Tuesday, 31 July 2018



Thanks for popping in.

This week's jaunt was to Henley, just a week later than the famous Regatta, a prestigious rowing event.

The town exploded with colourful flowers and bunting.

The blue and white marquees, pontoons and stands were still up and in the process of being dismantled, a very long job.

This paddle steamer style boat had to lower its 'chimneys' to get under the bridge.

Such a beautiful town.


Monday, 30 July 2018

Swan Upping


Thanks for popping in.

It's the time of year for the annual Swan Upping on the River Thames, to count and assess the health of the mute swans.  The journey takes five days starting in Sunbury and ending in Abingdon with The Queen's Swan Marker, together with the Swan Uppers from the Worshipful livery companies of the Vintners and Dyers, who are the only other owners of swans on the Thames, rowing along the River in traditional skiffs, their scarlet uniforms and flags giving the occasion a burst of colour.

When a swan family is spotted, the boats are positioned around them to corner the swans so that they can be carefully lifted out of the water, recorded, weighed, beaks measured and depending on whether the parent swans belong to the livery companies or The Queen, the accompanying cygnets will be ringed to show they belong to the livery companies or left unringed to show they are owned by The Queen. 

Swan Upping goes back to the days when swans were eaten but these days the census is done mainly for reasons of conservation and education, as many schools are invited to take part and help with the recording.

The photos below given a flavour of the proceedings. 

The swans are cornered.  A number of cruise ships pause their journey to watch.

The Queen's Swan Marker and the two livery companies' Wardens have a swan's feather in their caps.

Everyone's organised to lift the swans out, their feet are then tied to keep them calm.

The times that the Swan Uppers will reach each town or lock along the River are published but in Henley they were a good 45 minutes early - if there aren't many swans to count, that's bound to happen.  A Year 5 class from a local school had to come flying over the bridge from the River and Rowing Museum to get there in time to help.  The marquees still up from the previous week's Regatta provided a good shady place for all the recording.

The schoolchildren were captivated by the whole thing and enjoyed stroking the cygets to wish them luck.

All lined up together, they were lowered happily into the water . . .

. . . and were soon on their way under the bridge.
The Swan Uppers set off for a well deserved lunch before carrying on down the River where at their next stop, Marsh Lock, they would find more swans to record.  I'm not sure how they manage when they get to Windsor as there are always hundreds of swans there.


Friday, 27 July 2018

Carnival Flower Show - Embroiderers and Lacemakers


Thanks for visiting.

As part of the Carnival Flower Show, the local branch of the Embroiderer's Guild and North Down's Lacemakers had a display of their work. 

Some of the embroidery had been made for inclusion in the Capability Brown Festival exhibitions marking the 300th  Anniversary of his birth in 2016.  The stitch and textile work had a landscape theme to reflect his garden designs.

The Lacemakers astounded everyone with their tiny patterns and good eyesight.

One lady had even a enlarged a lace pattern and had used yarn to make some scarves.

Fascinating to see. Such patience.


Thursday, 26 July 2018

Carnival Flower Show


Lovely to see you.

You might remember the Carnival Procession the other week, well, there was a beautiful Horrible History themed Flower Show in the Parish Church with operatic accompaniment.

Amazing Aztecs- Good Neighbours

Lifting our Spirits

Incredible Incas

Groovy Greeks

Vicious Vikings

Measly Middle Ages

Terrible Tudors - Mary Queen of Scots

Terrible Tudors - Spanish Armada

Terrible Tudors Queen Elizabeth I

Bible Stories

Slimy Stewarts Civil War

Slimy Stewarts - Gunpowder Plot

Slimy Stewarts Great Fire of London

Gorgeous Georgians

Green & Butterflies

Savage Stoneage
Well done everyone - all the local clubs and societies - it was wonderful.