Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Pembroke Gardens, Richmond Park


Thanks for popping in.

A real feast for the eyes can be found next to a beautiful thatched house in Pembroke Gardens in London's Richmond Park.  Choc-a-bloc with colourful plants as well as glorious roses at their absolute peak of perfection, this gem of a rose garden would give a Chelsea garden a run for its money.  Of course the photos just don't do it justice.

Pembroke Gardens themselves belong to Pembroke Lodge, which as well as being a Tea Room open to the public, is also a wedding venue. 

However, the famous people that have lived and visited it, since being built around 1754 as a molecatcher's cottage, is staggering. Enlarged by Sir John Soane and Henry Holland on request of King George III for the Countess of Pembroke, the Lodge went on to be home to Prime Minister Lord John Russell whose visitors included Queen Victoria, Gladstone, Palmerstone, Garibaldi, Dickens, Tennyson, Thackery and Lewis Carroll amongst others.  Bertrand Russell spent his childhood there. 

It was requisitioned during WW2 by the Phantom Squad GCHQ Liaison Regiment for its Officers quarters, a member of which was David Niven.

Also within the Gardens is King Henry's Mound which has a protected view to St Paul's Cathedral.  No building is allowed to impede it.

I'll leave you with some deer enjoying a shady rest under one of the Park's trees.


Monday, 22 July 2019

Richmond Park


Thanks for popping in.

There are beautiful views from Richmond Hill over Petersham meadows down to the River Thames and over the trees to Hampton Court, Ham, Strawberry Hill and beyond.  Terrace Walk overlooking Terrace Gardens has plenty of seats to admire the plants.

The recently restored Anglo-Japanese Nightwatchman's hut on Terrace Walk is 130 years old and is where they were able to keep an eye on the park overnight.

Only a few steps further on is the entrance to Richmond Park, a huge Royal Park famous for its deer roaming wild.

Not far into the Park is Pembroke Lodge, an excellent spot for a cuppa!  Walking along the path to the café, you pass some beautiful gardens.  The first was crammed full with wildflowers buzzing with bees, surrounded by colourful borders.

This bench was a memorial to Ian Durie who, with his family, loved visiting the Park.  You can listen to his track Reasons to be Cheerful there.

Still being up high, the magnificent view can still be enjoyed even whilst drinking some peppermint tea with a cherry scone.


Friday, 19 July 2019

Five Changes


Thanks for popping in.

As I write this, the local secondary school is still hard at it although, as the children streaming out are not in their uniforms, surely today must be the last day of term.  When I was a gal my bus pass used to be valid until something like 5th July giving us a jolly good break.  Times change.  My five this week are about change.

1.  Our local Wyevale Garden Centre is changing the way they operate their voucher scheme, gone are all the bits of paper you have to remember to take with you.  Instead you get a discount on each visit using the store card and a further 5% off for those over 60 on Tuesdays.  Oh that the supermarkets would do the same.  We took advantage of a few end of scheme vouchers to enjoy afternoon tea for two for £6.20! Bargain!

2.  Our garden peas have changed from flowers to pods full of juicy peas. Yum!

3. I've changed into a bookworm and can't put my library borrowings down.  This week I've enjoyed the books below.

4.  Nature is constantly on the change.  I've seen a couple of snakes - adders - this week, one on the footpath in the middle of the woods and the other on the pavement by the shops, but was the latter a real one or made of rubber?  Difficult to tell without a prod.  Garden flowers looking gorgeous in the sunshine.


5.  It was all change at the station when the signals at Waterloo were caught up in a fire,  8 lines were affected, loads of trains were cancelled.  At one point it looked like we'd have to get from Richmond to Paddington to travel further but luckily a lone train chugged in to the station late, late, late and got us all home again.

Have a great weekend.


Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Reading Town Hall, Museum and Art Gallery


Thanks for popping in.

Reading Museum has been undergoing a big reorganisation over the last year making each visit a surprise as to what you might find this time.  The whole reception area was boarded off with explorers having to enter by another door.  Still no café, I'm hoping that next time a super-duper one will be unveiled!

The updated exhibition room looks more established now, exhibits rearranged, new items added, colourful displays and information guides.  Arts in Asia: in India's image, a multimedia exhibition of the region's Indian inspired architectural gems, offers much to explore including a reconstruction of the Maharajah's Well in Stoke Row between Reading and Oxford below.

Some older reminders of Reading's past include the café advertising sign and ice cream for the Regent Café which used to be at 55 St Mary's Butts.  When the developer's entered the café in 1989, they found a perfectly preserved ice cream factory from 1950, still iced up and containing some somewhat unappetising ice cream!

 Dominic Madden's artwork is part of the collection of works connected to the Reading area from the Reading Foundation for Art.  If you see this painting close up, you can see the paint had been applied to newsprint.

This beautiful textile shawl has been inspired by Indian shawls but made in Scotland.

Hope Street by  Leslie Windsor from 1959 captures a street that was demolished to build the Butts Centre (Broad Street Mall).

Outside the flowers were outstanding.

Always a great place to pop in and learn something.


Monday, 15 July 2019

Butterflies and Wildflowers


Thanks for flying in.

What a year!  The meadows near here have been stunning, you might have noticed I keep posting about them!  I've had a bit more luck with my  butterfly photos, perseverance and sunny days have done the trick, oh and not getting too excited and wobbly when trying to focus.  I've had to do a bit of searching online to be able to name these beauties and hopefully I've come up with the correct ones, do let me know if I've gone off-piste.

A bee on tufted vetch


Meadow Brown on maybe wild carrot, not sure.

Marbled White butterfly on red clover

Ringlet butterfly

Painted lady butterfly, if only I'd been round the other side.

A Silver-washed fritilliary as above surprised us all by flying into the house!  I chased it all afternoon to see whether it had the silver streaks on its underside and it did.

The wildflower meadow, packed full with life.

Purple loosestrife


More tufted vetch and another bee


Red campion
St John's wort and mallow


Flowering rush bareroot

Purple vetch

Lesser knapweed

Swans - but you knew that didn't you!
Even in the town centre, the Council has looked after the wild spaces and look what I found.

Pyramidal orchid

Common Spotted orchid

Happy spotting!