9th August 2017

The rain stopped for long enough yesterday for us to fit in a visit to Bath. It threatened all day, but we managed to stay dry – it was pretty cold, though. Coats were the order of the day.

Bath is lovely. It’s a bit difficult to photograph though, because it’s all around you. What do you choose? Obviously there are some very significant  buildings like the Abbey and Royal Crescent, but the charm of the city is all around you all the time. All the buildings are of Bath stone – even the modern ones, so the old blends with the new. You couldn’t be anywhere else. You really have to be in it to experience it.

The first thing you see is Bath Abbey:

We started with the tourist bus, as always. There are 2 bus routes around Bath for the one price – the City and the Skyline. The Skyline route takes you to the outskirts of the city where there is lots of interest. We learnt all about Ralph Allen, an entrepreneur and philanthropist,  who made his money in Bath first of all by reforming the postal system and then made a further fortune marketing Bath stone.

He built a huge house for himself, Prior Park, of Bath stone, situated  on a hill that overlooks the town. As he said ‘to see all Bath and for all Bath to see’. (not my picture as we couldn’t see the front of the house from the bus):

He is commemorated not only by the house, but by a road called Ralph Allen Drive and Ralph Allen School. In 1738 he gave the money and the stone for the building of The Mineral Water Hospital – now the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases.

We saw where Jane Austen lived and where she took her morning walks on her ‘gravel path’.  She set two of her books in Bath – Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. I’ve never read Northanger Abbey, so it’s probably a good time to start it – which I have done. Free on Kindle…

In the park in the city centre is a planted quote from Jane Austen:

Planted quote

After lunch (found a cafe doing a low carb all day breakfast – yay!!), we went off to see the things we wanted to get a closer look at.

First was The Assembly Rooms. I’ve heard this building referred to so many times in all the period novels I read, but never knew what it looked like or where it was situated, so it was fascinating to be in there. The outside of the building:

Assembly Rooms

Some magnificent chandeliers from inside the rooms:

Here are some better pictures (not mine) of how the rooms would have looked thronged with people in Austen’s and the same room today:

Image result for bath assembly rooms images Image result for bath assembly rooms images

People would often arrive at the Rooms by sedan chair – carried on poles by one man in front and one behind. This is an old chair minus its poles:

Sedan Chair

Floor plan of the rooms:

Image result for assembly rooms bath

Then we went off to see the Royal Crescent which is just a short walk away. Absolutely stunning:

Royal Crescent

And the entrance to No.1 Royal Crescent which you can go into:

No 1 Royal Crescent

The houses have 5 stories – from the kitchens, scullery, servants hall and housekeepers room in the basement, right up to the servants sleeping areas in the attics. The attics are the only part not open to the public. This particular house was bought by a Henry Sandford who lived here alone after his wife died. Subsequently it was used as a school and then as individual lodgings with suitable alterations having been made to suit each purpose. In 1968 it was bought by Mr Bernard Cayzer who supported its restoration as a historic house and the headquarters of the Bath Preservation Trust.

The last stop on our list was the Roman Baths. We’d seen a very long queue in the morning and thought we may not have time for it if we had to stand in a queue like that, but returning at 4 o’clock, we just walked straight in. Good decision!

This is a fascinating visit. There’s a scale model of the site as it would have been in Roman times and you can go down and see the what remains of this. Some parts are very recognisable such as the entrance to the temple and the altar – which was outside in the courtyard in front of the temple.

The main bath:

Roman Bath

Part of the exhibition shows the spring water flowing in. There are 42 different minerals in the water. The Romans apparently spotted the steam rising from the ground when they were up in the hills exploring the area. They had no idea about all of the minerals, they just knew that the more they bathed in the water the better they felt. Interestingly, Bath is built on 7 hills like Rome. The picture below shows how the minerals in the water have turned the rock bright orange.

Mineral water

And, lastly a novelty – loved these umbrellas which were over a couple of streets in the town. Very appropriate for the weather we’re having here…

Umbrellas

It’s still raining here today. I wonder will it stop before we leave?

 

 

2nd August 2017

We’ve been here a week today and so far the rain has rarely stopped – and most of the time it’s been torrential, so we haven’t done much. There are some lovely walks around here – and a hot tub in the garden, but it’s too wet to contemplate either at the moment.  l like being outside, but I’m definitely a fair weather girl! There was a bit of a break in the weather yesterday, so we went to Oxford. What a lovely day out – Oxford is so beautiful. But before I move on to talk about that, there are a few catch-up pictures from the boys’ christening and some of the house we are staying in.

