmed by the notorious pigeons!).
and also while watching people trying to clamber onto the lions.  These lions are huge and the plinth they lie on is very high, so a suitably tall parent is required to launch the child onto these magnificent creatures.
But after a late lunch we were only half way through our day and the coaches of people were pouring into the square, I have never seen it so busy to the point that even I was uncomfortable, so we decided to take a slow walk back down to Buckingham Palace.  So goodbye Nelson, see you at a quieter time, maybe Autumn.
And back towards The Mall, where taxis were beginning to queue up.  I can remember when they were just black cabs but now they come in all colours and advertising numerous companies.
We passed the memorial to King George VI and the lovely Queen Mother.  I just love the art deco lamps that accompany this memorial.
We had noticed that there were rather a lot of large hats everywhere along with flowery dresses, suits and uniforms.
They were all heading towards Buckingham Palace for the Queen's Garden Party!  These three were cutting a bit of a dash!
But the queue to enter the party was already building up.
And the hats were still arriving!
The soldiers stood on duty as the event started to get underway.
And the armed police stood by as the approved guests were allowed through (I personally would have been straight at the window to straighten the voile out!).
Our time was slipping away and we still needed to walk through Green Park to the station, so it was goodbye Victoria.
...and the crowds still looking for the perfect position to capture the memory of the day.
Goodbye to Buckingham Palace.
And then our walk back through Green Park.  Now this photo is of some clergy walking over to the Garden Party.  It wasn't until I got home and looked through the photos that I realised one of them is a work acquaintance!  Small world!
Amongst all the 'going's on', there was calm!  I could have watched this man for hours as he went through his routine (I think it was Tai Chi?).  Such calm in a busy area.
Now back at Kings Cross I had one more surprise for the Teenagers.  Miss Teenager is a huge Harry Potter fanatic!  Many years ago, when Harry Potter was only really just taking off, I took them to Platform 9 and there in a wall was half a shopping trolley (I need to dig the photo out of the two of them pretending to push this through the wall).  Now that Harry Potter is huge and with the re-fit of Kings Cross, they have made a bigger attraction and have opened up the Harry Potter shop.
This is full of WANDS!
Boxes of them!
Outside there is a more embellished shopping trolley where you can have your picture taken.
They put a scarf around you and someone holds on to the end, you are then asked to jump and there you are, on your way to Hogwart's Express!
We were getting a more modern version as we had run out of 'steam'!.  So now it was time to go home, legs and feet hurting, but very very happy memories once more.  Goodbye Kings Cross, see you again soon.
Phew!  Another marathon post (even harder for me as I have had to re-write it again!).  The next visit to London will be to mine and my late Grandad's favourite place, Greenwich, but that will have to wait until the summer holidays now.

I am going to save this once more and hopefully the 'gremlin' in the system will let this post stay on.

I hope you have had a fantastic weekend and I am looking forward to catching up with you on your posts.  Thank you all so much for your lovely comments, and welcome, welcome to my new followers, I am looking forward to catching up with your posts.

Take care.

