A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about gardens

Liverpool and London trips etc.

...and planning for next trip to Australia

sunny 12 °C
View Sam Smart in World War II on SteveJD's travel map.

Sometimes driving in England is not pleasurable, so we have taken advantage of the occasional coach tour, one of which took us to Liverpool to see an exhibition on the Chinese Terracotta Army in the World Museum. We were travelling on a motorway towards Chester when the driver picked up an alert that the road had bad delays ahead so we had a delightful tour through beautiful countryside, arriving at Chester only a few minutes later than planned.

Chester was founded in 79AD as a Roman fort named Deva Victrix. It grew to become one of the largest, if not the largest, Roman settlement in Britain but was abandoned in 410AD when the Romans pulled out of Britain. The Romano-British inhabitants are believed to have come under the control of the modern day Welsh county of Powys and the town was known as Deverdoeu up to the 12th century, even though the Anglo-Saxons had defeated the Welsh in the 7th century. An old English name of Legacaestir was also used up to the 11th century when it became Chester. The Saxons built walls but even these were not enough to keep the Danes out, although their (the Danes) stay was fairly short. In due course, the Normans arrived and, as was their wont, built a castle which is still used today. The city is renowned for its architecture which survived 1960s plans for 'redevelopment'. However, even these lovely buildings date back only to the Victorian era although they were modelled on the Jacobean half-timbered style.

The city is very attractive and nicely situated on the River Dee, as I hope our pictures show.

River Dee with bandstand and old bridge

River Dee with bandstand and old bridge

Judith in the ruins of the old church beside St John the Baptist Church

Judith in the ruins of the old church beside St John the Baptist Church

View into the city through one of the mediaeval gates

View into the city through one of the mediaeval gates

Ye Olde King's Head Tavern (now only part pub, if that)

Ye Olde King's Head Tavern (now only part pub, if that)

Pleasure boats on the Dee

Pleasure boats on the Dee

We continued to Liverpool and after a comfortable night's rest visited the World Museum where we marvelled at the wonderful items on show from the Terracotta Army find - so much more varied than we had expected. To see them all in situ must be wonderful indeed. We were pleasantly surprised to find that photography was allowed so we took quite a few photos to remind us of a wonderful exhibition. We then walked down to the Albert Dock, where we were nearly blown off our feet walking from the shelter of some buildings onto banks of the Mersey where a very strong wind was whipping along. Last time we were in Liverpool we missed (can you believe it?!) The Beatles Story which we thoroughly enjoyed this time. It is a very comprehensive exhibition and history of the Fab Four. Not very much further on, near the Liver Building, we found the great statues of the Beatles walking along the path towards us - very well captured.

Warrior and horse at the entrance to the exhibition

Warrior and horse at the entrance to the exhibition

Bronze chariot and horses

Bronze chariot and horses

P1130930.JPGSome of the different warrior types found in the tomb

Some of the different warrior types found in the tomb

Figure of a kneeling archer

Figure of a kneeling archer

Armour created from limestone

Armour created from limestone

Modern recreation showing how the various warriors were created

Modern recreation showing how the various warriors were created

Miniature soldier figures

Miniature soldier figures

and now for something completely different!

Recreation of the Cavern night club in The Beatles Story exhibition

Recreation of the Cavern night club in The Beatles Story exhibition

Liverpool is a relatively new settlement, dating from the late 12th century when it was called Liuerpul which possibly means a pool or creek with muddy water (Wikipedia - before I get blamed for talking Liverpool down!). It became increasingly important as a dock until the increasing use of shipping containers, in the mid-twentieth century, sealed its doom as a port. The Beatles and other singers and groups helped to revive the city which became a centre for culture. I might add that it has two beautiful and very different cathedrals which we visited on a previous trip.

On our way back, we stopped at Salford Quays in Manchester. The weather wasn't great so we visited the Imperial War Museum of the North where their 'Lest We Forget' was one of the best WWI exhibitions that we have seen, with some amazing works of art portraying various aspects of the war in different ways. Only on the way out did I find that photography was not permitted - whoops! There was just enough time to have a good browse through the Lowry Gallery which was fascinating. I have always loved his matchstick men paintings and it was great to see a variety of these plus preparatory sketches. However, neither of us was greatly taken by his landscapes - you win some, you lose some!

Media City - much TV production as been moved from London to Manchester

Media City - much TV production as been moved from London to Manchester

The Wave - some of the Tower of London poppies used as a movable display

The Wave - some of the Tower of London poppies used as a movable display

An 'illegal' photo of one of the horse puppets used in "Warhorse" productions

An 'illegal' photo of one of the horse puppets used in "Warhorse" productions

Towards the end of 2018 we took a trip to Anglesey Abbey, a National Trust property in Cambridgeshire which is renowned for its gardens. As Christmas approaches, they add lights and the walk around the gardens is quite wonderful.