Here is everybody dressed in their finery for the day:

The house we are staying in is gorgeous. A cottage and decorated accordingly. Not sure how old it is or if it has any history. Tona, if you read this, maybe you can fill me in. You certainly have a good eye for what works. Love the cutlery – appeals to my patchworker’s heart. Because of the rain we’ve spent a lot of time indoors, so it’s been lovely to be in such a pretty, comfortable and relaxing environment.  I’ve had a learning curve in cooking on an Aga – which I’m enjoying. Another little experience I can put down to our travels.

Here are some shots of the house:

So, because the weather gave us a break, yesterday we visited Oxford. What a lovely day we had. We did get rained on while sitting on the top of the tourist bus, but we took that opportunity to have lunch and when we’d finished the rain had stopped and it was dry and reasonably sunny.

Oxford, with its cobbled streets,

Cobbled street

History, old buildings curiosities and stunning architecture….

…. is worth a day of anybody’s time.

The first thing we did was climb the Carfax Tower. 99 narrow steps up a spiral staircase. We do always seem to end up climbing a tower somewhere. The location of the Carfax Tower represents the ancient heart of Oxford where the four roads from the North, South, East and West gates of the city met. The name Carfax derives from the Latin quadri-furcus (four forked), or the Norman French ‘quatre vois’ (four ways.

Carfax Tower

Views from the top of the tower:

Then we did the full circuit of the tourist bus. There was so much information to give out that the poor guide was struggling to fit it all in to the time. Then we got rained on and had lunch. After lunch we did some walking to see the place a little closer. I’ll name what I can remember, but there really is so much to see and my memory may fail me:

The collegiate University of Oxford contains within it almost 40 independent educational institutions, or colleges. Christ Church is the largest. It is also, uniquely, the cathedral seat of Oxford.  Christ Church was founded in a turbulent period of English history by King Henry VIII. I’ve read a lot about the Tudor period, so anything from that era holds a fascination for me. However, the most ambitious plans, which led to the grandest buildings, were those of the king’s Lord Chancellor, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. I’d like to read more about Wolsey. My opinion of him underwent a transformation when I read Hilary Mantel’s ‘Wolf Hall’ and ‘Bring up the Bodies’.

Wolsey laid out the Great Quadrangle and built the Kitchen and Hall for his Cardinal college founded in 1525. But in 1529 Henry took over the foundation. This was the year that Wolsey lost his power over the failure to reach an agreement about Henry’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon, his first wife. It is also the year that the Reformation Parliament first sat. Anti-clericalism was rife in this parliament. Seventeen years later (1546 – Henry died in 1547) he renamed it Christ Church.

Today Christ Church is home to around 550 undergraduate and post-graduate students, men and women, reading a wide variety of subjects in the arts and sciences. Nearly 500 years after Wolsey, Christ Church remains a community of learning.

Christ Church from the street:

Christchurch 1

Christ Church from the Meadow:

Christchurch 2

A couple of views of Christ Church Meadow:

Merton College:

Merton

Magdalen College:

Magdalen 2

Punts on the river:

Radcliffe Sqaure – Brasenose College:

Brasenose

Radcliffe Square – University Church of St. Mary the Virgin…

Universoty Church St Mary the Virgin

…where we found this memorial to the martyrs of the Reformation:

reformation memorial

Some very familiar names there.

The centrepiece of the square is the circular and imposing Radcliffe Camera, a library (originally for science) paid for by John Radcliffe’s legacy, built 1737–48. This is part of the Bodleian Library, the main building of which is situated immediately to the north of the square. The two are connected by an underground tunnel and there are many books stored under the square (with space for around 600,000 volumes). These books may be requested by readers. There used to be a small underground railway to transport books between the Radcliffe Camera and the main Bodleian site. There is no access to the building except for members (disappointing but understandable).

Boddleian

Doorways to the various departments of learning in the Bodleian…

Bod 3Bod 2Bod 1

Doorways to knowledge! There are more than this, but I just wanted an example. I remember seeing Music and Logic as well.

Bodleian facade and tower:

Bod tower

We thought we were on our way home after this but on our way to find the bus stop we spotted the Weston Library. I remembered the guide on the bus saying there was a downstairs loo in there, so we thought we’d pop into it before we started travelling.

