Springtime in Photos

“Spring drew on…and a greenness grew over those brown beds, which, freshening daily, suggested the thought that Hope traversed them at night, and left each morning brighter traces of her steps.”

Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë

From indoors, yesterday was a beautiful day. The sun shone brightly and I hurried out to work. As I stepped onto the pavement a bracing wind caught my light leather jacket, tugged at my loosely-wrapped scarf and made my feet feel naked in my sockless pumps.

Some snippets of March and April (all photos are captioned if you click on them): Continue reading Springtime in Photos

St Paul’s bellringers, ancient societies, mysterious ringing and Harry Potter

crypt St PaulsOranges and lemons, Say the bells of St. Clement’s.
You owe me five, Say the bells of St. Martin’s.
When will you pay me? Say the bells of Old Bailey.
When I grow rich, Say the bells of Shoreditch.
When will that be? Say the bells of Stepney.
I do not know, Says the great bell of Bow.
Here comes a candle to light you to bed, And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!

English Nursery Rhyme, original version (different from above) appeared in Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book (c. 1744)

It was dark and the summer revellers and loud tourists had long returned to their hotels and haunts. Continue reading St Paul’s bellringers, ancient societies, mysterious ringing and Harry Potter

IOW: Hovercraft, Intrigue in Cowes and miles of shipwreck coastline

Ratty, the rat from Wind in the Willow’s: “There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham

alternate endings
Not my pink-nail-polished finger.

Do you remember the ‘Choose your own adventure’ books? The protagonist is “you”, and you are given choices that lead to alternate outcomes. You’d get to a certain page which said something like, “If you want to investigate the noise in the attic turn to pg85. If you decide to put earplugs in your ears and hide your head under the covers, turn to pg76.”

Not great literature, but as a recovering control-freak, I understand the temptation to try and be the mistress of my own destination/life/story. Continue reading IOW: Hovercraft, Intrigue in Cowes and miles of shipwreck coastline

Days out part 2: Libraries, secret passageways and the last Whipping Boy

“It sounded like something in a book and it did not make Mary feel cheerful. A house with a hundred rooms, nearly all shut up and with their doors locked—a house on the edge of a moor—whatsoever a moor was—sounded dreary. A man with a crooked back who shut himself up also! She stared out of the window with her lips pinched together, and it seemed quite natural that the rain should have begun to pour down in gray…”

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

secret garden fulham palace
Our very own secret garden at Fulham Palace.

I looked around to see if anyone was watching. You particularly need to be careful of the room guides. Hubby had wondered off to look at another formulaic painting by Sir Peter Lely. I was safe. Between the great hall and the Duke of Lauderdale’s bed chamber I’d spotted a small door. ‘Staff only’, it stated. This, I suspected, led to a small servants’ passageway. Continue reading Days out part 2: Libraries, secret passageways and the last Whipping Boy

Time travel and being a tourist in my own city

“I had neither kith nor kin in England, and was therefore as free as air — or as free as an income of eleven shillings and sixpence a day will permit a man to be. Under such circumstances, I naturally gravitated to London, that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained.”

A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
(the first of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries)

A study in ScarletIf any of you are avid readers you’ll know the feeling of being in the middle of a few novels at once, of having a pile of unread books next to your bed and a bookshelf/kindle full of #mustreads that taunt and tempt.

A couple of birthdays ago Hubby gave me the novel, A study in Scarlet. Having recently finished Stephen King’s On Writing, I rescued this little red book from the shelf last week.

It’s a small volume of the who-dun-it-crime-scene-forensic-investigation persuasion. It is set at no. 221B Baker Street, London, in the year 1887. Continue reading Time travel and being a tourist in my own city

A guide to days out in London and a Valentine’s Day do-over with lots of drama

“Officers, what offence have these men done?

DOGBERRY: Marry, sir, they have committed false report; moreover, they have spoken untruths; secondarily, they are slanders; sixth and lastly, they have
belied a lady; thirdly, they have verified unjust things; and, to conclude, they are lying knaves.”

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare 

valentines dayI think Alfred Hitchcock once said, “What is drama, but life with all the dull bits cut out?” My life, like all of yours, is part dull bits, part drama. I rarely write about the dull bits. It’s waffle. It’s the same every day. You’d stop reading.

The dull bits can drown you, but they are inevitable. Work, commute, budgeting, filing, bad hair days, wardrobe crises, house work, meetings, paying bills … then you blink and a whole month has gone by! Continue reading A guide to days out in London and a Valentine’s Day do-over with lots of drama

Days Out: The Wandle Trail

“An errant May-fly swerved unsteadily athwart the current in the intoxicated fashion affected by young bloods of May-flies seeing life. A swirl of water and a ‘loop!’ and the May-fly was visible no more. Neither was the Otter.”

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

The Wandle TrailWe all make a lot of jokes and snide comments about summer in the UK, but really, it is a special time. All the people, animals and berries come out of hibernation and put on an elaborate show of flesh, fitness and fruitfulness.

It’s also a season of inspired weekend ideas.

This weekend hubby and I cycled the Wandle Trail. We donned our white legs in shorts, pumped up bicycle tyres and oiled chains (in point of fact, hubby actually did the oily dirty work – MWAH!). Continue reading Days Out: The Wandle Trail