A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about london

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)

Out and about in England

...including London and other places within easy reach

sunny 22 °C
View Sam Smart in World War II on SteveJD's travel map.

A few days after our return to England, we had the annual parade of vintage and veteran cars from Ipswich to Felixstowe. Our nearest vantage point was the High Road in Trimley St Mary. The vehicles range from oldies to quite modern (in our eyes!) cars - and buses, fire engines etc. They end up on the Esplanade in Felixstowe but this year we didn't venture down there, although it was a lovely day - still winding down from our travels.

Old and new

Old and new

Out for a picnic?

Out for a picnic?

20180506_P1150803.jpgA couple more oldies

A couple more oldies

There had to be a Rolls!

There had to be a Rolls!

Family relaxing in the sun watching cars

Family relaxing in the sun watching cars

While we had been in South Africa, we had watched quite a bit of the International Rugby Sevens tournament, so when we saw that it was on in London we bought tickets for the final. We had never been to the stadium at Twickenham and I have to say it was quite an experience with some superb rugby - a great weekend,

We had a good view from high in the stadium

We had a good view from high in the stadium

USA trying to steal lineout from Ireland

USA trying to steal lineout from Ireland

French runner being chased down by Welsh player

French runner being chased down by Welsh player

Ref explaining the rules to an Aussie (in match against England)

Ref explaining the rules to an Aussie (in match against England)

I may have mentioned that I volunteer with the National Trust at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk. Through meeting other volunteers there, I learned of and joined the East Anglia National Trust Association (ESNTA). This is a social group who organise regular talks and less regular coach trips. We have made good use of the coach trips which have taken us to some surprising places, such as, in late July, The Postal Museum in London. We were dropped at the Museum of London where we had a welcome cuppa before walking through where postal buildings used to be and arriving at Postman's Park, a lovely little treed park where office workers come for a break. At one end is the Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice. This was the idea of George Watts but it was never completed so only 53 of the planned 120 memorial tiles were ever completed. From near the park, we were collected and taken to Exmouth Markets (of which we had never heard) for our lunch break before being taken through the back streets to the museum. This in itself is fascinating but there is also a separate building which houses the underground postal system. This used to whiz post to a number of stations in London for offloading onto mail trains which served the whole of the country. Although this was abandoned as a way of beating London traffic, it remains, at least in part, as a circuit on which we rode in adapted mail train coaches on part of the route.

Sunken garden at the Museum of London

Sunken garden at the Museum of London

Some of the ESNTA folk in Postman's Park

Some of the ESNTA folk in Postman's Park

Some of the tiles on the Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice

Some of the tiles on the Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice

The Exmouth Arms in Exmouth Gardens

The Exmouth Arms in Exmouth Gardens

Methods of postal delivery through the ages

Methods of postal delivery through the ages

Head of statue of Sir Rowland Hill (founder of the Penny Post) peering over the top of a London bus

Head of statue of Sir Rowland Hill (founder of the Penny Post) peering over the top of a London bus

Map of the routes used by the underground postal delivery system

Map of the routes used by the underground postal delivery system

One of the underground postal trains

One of the underground postal trains

One of the trains opened up ready for us to board

One of the trains opened up ready for us to board

20180724_P1150932.jpgTwo examples of images and videos displayed on parts of the tunnel wall at stopping points

Two examples of images and videos displayed on parts of the tunnel wall at stopping points

As mentioned above, we live near Felixstowe and are bracketed by two rivers, the Orwell to the south and the Deben to the north. The latter flows past Sutton Hoo, so I see it quite often. It also runs through the lovely town of Woodbridge and in the summer we took ourselves for a walk along the path by the river to enjoy the sights and sounds of the town and river.

Black-headed Gull

Black-headed Gull

Ladybird on wild fennel

Ladybird on wild fennel

Starlings flocking in bushes near blackberries

Starlings flocking in bushes near blackberries

Windblown Mute Swan

Windblown Mute Swan

A large yacht weaves its way past the Tidemill building

A large yacht weaves its way past the Tidemill building

The yacht weaving through the moored boats with the church on the left

The yacht weaving through the moored boats with the church on the left

Sunlit seedheads

Sunlit seedheads

Shortly after this we went down to Surrey to meet some good friends, Dougal & Gill McTavish from South Africa (we had met them when we lived in what used to be Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe). They run a game reserve and their daughter Lynne, who has taken over the main operations, had been over to be awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Brighton University so it was a wonderful time to get together. No photos from there but on our way home we stopped to visit Down House and garden, This had been really well done with the upstairs mainly devoted to information panels and small displays with most of the ground floor rooms being set as they would have been in Darwin's day. The gardens were lovely and you could see where Darwin had carried out some of his experiments. Well worth a visit. On or way home we stopped off for a long overdue drop in on an old school friend of mine, Nick Gregory and his wife Mary. As always in the instances, it is as if we only saw them yesterday - strangely, none of us seems to age!