20181116_P1160031.jpgColoured lights playing on shrubs in the Winter Garden

Coloured lights playing on shrubs in the Winter Garden

20181116_P1160033.jpgMore trees in the Winter Garden being highlighted

More trees in the Winter Garden being highlighted

P1140002.JPGChanging colours in the magical grove of Himalayan Birches

Changing colours in the magical grove of Himalayan Birches

Multicoloured globes stretching away across the lawned area

Multicoloured globes stretching away across the lawned area

A psychedelic selection of trees and shrubs

A psychedelic selection of trees and shrubs

Teasels and small shrubs 'all lit up'

Teasels and small shrubs 'all lit up'

People coming away from part of the old Priory buildings

People coming away from part of the old Priory buildings

Garish lighting along Quy Water to the Lode Mill

Garish lighting along Quy Water to the Lode Mill

The house illuminated

The house illuminated

More coloured globes, this time near the house

More coloured globes, this time near the house

Vortex effect from combination of lighting and smoke

Vortex effect from combination of lighting and smoke

A magnificent chestnut tree illuminated

A magnificent chestnut tree illuminated

Shadows on the path back to the entrance

Shadows on the path back to the entrance

Anglesey has nothing to do with the Welsh island of the same name. The final 'ey' was a word meaning island and this was literally an island in the Fens. Around the 5th century, it is believed that a community of Angles lived here, surrounded by Celts so that it was literally and figuratively an island of Angles. An Augustinian priory was built on the site in the 12th century but the canons were expelled in 1535 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. It was converted into a house and was given the grander name of Anglesey Abbey. The property went through several hands before coming into the ownership of the 1st Lord Fairhaven who renovated the buildings and restored the mill to working condition. He had no heirs so bequeathed the property to the National Trust and it remains a very popular destination.

A trip to London saw us visiting Rotherhithe which is a 'must' on the 'to do' list as there is so much to see and do. On this occasion we just visited the Norwegian Christmas Market and the lovely little Norwegian church. We had previously no idea that there were Scandinavian churches in London (the Finnish church is next door to the Norwegian one.

The Norwegian church with some of the external market

The Norwegian church with some of the external market

A very Christmassy atmosphere inside the church

A very Christmassy atmosphere inside the church

On our way out of London we had to see some of the Christmas lights

On our way out of London we had to see some of the Christmas lights

One of our favourite places to visit fairly close to home is the RSPB reserve at Minsmere. This area was recorded in the Domesday Book as Menesmara or Milsemere and with 'mere' meaning a body of water, clearly it was a low lying area subject to inundation. Nonetheless, it had been the site of an ancient abbey and a Tudor battery, and was reclaimed as farmland in the 19th century. During WWII, the area was flooded as an invasion defence measure. The RSPB had been considering a bird reserve there since the 1930s and, after the war, the owner decided to leave the site as it was and entered into a management agreement with the RSPB. As well as the low-lying, flooded, areas, there is woodland and grassland so a wide variety of birds and animals can be found. From many parts of the reserve, looming in the background, is the atomic reactor at Sizewell which, if all goes according to plan, will be expanded to encompass a new reactor to replace the old one which is due for decommissioning. This may well have an adverse effect on the reserve so there is much opposition to the new reactor. The following are some of our shots from the last two visits.

P1140185.JPGTwo views of a Redwing in hawthorn tree - we rarely get to see these winter visitors

Two views of a Redwing in hawthorn tree - we rarely get to see these winter visitors

View from the North Wall across the scrapes to Sizewell

View from the North Wall across the scrapes to Sizewell

Minsmere gets some really magic light and the reedbeds often have a golden glow

Minsmere gets some really magic light and the reedbeds often have a golden glow

The two of us (well in shadow form!) on the dunes by the sea - Dunwich in the far distance

The two of us (well in shadow form!) on the dunes by the sea - Dunwich in the far distance

There are many opportunities for some artistic compositions

There are many opportunities for some artistic compositions

P1140231.JPGA variety of waterbirds on islands in the scrapes with gulls wheeling overhead

A variety of waterbirds on islands in the scrapes with gulls wheeling overhead

A path through the woodland

A path through the woodland

A Konik pony - these are used to help manage the reeds

A Konik pony - these are used to help manage the reeds

The reactor looms over the scrapes

The reactor looms over the scrapes

A Mallard drake

A Mallard drake

P1140578.JPG20190211_3694.jpgThree views of a Little Egret

Three views of a Little Egret

A Shoveler drake

A Shoveler drake

Within walking distance from home, we also have Trimley Marshes, another bird reserve. We have been down there fairly recently but it wasn't a good day for photography, so I'll save that for another day.

This pretty well brings us up to date and our next blog will most likely be from Adelaide when we start the leg of our Australian round trip that was missed last time - and I promise to try not to fall down on this trip!

Posted by SteveJD 15:30 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged birds gardens london chester liverpool suffolk cambridgeshire minsmere anglesey_abbey Comments (2)

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