Friday, 30 June 2017

Five on Friday - Bracknell Underpasses


Thanks for popping in for the Five on Friday link-up with Tricky's FAST Blog.

I've been into Bracknell this week and came across the following five.

One - Murals

Bracknell used to be a single street which is shown on 17th Century maps. By 1790 the street had buildings either side and a number of pubs from that time and earlier still exist today.  The town was redeveloped in the 1950/60s to include large housing estates with many roundabouts and pedestrian underpasses.  To jazz them up, murals were painted on them in 2011 and one in particular has paintings of the shops that used to be along the High Street, or Bracknell Street as it was originally known, before it was redeveloped.

Coincidentally the Library has an exhibition of photos contrasting black and white pictures of Bracknell with those taken in 2013.  The shops have changed considerably and of course are in the process of changing again.

Two - Pyramidal Orchids

Following the underpasses as they wind under the roads, you can't help but notice that the Council have stopped mowing the grass as part of their Blooming Biodiversity initiative and over the years native flowers have started to thrive again.  In one area there were several of these spectacular pyramidal orchids, some darker than the others

Three - More Wildflowers

In a similar vein, around the bus station large areas had been planted with wildflower turf and seeds and was happily going wild.

Four - Council Offices

Outside the Council Offices, in the middle of all the building works, a splash of colourful antirrhinums planted en masse lit up the place.

Five - More Murals

Trying to negotiate my way around the underpasses, revealed lots more murals.

All sorts of things unrelated to Bracknell and a few showing some of the local buildings.

It's going to look very modern when all the new building work is completed.

Have a great weekend.


Thursday, 29 June 2017

London at Night


Thanks for visiting.

Sometimes the weather comes up with a surprise, doesn't it. Taking in the London sights as the sun was setting around 9:15, extraordinary colours over the Thames appeared. 

As the sun continued its descent, the camera put up a fight and tried its hardest.

Until, it created spookier and spookier photos, most of which were deleted!


Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Covent Garden


Thanks for calling in. Great to see you.

The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden is actually the third opera house on the site, the previous two were sadly destroyed by fire.  It was designed by E.M. Barry and building started in 1857.  We went to visit recently courtesy of a kind Christmas treat from Mr CK, the younger.

The ROH is currently undergoing some work to open up the building and create more of a presence on Covent Garden itself, expanding the foyer and creating a new entrance, whilst retaining the the main stage as it is.  Covent Garden itself is always bustling with street entertainment and the market stalls. This time areas were bedecked in silk flowers.

The ROH Bow Street entrance was the only one open.  The large Floral Hall used to be used as a flower market but is now a meeting place with bars providing interval drinks. It was completely rebuilt in the 1990s and is a beautiful space.

The auditorium itself is striking with it's pale blue and gold ceiling, abundant red lampshades, angels by the lamps and tiers of red velvet seats.

L'elisir d'amore by Donizetti is an enchanting tale of love giving the audience romance, comedy, beautiful music and wonderful sets.  How did they transform the stage from a huge straw bale haystack to an Italian village without a single squeak? Or get a large lorry, tractor and motorbikes on to the stage? There's no need to worry that you won't understand what's going on as there is a small screen above the stage translating the Italian to English .  Excellent performances all round.

Curtain adorned with the wonders achieved by the love potion sold by a rather dodgy character!

Photo from the website.
To top off our treat, dinner at Hawksmoor in Art Deco surroundings courtesy of both the younger Mr CKs was the icing on the cake - perhaps the gravy on the Sunday roast would be more apt!

Thanks you two.


Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Dipley Mill and the NGS


Thanks for popping in.

At the moment, lots of private gardens are opening in aid of the National Garden Scheme which collects funds for Nursing charities.  Last year  £2.7 million was raised.

Just round the corner from our favourite West Green Gardens, Dipley Mill opened its garden to the public with tea and coffee available too.

The Mill itself is listed in the Domesday Book and served as a flour mill on the River Whitewater until it was converted into a country house in 1927.  As a mill, it was very successful so the Miller installed a second wheel which, with both wheels on the go, made the building shake.

Let's have a look.

Water plays a big part here, with streams, ponds and pools round every corner.

Original milestones set in the path

Hornbeam Terrace

Visitors are given a delightful watercoloured map which gives a meandering route to wander along so you don't miss any of the secret areas.  There's Drove Road garden with airy wild planting, the Dew Pond tucked away and Vesta's garden, celebrating the Goddess of the Hearth, at the far end of the estate.

The Rust Garden leads you past a pill box, which is planted on top with a blue spiral staircase to take you up to admire the view, and on to a Grotto Garden.

Looking out from the pill box.
All the while you feel the presence of the River Whitewater and can see the water meadows on the other side of it covered in natural planting. Bridges across the River entice you over but we'll stay this side.

A real treat awaits in the Rose and Perfume Garden where a variety of unusual roses greet the nose.

 There's a great assortment of gunnera around the garden as well as herbs, fruit and vegetables.

The Indian Pool Garden is quite spectacular with its exotic planting and colonial hut.

Pretty table

There's even an Oriental Carpet Garden next to the greenhouse full of cacti and bougainvilleas.

To crown it all the recently shorn alpacas are so cute!

There we are, what a fantastic private garden, so much bigger than I was expecting, so much to see and enjoy including the delicious homemade cakes.

If you live fairly close, have a look at the link above as there are more open days to come this year, all in a good cause.  Don't worry about parking as the field next door was opened as a large car park.