20180807_P1150966.jpgTwo views of Down House

Two views of Down House

White-tailed Bummblebee on, I think, Echinops flower

White-tailed Bummblebee on, I think, Echinops flower

Brimstone butterfly in the garden

Brimstone butterfly in the garden

Begonias in the greenhouse

Begonias in the greenhouse

P1130652.JPGSarracenia and Venus Fly Trap insectivorous plants

Sarracenia and Venus Fly Trap insectivorous plants

Towards the end of August we took a long overdue trip to Lackford Lakes, one of the best Suffolk Wildlife Trust sites. We didn't really give ourselves enough time but still saw a good variety of wildlife and it is definitely on the return list.

Panoramic view over one of the lakes

Panoramic view over one of the lakes

Mating damselflies

Mating damselflies

Cormorants share their island with a heron

Cormorants share their island with a heron

Dragonfly on reed seed head

Dragonfly on reed seed head

Reeds with reflections

Reeds with reflections

Blackberries were just beginning to ripen - yum!

Blackberries were just beginning to ripen - yum!

We picked a nice load of blackberries a few weeks later near Blythburgh to the north of us and have enjoyed these in jams and puddings since then. Must try to be more organised next year and pick more as they are delicious.

Every year, in the summer, Felixstowe hosts Art on the Prom in which crafts and arts of all varieties are displayed along the length of the Esplanade and usually manages to pick a fine day for a day out, as happened this year.

It was quite a busy day

It was quite a busy day

The only shark we are likely to see in Suffolk!

The only shark we are likely to see in Suffolk!

Colourful artwork

Colourful artwork

There was even room for a South African kiosk (food and drink, not art!)

There was even room for a South African kiosk (food and drink, not art!)

Flowers and beach huts along the seafront

Flowers and beach huts along the seafront

I have mentioned Sutton Hoo a few times and during September, I performed my last 'normal' duty before the site was closed for major project works. For the benefit of those who have never heard of Sutton Hoo, it is the site of the richest find of Anglo-Saxon treasure in Britain. Sutton Hoo House, now known as Tranmer House, was the home of Mrs Edith Pretty and in 1938 she invited Basil Brown, a self-taught archaeologist, to investigate the burial mounds on her property (there are about 20 in total). He investigated some and found that one had been a ship burial but all had been robbed, probably in Tudor times. He rather reluctantly came back in 1939 and within a short time found that Mound 1 was intact. The soils are mostly very acidic so almost all organic material had decayed. However, he carefully uncovered row after row of ship bolts and compressed sand making out the shape of the ship. At this stage the British Museum became interested and involved in excavating what they believed was a Viking ship. When the first treasure was found, they realised that it was Anglo-Saxon. The majority of the original finds are in the British Museum but the National Trust, who took the site on in 2000, had beautiful replicas made, in particular the shoulder clasps, belt buckle, sword, shield and helmet. If you go to the British Museum, you will see the jigsaw puzzle results of piecing together the fragments of the helmet but at Sutton Hoo, we have a magnificent replica made by the Royal Armourers - also a magnificent huge helmet sculpture. The following are a few of the photos I have taken on visits to Sutton Hoo, either on duty or as a visitor.

The huge helmet replica that greets visitors

The huge helmet replica that greets visitors

A misty morning

A misty morning

A dragon among the bluebells

A dragon among the bluebells

Spring scene with the Stable Block in the background

Spring scene with the Stable Block in the background

The Gar Seat (don't ask!)

The Gar Seat (don't ask!)

A frosty walk down into the valley with Woodbridge just visible on the other side of the Deben

A frosty walk down into the valley with Woodbridge just visible on the other side of the Deben

Tranmer House

Tranmer House

20161010_160735.jpgTwo views of the replica helmet

Two views of the replica helmet

The Drawing Room in Tranmer House before the major project

The Drawing Room in Tranmer House before the major project

Tranmer House beyond the mounds (the large mound to the right was reconstructed to see how long degradation takes)

Tranmer House beyond the mounds (the large mound to the right was reconstructed to see how long degradation takes)

4bbef8c0-faed-11e8-8b0b-4b78d7c0b010.jpg captopn=The Squash Court and Stable BlcokSkylark by the mounds

Skylark by the mounds

House Martins in nest on Squash Court eaves

House Martins in nest on Squash Court eaves

An Autumn scene

An Autumn scene

Spitfire and Hurricane flypast over Tranmer House during Mrs Pretty's Garden Party recreation

Spitfire and Hurricane flypast over Tranmer House during Mrs Pretty's Garden Party recreation

I think that will do for now and our next blog will probably cover October through to some time before our departure for Australia in April.

Posted by SteveJD 05:55 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged birds london cars suffolk woodbridge felixstowe national_trust down_house lackford_lakes sutton_hoo Comments (1)

(Entries 1 - 2 of 2) Page [1]