Chel xx

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Monday, 27 May 2013

A Packed Day at Burghley House, Stamford

A fact of life here in the UK is that it is law that it rains if it is a bank holiday!  Well, today, shock of shocks, the sun shone, the rain kept away and I am now sitting in my study tapping away on the keyboard for this week's post (a bit late) with skin that is the reddest of reds and burning!  I was totally unprepared and had forgotten that a windy day does not blow away the UV's!!  I warn you now, this is a packed post.  So, grab yourself a cup of tea and an English muffin and settle down to look around the grounds of Burghley House, the most beautiful Tudor mansion you can ever imagine to see and it's Country Fayre.  We were surprised at how much there was to see, so much to experience...and such a long walk!  Ok, are you ready for this marathon of a tour?  Here we go...
Burghley House is ENORMOUS!  The photos really don't do it justice, there are turrets after turrets, exquisite rooms and the grounds are vast.  Flags fly from the ornate roofs...
The gates are adorned with the family crest...
Such an entrance...
However, today we were skirting around the building and venturing onto the grounds for the Fayre. The beautiful blue sky with its fluffy white clouds and vapour trails were matched by the blue and white tents that were dotted around the acres and acres of craft, animal and food shows.  Everywhere we looked, there was something of interest and what a backdrop!
So with the sky so blue, the wind blowing the flags and good thoughts over us all, we started our journey around the Fayre.
We headed to the main ring and watched the horses racing a car.  These great horses did their very best to beat the car around their courses with people shouting for either contender.
The horses won a couple of times but that was mainly with two horses and a lot of shouting from behind!
Now, have you ever heard of horse boarding?  We hadn't so we were fascinated to see this.  The horse gallops with the rider and right behind is a skate boarder being pulled along.  This was very competitive between the teams, but shall we start with a nice easy one?  This one, with the most gorgeous designed ear warmers, was a newcomer (this explains the slack line between horse and boarder, and the smile on the rider's face).  They were the slowest but they will become faster the more they practice.
Then there were the experienced ones.  This horse was brilliant and extremely fast, but then again the horse was Lord Atterbury (who came third in the Grand National in 2004)!
So fast, that his boarder (the dead pigeon team...which is why he has a stuffed pigeon on his helmet) couldn't keep his balance on the bend and down he went to the shock of the crowd.
Boarder was ok and went round again with another (slower) horse.
Towards the end they really were shouting the horses on to get through the finishing line to beat their opponents.
While this went on, the majestic Burghley House stood in the background surveying this wonderful event and so many happy people enjoying the day.
Then the noise of horses hooves and whinnying was replaced by the power of engines!  The stunt team had arrived.  This started with Aaron Stannage on a pedal bike, seemed tame enough, but what he was demonstrating was that he was a Guinness World Record Holder for the longest bicycle wheelie.
Then the rest of the stunt team started making their appearances.
Aaron Stannage back, but on a more powerful bike...
...and jumping over cars and jeeps.
His mum was set fire to by his dad!
But they did put her out!
And for a finale, Aaron went up to the top of a tower...
...and jumped onto a great big marshmallow (well, that's what I imagined it to be!).
Once this excitement had finished, we went for a walk to one of the lakes to seek out a slower pace of life, times gone by, when steam was the fastest mode of transport (apart from the horse).
These dinky little steam engines were all over the place taking people for rides.
The lions on the beautiful stone bridge were very majestic.
And the view through the side of the bridge looking over to the house was mesmerizing.
Can you tell I love taking photos of this house?!!  On the other side of the bridge there was more entertainment.  For the dogs there was the fun part of trying to get your owner into the river too...such fun!
The more I look at that photo, the more I see, the girl on the left trying her best to keep her shoes dry, the elderly man resting on the grass absorbing the life going on around him and the spaniel right on the edge of shot about to run off down the river to the anglers to see what goodies they have for him.  Capturing everyday life is great!
Then in the distance, people learning how to clay pigeon shoot (shot a bit grainy but 'Val' was over her capacity on the zoom function, they were 'miles' away!).
Patient dogs waiting to have their turn to show the spectators what they can do...
...and excited dogs getting their chance.
I couldn't resist taking this shot when we went back past the steam engines.  I never knew petrol cans could look so colourful!
And for those who read my posts regularly, you will know I do love a medieval re-enactment!

The sound of clashing swords is always a head turner to me.
The red head beat him, good on you girl!  I loved this fighter's helmet.
Now, remember a few weeks ago I went to Sandringham's Show?  Do you remember the chain saw sculptures? (post here).  Well they were here too.  We noticed in particular the interesting one that had been carving the wizard type man.  Well, he is continuing with this one (started in the Sandringham post).
What is he working on?...The hands.
And this sculptor is beginning to work on a bear.
What a wonderful and skilled craft!  Well, we had been there for five hours without even realising it and it was time to head home.  Past the stately Burghley House.
Past the stable area.
And home for tea, all bought from the Fayre...Cottage loaf, orange and whisky cheese (which was so, so, so yum!), chunky steak pie, pork and black pudding pie and pork and caramelized red onion pie...yes a "ploughmans" was in order with a huge mug of tea!
Phew!  Got to the end of this post and I hope you have enjoyed your trip with me this week.  If ever you come to this area, Burghley House MUST be on your list.  It is steeped in history both centuries past up to the modern day.  

Thank you all for your comments last week on the new arrival of my nephew 'JT'.  We travelled down to Essex on Saturday to have cuddles and he is adorable.  It seems that there are a lot of babies arriving in Blogland so congratulations to you if you have a new addition!

I hope you have a wonderful week, I certainly will with having time off to spend with Mr and Miss Teenager over the half term break.  Now to re-charge my batteries and set off on the next trip...my home town of LONDON!!

Take care.

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