We were so glad we did!! In here is the Bodleian Treasury (check out the website:https://treasures.bodleian.ox.ac.uk) where they exhibit items from the library’s collection. This changes on a regular basis, but we saw huge, hand illustrated text books, illuminated manuscripts, a musical score written and amended by Handel, a Father Christmas story written by JRR Tolkien in his own hand for his children, a page of the Magna Carta from 1215 (that one blew me away). Nibbled by rodents while in storage:

Magna Carta

A collection of miniature books created for the young Charles I so that he could continue his studies while travelling:

Charles I Books

The books cover every subject you can think of. I wonder if he read them all?

His brother Henry was given a similar set of books bound in green leather. These were dispersed but one volume turned up in the Bodleian archives.

Outside in the hall of the main library were the entries to a book binding competition. Here are my favourites from amongst the entries:

I didn’t choose any of the prizewinners as my favourites, so it just goes to show that it’s all a matter of taste, doesn’t it?

And just as a parting shot, a collection of traditional fountain pens for sale in a shop. Wow…

Pens

So, it was a fabulous day out. If you haven’t been to Oxford and you get the chance, go.

 

 

 

29th July 2017

We have been in this gorgeous, peaceful, thatched cottage in Newbury since Wednesday night and are having a lovely relaxing time – which means not doing very much at all; so before I go on to do photos of here I want to catch up on some of the things we did while in Runcorn. We were there from 11th July to the 26th and spent loads of time with the family, went to Lucas and Kit’s christening and had a day out in Liverpool with Mum and Dad.

One of our first trips was to Jodrell Bank which, with my interest in planets, stars and space in general, I’ve long been curious about but never managed to get to. We found it very interesting and nicely aimed to appeal to adults and children alike. Better for school age children though who can understand all the interactive stuff and what they are seeing.

The Lovell Telescope – 3rd largest in the world and a grade 1 listed building. I’m glad I got the human figure in there to give an idea of scale. It is enormous. We enjoyed watching the film of people going up into the telescope itself. It’s a long way up there! And the sides are very steep. You need to abseil to get to the rim.

Lovell Telescope

The next outing was Sunday the 16th with Mum and Dad. A trip around Liverpool. First stop was the new Liverpool Stadium which we walked to from their house. It’s a long time since I walked that route – or even rode it on the bus. It was my daily route to school; and on that note, my old school building is no more – a pile of rubble.

Two lifelong Liverpool fans in front of the ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ gates.

Liverpool Gates

LFC have created a walkway of granite tiles at the new stadium. There are are, I think 3 sizes of tile, each one purchased by a fan or fans and engraved with their name, whichever date they choose and a message. Lovely idea and it looks great. Here are the ones bought by the family – nephew, brother-in-law, Dad and his brother:

And the Hillsborough Shrine:

Hillsborough Shrine

Then we took the bus into the city centre and had lunch at the Lord Thomas – very nice place and a very nice lunch. Then a bit of sightseeing:

Cilla – I don’t think the face is right, but the legs are spot on!!

Cilla

John lounging casually against the wall of the Cavern in Stanley Street. This is a very good likeness:

John

This sculpture intrigued me but I can’t find any information about it:

Sculpture

The Beatles sculpture:

And 4 Lambananas – who knew that the Lambanana would turn out to be so iconic?

We would have liked to go into the museums but we ran out of time. Only so much you can do in one day, but I’ll certainly make time to go back for those as they are both together right there at the Pier Head.

The next event, Tuesday the 18th, was a certain person’s first Sports Day. Anaya is one of the Cheeky Monkeys group in nursery and this was their big day.

Sports Day

Sack race, egg and spoon, hurdles (albeit tiny ones), bean bag throwing and a running race. A little winner with her medal and cup.

And finally, the big event – Lucas and Kit’s christening at St Berteline’s Church followed by a reception at the Waterside marquee in Warrington. The theme was Little Gentlemen:

Christening 1

And here are the two little gentlemen in question all dressed up in their best:

Christening 2  Christening 6

And after all the proceedings and having to behave yourself, what better way to wind down than bouncing around with your cousin:

Christening 5

After this, we had Jenni’s birthday on the Monday. The weather held for a barbecue in the newly completed garden. So, as always, an eventful stay. Tuesday was packing and organising ourselves for moving on.

We were out of the house 12.30 on Wednesday the 26th for the train from Runcorn to Euston, from there on the underground to Victoria, then above ground to catch the Gatwick Express where we caught the shuttle bus to collect the car from one of the long stay car parks. It was about a 2 hour drive from the airport to here with a short stop off at the services for some food. We were glad we did because we didn’t feel like turning out again after arriving. It wasn’t such a bad journey though considering we now have 2 large cases in tow instead of one big and one small as we have had up to now. We managed to find lifts and escalators except for one time where there was no option but stairs, but a very kind man helpfully grabbed my case and carried it up for me.

