Wednesday, 20 June 2018


Rosa ' Kiftsgate ' is an extremely vigorous rambling rose, bearing masses of small, single cream-white flowers with a strong musk fragrance, followed by red, oval shaped hips .....

It is ideal for growing through large trees  so we planted one about four years ago to ramble through the tree that we planted in 1987 just after the Great Storm when we were all asked, if we could, to plant a tree to replace the hundreds { thousands ? } that fell during that storm.
 I wouldn't recommend the Kiftsgate for a small garden ....

 ..... along with the Great White Shark and the Bengal Tiger, Rosa fillips ' Kiftsgate ' should be avoided by all sensible human beings !!!
Every 4 inches or so, it is embellished with the biggest and sharpest thorns you have ever encountered and you risk life and limb if you should need to prune it !!! We are lucky enough to be able to let it run away into the tree ..... it is vicious.

..... but, it smells divine , looks so pretty when bought into the house, and it's open, single flowers are attracted to bees . 

It looks like a cascading waterfall amongst the trees and is equally as beautiful when you bring some inside. 

It is so easy to take cuttings ..... most will take if you just stick cuttings into the ground ..... 
BUT .....
only give them away to people that you don't like !!!


Tuesday, 12 June 2018


We used to have a very large ivy with a massive trunk that had grown so large over our back door 
we chopped it down and I ordered a canopy from Garden Requisites

I am so pleased with it .... it looks as if it's been there forever!


Sunday, 10 June 2018

RUBBING DOWN and a RESCUE ..........

We were rubbing down the paintwork on the downstairs windows this morning ready for a fresh coat of ..... 

..... I know ..... I am probably guilty of succumbing to the power of advertising but I do like the chalkiness of their paint .....

I digress..... 
I looked across the road and saw, waddling down the grassy bank on the other side of the road, a mummy duck and her baby ducklings trying to cross the road. A lady in a 4 x 4 had stopped to let them cross and I shooed them onto the pavement. They then went under next doors car !!! Another lady with her daughter { both adore all animals great and small ! } stopped in her Fiat and was most concerned ..... I said it was no use calling the RSPCA as I had had dealings with them before with a Magpie that had fallen down our chimney that was dive bombing me, but, they never seem to want to help.... said Fiat lady agreed. 
I looked under the car but they had disappeared so I guessed they had gone down the alley ..... back to rubbing down.
Five minutes later there was a long traffic jam as the ducks had waddled back into the road !!! Everyone was really patient as the little family walked the three hundred yards back to the river { first having to navigate a really busy road ! }

Good deed done, back to rubbing down !!  

Photographs via Google as I didn't have time to get my phone !

images via google 


Thursday, 17 May 2018

THE CEREMONY of the KEYS ..........

My bestest friend rang me last week  ..... she had booked tickets for her sister and brother in law and themselves to go and see the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. It's a years waiting list and when she looked at the conformation email, she noticed they had six tickets and asked for us to join them ..... of course we said yes !!! 

Walking out of Tower Hill tube station you are greeted by  The Tower of London in all it's glory. 

The White Tower, which gives the entire castle it's name, was built by William the Conqueror. in 1078 and was a resented symbol of repression. The castle was used as a prison from 1100 until the notorious Kray twins were imprisoned there in 1952. Despite it's enduring reputation as a place of torture and death, only seven people were executed  within the Tower before the two World Wars. Executions were more commonly held on the notorious Tower Hill.

The Tower has served as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public record office and the home of the Crown Jewels of England. 

..... past Traitors Gate, the entrance through which many prisoners of the Tudors arrived at The Tower of London. Prisoners were bought by barge, passing under London Bridge where the heads of recently executed prisoners were displayed on pikes !!!

It was a lovely Spring evening  and we made our way to .....

..... The Tower hotel for dinner. 

At precisely 9.30 p.m we were admitted, under escort, to the Tower. I have visited The Tower of London before quite a few times but always in daylight ..... being in there at night, without tourists, brings home the horror and the beauty of the place.
Every night at precisely 9.52 p.m, a lone figure in a long red coat walks down Water Lane, the narrow, cobbled street enclosed between the mighty inner and outer walls of the Tower of London. He is the Gentleman Porter whose responsibility it is to lock up the Tower. This has been done, every single night since 1280 ..... over 700 years without fail,  through the Plague, the Great Fire and the Blitz. It is the oldest ceremony in the world. It is a precisely timed, seven minute ceremony which must finish on the exact stroke of 10.00p.m. The only time this did not happen was the 29th December 1940 when a bomb fell within 50 feet and blew the warders off of their feet !!! They picked themselves up, completed the ceremony and wrote a letter of apology the the King for being three minutes late, who graciously replied that he fully understood !!!
The Gentleman Porter walks alone with his lantern, down Water Lane to the entrance to the Bloody Tower, { where the young princes were murdered by their uncle, Richard 111 and where Walter Raleigh was imprisoned for thirteen years} where he picks up an escort of Tower of London guards who return down Water Lane with him to the gates.
Once the huge doors are shut, barred and locked, the escort march swiftly back down Water Lane. A sentry steps out from the shadows, challenging those approaching crying

" Halt ! Who comes there ? "
" The Keys "
All involved have a loaded gun pointed at them.
' Whose keys " asks the sentry,
" Queen Elizabeth's keys "
" Pass Queen Elizabeth's keys, for all is well " responds the sentry.
The keys and escort march triumphantly to the stone steps, they present arms, the clock chimes 10.00 p.m , the Gentleman Porter raises his Tudor bonnet , delivering the words,
" God preserve Queen Elizabeth ! "

Finally, a bugler plays the last post and the Gentleman Porter makes his way to report to the Constable that the Tower is locked for the night. 


and this has happened, every single night for over seven hundred years !!!!!      

