Welcome to my blog

This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Drapers Hall

This week saw the final of the BBC series 'The Great British Menu' where, this year, chefs competed for the honour of cooking at a banquet to celebrate 100 years of the Women's Institute. The banquet was held at Draper's Hall in London.

During Open House weekend a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to visit the hall. As the name suggests the Drapers' company was involved in the buying and selling of woollen cloth within the City of London (nowadays it administers charitable trusts). The first Royal Charter granted to the Drapers is dated 1364. The company regulated the drapery trade by setting prices, quality standards and oversaw the training of those learning the trade. It protected the trade from rivals outside the City of London. When an order of precedence of the City Companies in 1516, the Drapers position was third after the Mercers and Grocers.

  There has been a Hall on this site since 1543. Destroyed in the Great fire of 1666, rebuilt and destroyed in another fire in 1772. Since then it has been altered and redesigned when necessary.
Walking through the bronze doors of the Throgmorton street entrance you walk down an oak panelled corridor with a stained glass window.

Another window looks out onto the courtyard. The surprise for me was just how big this building is once you enter those doors.

Staircase and Landing

The Court Dining Room

The Livery Hall (where the Women's Institute Banquet was held)

All along the corridor are a selection of royal charters and grants of arms dating back to 1364!

The Drawing Room

From one of the windows you can see some of the modern buildings that surround Drapers' Hall.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Above the Underground at Debden

This is the 3rd station I have visited on the Central Line and although not as attractive as the previous two, it had one or two surprises for me. Read more here

Thursday, 8 October 2015

RSS Discovery

 On a dull, drizzly morning the Royal Research Ship Discovery came inland for the first time yesterday. It is moored alongside HMS Belfast in the Thames close to Tower Bridge. Its arrival has been timed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The National Environment Research Council.

 This is the 4th ship of this name, the first being the one that carried Shackleton and Scott in 1901, on a successful expedition to the Antarctic and can still be seen in its home in Dundee, Scotland. 

Discovery provides access to the global ocean from the tropics to the poles, underpinning the UK's leadership in marine science. As well as conducting more traditional marine research, she can deploy NOC's innovative underwater equipment such as the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Isis and Autosub autonomous submersibles.
(Information from  NERC website)

It did provide a couple of interesting reflections on such a grey day

Sharing with James at  Weekend Reflections

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Shooting Star

As part of the London Design Festival last month, British sculptor Alex Chinneck designed this upside down electricity pylon.

It was made specifically for this site on the Greenwich Peninsula because of its connection with an industrial past and  the modern Canary Wharf buildings as a back drop

A bullett from a shooting star contains 450 pieces of stell with over 1000 engineered connection points.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Knole Park NT # 28

Knole Park is the last medieval deer park in Kent and is home to a 350 strong wild herd. The deer are descendants from those hunted by Henry VIII and roam freely on the 1000 acres of parkland.

I arranged to meet up with an old college friend here so we could explore Knole House together. As I was early I wandered around the magnificent grounds breathing in the scenery.

The main house is owned and managed by the National Trust (from 1946) but a substantial part of the property, land and gardens is still owned and lived in by the Sackville family. I had not done my homework when I suggested meeting V here as one, it is not disabled friendly and two, the gardens are only open to the public on a Tuesday and today was Thursday! However we still had a good time not least because I directed her into the disabled car park and stood waiting by the driver's door to help her out. So what you might think! Well unfortunately it was not her car, nor her driving, just some poor lady terrified of opening the car door because this strange woman was standing there waiting! V was in another parking space watching and wondering what on earth I was doing. From then on we couldn't stop laughing.

Knole began life as a medieval manor until Bourchier, the Archbishop of Canterbury bought the 12th cent estate in 1456 and converted it into the building we see today.
It wasn't long before Henry VIII desired it and was given it as a gift. It remained in the hands of Royalty until 1603 when Thomas Sackville purchased the freehold and it has remained in that family ever since.

You enter Knole through this stone gatehouse leading you into a courtyard. There is a second gatehouse to the inner courtyard around which are the main staterooms.

Photography is not allowed in the staterooms so I cannot show you the vast collections of textiles, silver, portraits and royal furniture which are on display. As Lord Chamberlain. Charles Sackville could take his pick of unwanted royal furnishings. As no new monarch ever wanted reminders of previous monarchs he was able to take virtually all the royal Stuart furniture from Windsor Castle and Hampton Court Palace. It is said the Knole house now has the largest collection of royal Stuart furniture in the world.

The orangery was the only building I could photograph.

I did take a couple of sneaky photos of the Great staircase.