 

8th July 2017

Well, it’s nearly a week since I updated the blog – and what a busy week its been! I’ve just had no time to sit and sort the photos and get them into some sort of order, so that’s my task today. And, apparently, it’s a good day to do it. We have a full moon in Capricorn, so I’m reliably informed it’s a perfect day for tying up loose ends. We’re getting towards the end of our stay in Glasgow; you never manage to see everything but we’ve done a lot here.

The Babbity Bowster over the road has an informal jam session for traditional Scottish music on Saturdays. Whoever wants to play that afternoon just turns up  and then they leave when they want to, so there’s a rolling group of people all the time. There were up to 13 of them last week which went down to one guy playing a whistle and then up again to half a dozen or so. We’ve been over there again this afternoon. Such a friendly place. Both times we’ve got chatting to other people.

Musicians in the Babbity Bowster:

Babbity

Sunday we had an interesting lunch in the Italian Caffe which is just on the corner of the road. Italian tapas, I suppose you could call them – all small plates so you can just pick and choose which you want. I must admit really like that way of eating.

Monday and Tuesday were our 2 days on the tourist bus. Roth, the owner of the flat we’re staying in advised to stay on the bus until the furthest point, which is the Riverside Museum, do that and then continue round, and that worked out really well.

The Riverside museum is a transport museum with every type of transport you can think of through the ages – bikes, cars, trams, motorbikes, ships, commercial vehicles. There’s also a Victorian street set up with typical shops and what went on in them. Really interesting. The photographer’s was the one that made me step back a bit as one of the services they offered was post mortem photography, with the dead person made up to look asleep and photographed with the rest of the family!! How gruesome.

The museum itself is an interesting building:

Riverside

And this was outside:

Tree

I’ve seen a couple of these around Glasgow, but I can’t find any information about them – who has done them or why.

I didn’t take many photos inside the museum because there was just so much in there. Couldn’t resist the penny farthing though with the quote from Mark Twain. I read his description of learning to ride a bike a long time ago and it made me laugh so much. This just reminded me of it:

Mark TwainPenny Farthing

And I couldn’t leave out Natalie the carousel horse:

Natalie

Outside the Riverside Museum stands the tall ship, The Glenlee which was built in Glasgow in 1896. It was sold to Spain and used as a training ship and then came back to Glasgow to be restored. You can see the sailor’s bunks, the officers’ quarters, the Captain’s Cabin, Galley, poop deck and cargo holds all restored to look as they would have when she was sailing as a cargo ship.  The between deck is now used as a function/conference/educational venue.

Glenlee

After that, we took the ferry over to Govan to see the stones.

We’ve seen lots of Crompton references on our travels, but just for once the Ferry name gets in on the act:

Ferry

The Govan Stones are a collection of early medieval stones carved in the 9th-11th centuries to commemorate the power of those who ruled the Kingdom of Strathclyde. There are 31 in total and they were always in the graveyard of the old church since being carved until somebody twigged on that they might actually be old and important and had them investigated. They have now been taken indoors to protect them from further weathering.

Some of the stones were re-used and carved with dates and initials.

Then we thought we’d do the Mackintosh House but that turned out to be a Crompton Special (we were there on Monday):

Closed

So we had a look at the university and then got back on the bus and did the Kelvingrove Museum which is absolutely packed out with all sorts of interesting stuff and is a fantastic building. There are so many huge, impressive, monumental buildings here. The photos I can get with my little camera just don’t do them justice.

The University:

University

Kelvingrove Museum building:

Kelvingrove Museum Building 2

Artwork in the main entrance of Kelvingrove. Loved this – it lights up in different colours from underneath:

Art

That was a very full Monday and we got home pretty exhausted.

Tuesday we covered all the Rennie Mackintosh exhibits. It was pouring down with rain in the morning and our first stop was the Lighthouse which is situated in a Mackintosh-designed building. Not easy to find, though. Especially in the teems of rain. We very nearly gave up. There’s a brightly lit sign outside it, but it’s down a tiny, dark alley that you really wouldn’t spot unless you were looking for it. And the building itself has a large ‘To Let’ sign on the part that fronts the road, so that puts you off the scent as well. But we finally found it and it was worth the effort to get there.