..... and then it was time to go home !!!

Another great thing to do in London and, it's free !!!!!


image 9: via coach house rentals, image 10: via the household division, all other photographs via me


Sunday, 6 May 2018

FOR RACHEL ..........

Saw this growing in our lawn and thought of you ..... hope you are feeling a little sunnier.



Sunday, 29 April 2018

DOUBLE TATE !!! ..........

Do you remember last Thursday week ? ..... the hottest day of the year so far ? Well, we went to Londinium, capital of England !!!

A lovely trip on the Thames clipper ..... get off at Bankside, 

A little walk past St Paul's Cathedral .....

..... a glimpse of The Shard in that beautiful clear blue sky { remember clear blue skies ? }

A walk through Paternoster Square and under Temple Bar, which was the principal ceremonial entrance to the City of London ..... commissioned by King Charles 11, Temple Bar was rebuilt after the Great Fire of London, by Sir Christopher Wren between 1669 and 1672. In 1878 it was dismantled, piece by piece, and re erected in Theobald's Park { near where I live .... many a couple parked up there for a bit of how's your father including me !!!! } and languished there until 2004 when it was returned to the City of London.

 Into Tate Modern .....

Took this photograph through the window of Tate Modern ..... I thought it looked like a painting itself !

Saw some fabulous modern art, some of the old favourites, Monet, Dali, Hockney 


..... am I missing something with the above ? Maybe my arty blogging friend's can enlighten me ?

..... and this one that was made out of couscous ???? Maybe it's because I work better in bulgur wheat !!!! Am I a complete philistine ?

Anyway, back on the boat to Millbank and Tate Britain. 

A beautiful building 

..... and much art to peruse !!

Walked to a lovely Italian restaurant for dinner and then home. A great day out and we walked nearly 10 miles !!!!


image 1: via kid rated, image 12: via tate, all other images via me.


Sunday, 8 April 2018


I think that you all might find this interesting ... it's a bit of a longer post than I normally do but try and stick with it ... it also has family connections !

 In 1845, The Franklin expedition met a tragic end after becoming trapped in Arctic Ice, killing all 129 people on board. Before knowing of it's fate, the British Government sent expeditions in search of Franklin.

One of the ships sent to find Franklin was HMS Resolute under the command of Canadian Sir Edward Belcher. They left England in April 1852 and on board was my husband's great, great, great { can't remember how many greats !!! } Uncle William, ship's carpenter. William wrote a journal of the whole expedition which was given to my husband by his aunt .....

BUT ...
... his parents borrowed it and decided to sell it and ...

... it was auctioned at Sotheby's in December 1984. It was bought by the Canadian High Commission for £17,000 !!!

The journal was 250 detailed pages with drawings and water colours of ships, printed posters and playbills and autographed letters. It sold for so much as it was chockablock full of information not only of their own voyage but what they found of the Franklin expedition. 

In 1981, bodies from the Franklin expedition were exhumed and found to be in near perfect condition { there are photographs of them on line but are a little gruesome so I didn't put them up here but they are easily found if you google Franklin expedition frozen bodies if you're interested ! } William recorded in his journal in 1852 that they too found the same three bodies on Beechey Island. 
Much was learnt from the bodies in 1981, one was that some of their deaths could be attributed to lead poisoning from the solder on the canned food but there were a number of things that could have killed them including hypothermia, scurvy and starvation. There were also indications that the crew had resorted to cannibalism.The bodies were returned to their graves and nobody would ever be able to tell that anyone had disturbed the grave site as every stone was returned to the same position it was before they arrived.
HMS Resolute abandoned ship in April 1854 as the ship was locked in slow moving ice and the crew rescued. In 1855, HMS Resolute was found by American whaler George Henry. HMS Resolute was returned to England as a gesture of national courtesy and the ship was presented to Queen Victoria. HMS Resolute was retired in 1879 and salvaged for timber.

The Resolute desk was made from the oak timbers of the ship and presented to President Rutherford B Hayes from Queen Victoria, in 1880 as a memorial of the courtesy and loving kindness of the American people. This is the desk that nearly all the presidents have sat at in the Oval Office in The White House. Queen Victoria also had a writing desk made for herself from the timbers.
Because my husbands uncle was the carpenter on HMS Resolute, he must have acquired some of the timbers, as we have a footstool with a brass plaque saying ' made from the timbers of HMS Resolute'. I can't take a photograph of it as we haven't got it at the moment. 

The Franklin expedition departed England in 1845 aboard two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror.
After the success of The Walking Dead there is a new horror drama called The Terror, directed by Ridley Scott to be shown on AMC starting on April 24th in the UK { it's already started in the US } It is a gripping, atmospheric, supernatural horror series inspired by the true story.

There is much more to the real story { even Charles Dickens got involved and wrote about it } but I'm sure you have all heard enough.... if you've read everything I've written then you deserve a medal !!!

image 1: via wikipedia, images 2 & 3: via me, image 4: via owlcation, image 5: via white house history, image 6: via geek