Friday, 12 September 2014

The Tall Ships Regatta at Greenwich, London

For those dear Readers who have followed me for a while, you will know how dear to me Greenwich, London is.  It's my happy place, an area filled with nothing but sweet and smiling memories that tend to kiss your cheeks as you walk around the old buildings with the distant voices of past family members speaking to you and sharing your journey.  How I wished my dear Grandad was still with us just imparting his knowledge of this area with such enthusiasm and deepest love.  In my mind he was walking with me, Mumsy, Miss Teen and her friend Miss B.  I would have loved to have kept saying, 'Hey, do you remember...?', 'Why was this place called...?' and a million other questions, but instead, I just calmly kept talking to him in my thoughts.  So, Grandad, are you with me?  As you kept saying when we came out of the foot tunnel 'Where shall we go on our journey today? Do you remember?  Well, let's just stay near Greenwich beach and watch the sails come along the misty River Thames.  Does this remind you of your childhood watching the ships come in laden with exotic spices and food from across the seas?
The misty and darker skies can't dampen our spirits, along with the hordes of people that are visiting the Tall Ships Regatta.  Grandad, have you ever seen Greenwich so busy?  I can imagine many many years ago that this was a regular sight.
The romance and beauty of these ships hide the hard work and cramped conditions taken on by those on board.
You knew how I used to love to look at the bare bones of things, what was beneath the surface.  To see the masts, the ropes, the gathered up sails, is such a treat today.
Just standing here made me think of all the times I have stood here before with you by my side and Grandma smiling.
One by one, each ship passes, just like the years we enjoyed together.
Each one being different.
Each one bringing with it sweet memories to savour.
Just carrying on with their journey.
Different views through time.
With ropes showing the different pathways that we took along the way.
Can you remember the times we used to stand here and look across at the Isle of Dogs as the redevelopment was going through the motions over the years?
Then walking into the Painted Hall and looking at the ceiling from the mirror on wheels to save my neck becoming stiff?
And then there was our favourite place, The Queen's House.
Can you remember when me and Grandma got told off for eating our liver sausage and cucumber sandwiches on the terrace here?  Just one bench placed with such a beautiful view, why waste it?
Well, here is the idea that we obviously gave them for this empty place... afternoon tea!
Can you remember when we used to climb the tulip staircase and you used to tell me about the ghost that frequented it?
Then looking over the bannister on the first floor to the beautiful hall beneath us.  Our hands had touched this so many times.
The mesmerising geometric shapes.
 And the familiar statues.
The happy views across to the Royal Naval College.
And then, a painting.  A painting that means so much to both me and Mumsy.  The last time I stood in front of it, you were with me.  This was hard, so so hard that you were only with me in spirit this time.  But, there it was, in an empty room just waiting for me to teach your little game in front of it.
Were you smiling when I said 'right girls, walk left, walk right - see their eyes follow you?'
Now, go to the top of the room, see how long the table is?  Now walk closer, see it shrink?
The Somerset House Conference was painted in 1604 and I was so worried that this was no longer part of the collection.  Grandad, it is still there and now your grandaughter knows the game to pass on to her offspring!
It is lunch time now and time to just sit in Greenwich Park and have a little picnic.  We are happy with a burger and soft drink, however nearby it was Champagne and M&S picnic food!  A far cry from our liver sausage and cucumber sandwiches from times gone by!
A last walk along these cobbled stones under the Queen's House.  How many times did we walk along these, gradually wearing our shoe leather out?
And there's Mumsy, sitting on a bench in the same spot we used to sit at.  Your daughter had not sat here since she was a teenager and was so happy to be here once again.
The view from the bench hasn't changed!
But let's go and do some people watching!  The Naval Officer...
The colourful marching crew...
The skipper shouting his orders...
And, no, is it?... or in Miss Teen's words 'It's J, J, J, J'... couldn't get the words out... speechless.  It's Jack Sparrow, or could it actually be Mr Johnny Depp!!!  We could only wish, but Grandad, he was brilliant and looked, sounded and acted just like him!  He even gave Miss Teen a bit of a show for her to film and blew her a kiss at the end!
But it was nearing the end and time to say our farewells.   The Cutty Sark in its renewed glory was something you didn't get to see, but would have loved to have witnessed.  Also a spot of entertainment to make you smile.
Still looking beautiful and again your knowledge would have been let loose around here.
So Grandad, we will be back soon to walk with you, but until then, may we leave you smiling with Grandma by your side at the bench in the place we used to sit.
The photos this week had to be edited a bit due to the misty weather which was unfortunate, but it was an amazing day and one that I would love to go to again.  We will be back at Greenwich soon and hopefully a more sunny day, but if you want to see Greenwich in its full glory, please read my post here on a sunnier day.

Can I also say at the end of this very long post, thank you so much for your wonderful birthday wishes, you are all so lovely!

Have a wonderful weekend and week.

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Friday, 5 September 2014

On the Wolf Trail

After the last full London trip with so many wonderful things to reflect on and digest, I felt the need to visit the romance and open spaces of the seaside.  I wanted to walk along the cliff tops listening to the gulls, sink my toes into the soft sand and drink in the atmosphere around the light house at Old Hunstanton.
Myself and Mumsy wanted to spend some time together and walk along the Wolf Trail.  No, there are no real wolves in Old Hunstanton, just wooden ones!  The Wolf Trail tells the story of St Edmund, the first Patron Saint of England.  The trail takes you from the cenotaph to the lighthouse and the wolf statue.  
Legend has it that St Edmund surrendered to the Vikings and was then tied to an oak tree where he was tortured.  He would not renounce his religion so was then used as target practice by the Viking archers and was then beheaded with his head being buried in a forest.  After a month his supporters went to search for his head and heard St Edmund's voice shouting 'Here!'.  They were shocked to eventually find his head between the paws of a motionless wolf, who then stood up and quietly retreated to the depths of the forest.

The wolf sculpture was unveiled in 2011 and was designed by Jean Mulligan.
The sad thing along this trail were the occasional cut flowers blowing against the flimsy chicken wired barrier between the grassed area and the ever crumbling cliff edge.  Along with these were the contact details of the Samaritans, a last attempt to say there is someone to listen.  Heartbreaking.

We were now at the simple but romantic lighthouse, no longer in active use, but used as a rental holiday home.  Can you believe that this was built in 1666!!
Standing in front of the archway, it gave such a perfect frame to this beautiful building.
But we had finished the wolf trail and wanted to walk down to the sand dunes and back along the beach.
And this time, the danger was not walking off the cliff top, it was now the cliff falls.
This end of Hunstanton has so much space and of course, acres of sky.
Giving the perfect opportune moment to fly a kite!
And listen to the chatter of the gulls in their cliff side homes.
Along with watching the little boats sailing amongst the sand banks.
Stopping occasionally to look at a barnacle or two along the beach.
These were attached to the photogenic skeleton of a steam trawler called Sheraton which has graced Old Hunstanton's shores since 1947!
I just love getting up close to the skeleton of objects and seeing the structure that gives them their personality.
Looking at this structure made me think of whale bones on a shore.
With the wolf filling its belly for the winter!
Our walk was a lot shorter today, with fresh sea air and open scenery.
 Ice cream to enjoy along the way.
 And vibrant colours of a different nature.
This was a relaxed day to enjoy some peace and quiet before the school and college terms began and it certainly worked a treat!

So now, with my birthday weekend here, I will be enjoying a busy and emotional day at Greenwich's Tall Ships weekend.  I can't wait to share this with you next week!!

Have a wonderful weekend and week.

Take care.

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