Welcome to my blog

This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Friday, 9 June 2017

Weekend Reflections

I always enjoy a walk by the river. This is the Thames Barrier, built to protect London from exceptional high tides and storm surges from the North Sea.
Sharing with James at weekend reflection

Thursday, 8 June 2017

London Bridge

I have found it very difficult to post this week due to the horrific attacks in London last Saturday evening. London Bridge where my son works; the Southwark Tavern where he meets up with friends; London Bridge where my daughter meets up with friends; Borough Market where we all go to eat and socialise; London Bridge where I was on Saturday morning, on my way to Manchester; London Bridge where I would have been on Saturday night had I returned to London as planned.

Yesterday I was again at London Bridge. Part of the area is still cordoned off and Borough Market closed.

I want my family to feel safe and secure where they live and work. The police and security forces protect us as far as possible. In this latest attack it took just 8 minutes from the police receiving the first call to when the terrorists were killed, preventing many more deaths and injuries.
More must be done but I feel it is too late by the time these people come to the attention of the security forces. Their places of worship must do more to understand how to make the young people be part of a multi cultural society and help them respect other views and cultures. A segregated society is a dangerous one.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Bart's Hospital Museum.

St Bart's Hospital is the oldest hospital in Britain that still provides medical care from its original site. Bart's was founded in 1123 by Rahere, an Anglo-Norman priest and Monk. It survived both The Great Fire of London and the Blitz and being a hospital it was not affected by the Dissolution of the Monasteries (1536-41). However, that act did mean an end to its income and consequently Henry VIII refounded the hospital in 1546 by signing an agreement granting the hospital to the Corporation of London.
This is the main public entrance to the hospital, the King Henry VIII gate. The statue above the gate is the only remaining statue of him in London.

Whereas all hospitals will have a chapel, St Barts is the only hospital to have a parish church within its grounds. St Bartholomew-the-Less has a 15th Cent tower and vestry. It was very difficult to photograph as I couldn't get back far enough.

Inside is this early 20th cent stained glass window of a nurse.

This is the 18th Cent square created by James Gibbs. Overlooking the square in the hospital's historic North wing is St Bart's Museum.

Displayed in the museum are copies of Rahere's grant of 1137 and the 1546 agreement between Henry VIII and the City of London.
This is an original document from 1331 bearing  the new seal of the hospital.

This is the hospital ledger from 1726
Ledgers were kept by the hospital from 1547 as a record of the money received and paid out. This page shows the annual salaries paid to staff. You can't help admiring that beautiful handwriting.

Other displays include surgical instruments like this case of amputation equipment.It is believed that this case belonged to the founder of the medical school John Abernethy(1764-1831). Before
 anaesthetics, the speed of operation was very important to minimise not only the pain but the loss of blood.
There are also audio tapes describing how the lives of doctors and nurses have changed over the centuries. It is a small but very interesting museum with lots of snippets of information that grab your attention.
'No women, including sisters, were allowed in the men's ward after 7 o'clock. Any patients who swore, blasphemed, were disobedient or refused to go to bed were punished in the stocks after one warning.'

At the back of the museum is the Grand Staircase leading to the Grand Hall. (This is not accessible to the public but the staircase can be seen through the doorway.) The governors wanted to have a spectacular entrance and considered inviting a Venetian artist to decorate the walls. However, William Hogarth (1697-1764) heard of their intentions and offered his services for free. He was well known for his paintings at the time and his generous offer was not to be missed. The two vast paintings were completed between 1734-37.

Just outside the museum is a collection box for the poor. It looks Victorian but I haven't been able to confirm the date. If you are in the Smithfield part of London then have a look at this small museum. Admission is free although donations are always welcome.
Sharing with Our World Tuesday

Friday, 26 May 2017


Description Candle Light.JPGIt has been difficult to think of anything other than the tragic loss of life in Manchester this week. Brought up in Manchester and having Mum in a nursing home there, I am a regular visitor to the City. It is a very different place to London where I now live. The difference is in the people and community. It is a friendly, welcoming city where everyone speaks to everyone else. It is incomprehensible that anyone could do this to their fellow human beings.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Above the Underground - Greenford

Now I am home after my various trips it is time to continue with my 'Above the Underground' challenge. With just 5 stations left to visit on the Central line I am determined to complete this line in the next couple of months. If you want to read about the 45th station I've just visited click here

Monday, 15 May 2017

Design Museum

The Design Museum at Shad Thames closed in June 2016 and moved to its new location in Kensington High Street in Nov 2016. Its new home is the former Commonwealth Institute in Holland Park. I was very keen to see how this building, which was opened in 1962,  had been remodelled to accommodate the Design Museum. I visited The Commonwealth Institute in the early 70s. It contained a permanent exhibition about the nations of the Commonwealth and information about how the Commonwealth operated. My impressions of the building remained with me as a huge space that was difficult to fill.

The building had become derelict in recent years due to the enormous cost of extensive modernisation and it was eventually sold in 2002. Major funding contributions from Arts Council England, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Sir Terence Comran meant that the building would be saved and brought to life again. It also means that for the first time access to the Design Museum will be free. It has taken four years to complete the work giving the Design Museum three times more exhibition space as well as more areas to extend its learning programme. So come inside and see what you think.

As you enter the building you are confronted by this large open space giving you glimpses of the roof.

There are balconies overlooking the foyer.

A large stairway takes you up to the galleries.

Before entering the main gallery there is a display of everyday objects nominated by members of the public because they are important or special in some way.

Some things are here because they do their job well; some because they are beautiful and others carry special personal memories. All the objects were instantly recognisable.

Other items that caught my eye included this piece of felt. This is what's left after tennis balls have been cut out.

Televisions and radios.

Portable audio systems including the Sony Walkman and the ipod.

With my interest in the Underground then this map has to be my favourite design.