The Spiral Staircase:

We lost count after 100 and something of the number of steps in the spiral staircase in the Lighthouse. But you can’t not go up something that looks as spectacular as this, can you:

From the bottom up:

Staircase

And from the top down (just to prove we did it!):

staircase top

Views over Glasgow from the top:

View 1

We can see the building with the pink frontage from the flat but we see it from the other side. From our windows we are looking at the right hand side of the building.

Loved this street view:

view 3

After The Lighthouse we went to have a second try at the Mackintosh house which is a recreation of the house that he lived in with his wife, Margaret Macdonald. They were both designers and the house is fabulous to see. You can see just how innovative, clever and ahead of their time they were. The house was just an ordinary terraced property, one of a row all the same, but what they did to the inside was to die for. Clean lines, elegant, everything echoing the design of everything else, clever little twists such as cupboards that are plain white on the outside but decorated to suit to the room on the inside of the doors. Loved it.

 

Some Mackintosh pieces that I particularly liked. These are taken in the house, from Kelvingrove and from the Lighthouse:

That was another exhausting day, so Wednesday was chilling out, reading and just generally vegging around.

Thursday we took the subway to Hillhead to find Oran Mor to do the famous ‘A Play, a Pie and a Pint’. You have to get there early to get a seat – it’s really popular. Place was packed out. The play was hilarious. Done in the style of a panto called Pun-occhio. Very topical, very political. A real good laugh. The pie was good too – and you can have a glass of wine rather than a pint, thank goodness!

We’ll be leaving here Tuesday afternoon to sample Virgin Trains First Class service to get us back to Runcorn to spend some more time with the family.

Never done First Class before, so that should be interesting.

 

2nd July 2017

Another busy few days here in Glasgow. Today is Sunday. Friday we went to Edinburgh so we were out early (early for us anyway), on the train to Glasgow and then the tourist bus to get a birds eye view of all the sights. We stopped off at Edinburgh Castle and saw as much of that as we could. So many people there – thousands pouring in and out in both directions. The queue for the crown jewels was horrendous, so we gave those a miss but saw the great hall, the royal apartments, including the room where Mary, Queen of Scots gave birth to King James (I’m a fan of that period so always interested in information from that time), replicas of Mary’s stitching that she did during the time that she was in exile and just generally walked about the place getting a feel for it. The views are fantastic and seeing how the castle is constructed on top of that rocky, volcanic outcrop is amazing.  I couldn’t get a good photo with my little camera that did justice to the sight of it as you approach, so this one is from the internet:

Edinburgh-Castle-UK

Some more views of the castle from inside the walls:

Castle approachcastleGreat HallMons MegSt Margarets Chapelswords 2swordsView from castleWindow

Copies of Queen Mary’s tapestries:

Once we’d seen the castle it was back on the bus to complete the tour and then meet Irene at the Scott Monument – apparently a popular meeting place in Edinburgh. We hoped we’d be able to find it ok – and then we saw it….

Scott Monument

….couldn’t really miss it, could you? That gave us a laugh…

Met Irene with no hiccups and went off on the no. 22 bus with her to Leith for lunch in a lovely little pub called the Roseleaf…

Roseleaf

…where they have a collection of hats you can hire to wear while enjoying an afternoon tea…

Hats

And then we had a walk around Leith itself which is lovely. Only a little way outside the city, but a whole different feel to it. Situated on the coast of the Firth of Forth at the mouth of the Waters of Leith, it has a maritime history and still handles cargo to this day.

The Waters of Leith:

Waters 2Waters 1

Waters 3

The Merchant Navy Memorial:

Merchant Navy Mem

The Merchant Navy Memorial stands in a beautiful, open space. It is finely decorated on all 4 sides with depictions of seafaring life. Leith was chosen as the site for this because it was Scotland’s premier port for more than 300 years and served as Edinburgh’s trading port for more than 700 years. The memorial also aims to recognise the 132 years of service dedicated to the Merchant Navy by Leith Nautical College between 1855 and 1987 with its training ship, the Dolphin.

The memorial was designed by artist Jill Watson and made at Powerhall Bronze.

The Signal Tower:

Signal Tower

The Signal Tower stands on the corner of The Shore and Tower Street. It is one of the oldest buildings in Leith. It was built in 1685-86 by Robert Mylne. Originally it was a windmill.

In 1805 its domed roof and sails were removed and it was topped by battlements. it was used as a signal tower from which flags were displayed to let ships entering the harbour know the depth of water at the harbour bar.

Sandy Robinson

Life size sculpture by Lucy Poett of Sandy Irvine Robertson, founder of the Scottish Business Achievements Award Trust.

Ornamental gates at the dock:

Gates

Statue of Robert Burns:

Robbie

We left the house around 9 am and returned at 8pm, so it was a long day. We decided we would have a day at home to recover on Saturday, but got up to the sound of a marching band outside, so got dressed and dashed out to see what was going on. We just missed it, so went for a bit of shopping that we needed. Got back (up the 51 steps to the flat) and unpacked the shopping only to hear the band returning, so dashed down again to see it. All this before we even thought about breakfast! The band was the orange lodges marching – and there were some lively characters in amongst the marchers.

Later on in the afternoon there was an informal group playing traditional Scottish music in the Babbity Bowster over the road, so we went down again to see that. The musicians just turn up to play together as long as they want, some go and some more come and it’s open to anybody for as long as they want to be there, so it was back down the 51 stairs again to see that and up again at the end. There were 13 of them at one point and the numbers dwindled until there was just one guy on a tin whistle. Great night though. We got chatting to a couple who live in the suburbs of Glasgow and were in for a shopping day and a few drinks. Good company, good conversation, good music and a great vibe. I must say, I am loving Glasgow. Need to get about and see the rest of it now.

 

 

29th June 2017

I’ve a few days to make up here because we’ve been pretty busy since arriving in Glasgow. We had dinner on Sunday with the owners of the flat we are staying in – which was a lovely evening. You do get to meet some very nice people when you do home exchanges.

The weather, mind you, is something else. As I’ve said before, we brought the ‘summer’ case only for these 2 months as it was just for June and July – but we’ve had to admit defeat and go and buy waterproof coats. Thought we’d try the charity shops first and struck lucky in the first one. So, we are at least warm and dry! It’s pouring with rain as I type and has been all day. More is forecast for tomorrow…

Tuesday, the 27th we took the train to the Whitecraigs area of Glasgow to meet up with our neighbours from Spain, Natalie and Howard. Had lunch with them at their place – which is lovely – and then went off to Ayrshire to see Robert Burns’s cottage and museum.

Outside Cottage

The inside of the cottage is in 2 separate parts, the left hand side for livestock and the right for living space. His father built the house and he was born here, the eldest of 7 children, on January 25th 1759.

There’s a lovely  exhibition of nightgowns showing the names and dates of birth of 4 of the children:

Nightgowns

It seemed quite pleasant and cosy inside the cottage and I wouldn’t think they were among the poorest of families as they could all read and write. The pictures below are from inside the building and of Robbie Burns’s chair and desk. The chair is tipped back as it was said he had a habit of doing that when he was thinking.

The Burns monument is a little further down the road overlooking the river Doon and the Brig o Doon (Bridge over the Doon) that Burns’s father is said to have travelled across every morning to his work.

The monument is a housing that holds a life size statue of Robert Burns holding a bunch of daisies and reciting his poem ‘To a Mountain Daisy’. The sculptor was  John Flaxman RA.

Monument

A nice little sculpture of a mouse is in the gardens to reference the poem Ode to a Mouse:

Ode to a Mouse

We had a walk over the Brig o Doon:

The River Doon:

The next day, Wednesday, we thought we’d do something local. The cathedral, Necropolis and Provand’s Lordship are literally just a short walk up the road from where we are, so we went off and did those.

The history of the cathedral is linked with that of the city, and is allegedly located where the patron saint of Glasgow, Saint Mungo (or Kentigern), built his church. The tomb of the saint is in the lower crypt. There is a list of bishop’s names in the cathedral going back to the 1100’s.

Some tiles inside the cathedral that I liked the look of:

And a lovely Celtic cross:

Celtic Cross

Then we walked up to the necropolis. This is a Victorian cemetery built prominently on a hill overlooking Glasgow. The views are magnificent from there. Fifty thousand individuals have been buried here. Typically for the period only a small percentage are named on monuments and not every grave has a stone. Approximately 3500 monuments exist here and many are quite spectacular. There was obviously plenty of money around i some quarters in Victorian Glasgow.

Along with the cathedral, the Provand’s Lordship is one of the surviving buildings from Glasgow’s medieval period. It was built in 1471 by Andrew Muirhead, Bishop of Glasgow,  as part of St. Nicholas’s hospital. The Muirhead coat of arms is still visible on the side of the building. It was likely used to house clergy and other support staff for the cathedral.  Since that time it has been an inn, housed a variety of shops and was occupied by the Lord of the Prebend of Barlanark and perhaps was shared with the priest of St. Nicholas Hospital and Chapel and became known as Lord of Provan and then Provand’s Lordship.

There is an uncorroborated story that Mary, Queen of Scots stayed in the house with her second husband, Lord Darnley. She is supposed to have nursed him through an illness there.

Once the significance of the building was realised, it was taken over by  the Provand’s Lordship Society in 1978 who offered it to the City of Glasgow.

Today the house is furnished with a collection of seventeenth-century Scottish furniture donated by Sir William Burrell.

Provand's Lordsh

The Cathedral Square contains a statue of William III (King Billy) on horseback.

William 3

Tomorrow will be Edinburgh – probably in teems of rain – but we are meeting up with Irene for lunch and hopefully have a look around the Leith area with her.

 

24th June 2017

The flat we are in here is a top storey, corner flat. Light and bright with windows to two walls in the living room. The building used to be industrial – workshops and maintenance depot for the Glasgow Corporation Gas Department and is a category B Historic Scotland Building. Because it is on the top floor we have 48 steps to come up to reach the front door! That’ll keep us fit. Here are some pics of the apartment:

Living roomLiving room

kitchenKitchen

bdmBedroom

bthrmBathroom

viewView from living room window

There’s certainly a big difference in temperature here. We had 34 degrees in Bedford, it’s down to 13 here – and now raining as well. Bit of a shock to the system…

We went for a walk around today and I took some general shots of the city:

City 1City 2The old and the new side by side.       Can you spot Graham?

City 3

Wellington

Who did that to Wellington? Must have been a good night out…

City 4

City 5There’s Graham again being a tourist…

City 7

City 8

City 9

City 10This one made us feel at home

City11

City 12

 

Mercury

Mercury…..you can leave your hat on..

Anybody got a spare sewing machine?

 

 

 

23rd June 2017

Our day started with a 5 hour train journey – Milton Keynes to Glasgow Central and then a taxi ride to Liz and Roth’s city centre flat. Very central – minutes to walk to anywhere. I just hope the injured knee holds up!

In Bedford Graham managed to leave both his phones behind, I left some medicine  and we incurred a £30 fine for inadvertently driving in a bus lane!! We think we know how that happened. Graham was cut up by a bus and swerved to avoid it – probably swerved into the bus lane. Never mind.

So we’ve been in Glasgow around 6 hours, seen 3 men in kilts – (all completely separate, not in a group and all wearing different tartans), a tartan van:

van

…a fabulous mural (on the wall of a car park)…

Mural 3Mural 2Mural 1

…and had a drink and a meal in the pub over the road with the intriguing name of ‘The Babbity Bowster’ who were selling dishes of Cullen Skenk. Google tells me that ‘Babbity Bowster was an old Scottish country dance which was often used to finish off a ball; it also became a children’s game with different rules in various parts of the country. ” Babbitymeans “bob” and “bowster” was the wheelshaft in a watermill.

Babbity Bowster

Cullen Skenk sounds a bit like a fish chowder made with smoked haddock. Irene will probably put me right on that.

Every day a school day, as they say…

 

22nd June 2017

This is our last night in Bedford as we move to exchange number 7 in Glasgow in the morning. So, this is a catch-up on what we’ve done over the last week or so. Two of the places we visited prohibited the taking of photographs inside, so there wasn’t much to write up about. The first of these was the Bunyan Museum in Bedford.

bUNYAN

The only thing I knew about John Bunyan was that he wrote Pilgrim’s Progress – but I’ve never read it. There was a precis of the book throughout the museum – which is only small but very well done. I did take one sneaky photo though – I couldn’t resist capturing another ‘Crompton’ mention. It’s a bit shaky, but readable:

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Mum and Dad went home on Saturday morning and we had a relaxing weekend in the garden, same on Monday because it was so very hot. Too hot to be walking too far. Tuesday was slightly cooler – at least in the morning – so we went off to see Woburn Abbey. No photos permitted inside, but we got some nice ones of the garden.

One of the things I liked inside the Abbey was a needlepoint bell pull worked by the current Duke’s mother.  It is really long, but not as long as the curtain header I’ve been working for the last goodness-knows-how-long (not much to do now, though), so I was interested to see how she’d finished it on the back. All my quilting friends will know that you always need to see the back to get the full picture! I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to touch it and this was confirmed by the guide so I asked him if there was any chance he had a pair of white gloves to hand to turn it over for me. He looked a bit taken aback but said that no, he didn’t. About 5 minutes later, he came chasing after me with a white cloth in his hand and offered to turn the piece over for me so I could see the back as I’d wanted. Very helpful. And it was beautifully finished, I must say. I hope I can make as good a job of mine when I get to that stage. Disappointed that I couldn’t photograph it though.

Here are some pictures of the outside of the Abbey gardens:

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Garden1

There are lots of waterliles:

Garden2

Waterlilies

And a distinct Chinese theme – lots of red, lanterns, pagoda, little bridge etc.

Pagoda

And an interesting sculpture by Sophie Dickens. Five figures each one performing different stages of a cartwheel. I’ve had a look at her website – and she has done other similar sculptures. Brilliant piece of work. I only seem to have captured 4 of the figures on my photo but there’s a much better picture on her website:  http://www.sladmore.com/media/sladmoremedia/pdf/Sladmore-Sophie-Dickens-IWB.pdf

Sophie Dickens

One of our favourite haunts while we’ve been here – The Flowerpot. Great live bands at the weekends and a recommended Thai restaurant over the road – the Thai Lagoon. If you’re ever in Bedford…

Flowerpot

I finally managed to get a bit of stitching finished while we’ve been here. Two little postcards done completely by hand. I’ve used a needlepunched handbag liner in place of the wadding and pelmet vilene that I normally use and I really like it. I’ll probably continue to use it when I get home:

The yellow one isn’t quite finished – it still has the tacking stitches around the outside. I only need to whipstitch the sides together and it’ll be finished – and just in time with these. The heart one is being left here as my Thank You, as I’m down to the last one of the ones I brought and I’ve thought of something else I want to do with that.

We are leaving the garden in full fruit and bloom. It looks gorgeous and we have carefully tended David’s lettuces and kept up with deadheading the surfinias while we’ve been here!

The cherry tree in full fruit:

Garden 4

The hanging baskets:

Garden 1

We’ve had a lovely visit here. Spent a lot of relaxing time in the conservatory and garden. We’ve had unexpected cold (and the wrong clothes) and heat that surpassed the famous summer of ’76, so a real mixed bag. What awaits us in Glasgow, we wonder?

 

 

 

14th June 2017

Cambridge was the trip of choice today.  We learnt a lot of facts while on the tourist bus looking at the sights. The ones that stick in my mind are that Cambridge has educated 80 Nobel Prize winners, that the railway station is a long way from the centre to stop the students succumbing to the attractions of London and that the students are not allowed to keep a car within 5 miles of the college so there are 35,000 bikes in the city. Here are just a few of them:

Bikes

We travelled down the street that holds the dubious honour of being the originator of the term ‘pub crawl’. The students had to race down the street drinking a pint in each bar and not relieving themselves until they reached the last one, by which time some would literally be on their hands and knees.

There is an interesting sculpture outside the Guildhall.

sculpture

The story attached this is the story of Snowy Farr, a charity fundraiser who mostly operated in the streets of Cambridge. He collected thousands of pounds for The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. In recognition of his efforts he received an MBE.  He was often dressed in eccentric clothing incorporating antique military wear and was accompanied by tame animals including mice, dogs, and even a goat.

This memorial artwork, designed by Gary Webb, was unveiled outside the Guildhall in Cambridge’s Market Square in August 2012. The statue resembles a combination of Farr’s tame cat and mice, whereby his cat was trained to sit atop his hat, and the mice trained to run circuits of the rim.

We had glorious sunshine for a walk along the Cam watching the punting.

punting

punting2punting3punting4

We saw just one college up close and that was Jesus – we couldn’t go into the grounds because – guess what – closed for exams!! Beautiful building and grounds though.

JesusJesus2

The next main stop was:

cemetery sign

It’s quite difficult to find the words to describe this. It’s beautiful, peaceful, well-kept, sad, humbling….and even that doesn’t say it all, so I won’t try and go any further. Judge for yourself.

Americam cemetery standard (2)

american cemetery 2

Americam cemetery

The wall at the side of this picture lists the missing. Thousands of them – and largely from bomber command.

One of the doors to the chapel:

chapel door

Inside the chapel is this wonderful piece of art showing the planes, ships and submarines involved in the war and who they belonged to. The picture doesn’t do it justice and I couldn’t even get the whole thing in the photo.  It’s a fantastic piece of work and very informative.

americam cemetery art