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Friday 24 July 2015


Originally built in 1766, Bentley Priory was significantly extended in 1788 by Sir John Soane. The Priory was the final home of the Dowager Queen Adelaide, subsequently becoming an hotel and girls school before being acquired by The Royal Air Force in 1926. In WW2 it was the headquarters of RAF Fighter Command.

A fire in 1979 peeled off the whitewash paint of the above ceiling, revealing the intricate painted pattern designed by Sir John Soane so, although much was lost in the fire, the ceiling was revealed.

The 10 minute diorama/film about Sir Hugh Dowding, the commander of RAF Fighter Command, and the Battle of Britain is presented brilliantly.

One of the many stained glass windows.

I seemed to take rather a lot of chandelier photographs !!!!

All the information received was fed through the Filter Room before being passed to Sector Level.

The views are magnificent, this being the highest point in Middlesex and the Italian gardens are a work in progress and are coming on nicely.

The staff and guides were so knowledgeable ….. it's a beautiful place to visit and so well presented. The exhibits are brilliant and the tour explains the role of this beautiful house during World War 2 and the role of Fighter Command and the history of the Battle of Britain. You feel as if you've just dropped in on Sir Hugh Dowding and the RAF personnel. 
Without RAF Bentley Priory's work in WW2, things just might have turned out very differently.


image 1: via agnautacouture, image 2: via barwin ….. remaining images via me !!


Tuesday 14 July 2015

RHS HAMPTON COURT PALACE FLOWER SHOW …… a series of unfortunate events !!!!! ………

Unfortunately, our tickets for the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show coincided with the hottest day of the year !!! Now, I love the hot weather as much as the next person BUT our journey consists of :
Car to the station where there are ALWAYS spaces but on this day, it was completely full ….. not one space …… NADA !!!!
Had to then cross the level crossing { had to wait 10 minutes as the barriers were down } for the other small car park ……. FULL !!!! Time was ticking by and we were meeting a friend on the next train ……. there was one more small car park a couple of hundred yards away …. result …. there were spaces BUT ….. this car park shuts the barrier at 9.00 p.m……. hopefully, we would be back by then !!!! We had only been out for about half and hour and I looked like I'd been dragged through a hedge backwards !!
Jumped on the train and found friend ….. a fifteen minute journey and then we had to change for the underground ….. 11 stations !!! Quite blowy and a bit cooler but, once on the train, BOILING !! 
Then, it was another train from Vauxhall to Hampton Court ….. 9 LONG stations !!!
Exit station ……. found lovely restaurant and had light lunch and a small glass of wine ……. big mistake ….. HUGE !!!! I had already drunk gallons of water but was dehydrated !

Popped into an antique shop for a little look …..

and took a photograph of this pretty little cottage.

….. and then, probably the best and coolest part of the trip, a ten minute boat ride to Hampton Court Palace.

Hampton Court Palace has loomed over the River Thames for nearly 500 years. Redevelopment began to be carried out in 1515 for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, favourite of King Henry v111. In 1529, as Wolsey fell from favour, the king seized the Palace for himself and later enlarged it. Apart from the Palace itself, other points of interest are the gardens, the maze which was commissioned in 1700 by William 111, the historic tennis court built by Cardinal Wolsey between 1526 and 1529 and the huge grape vine claimed to be the largest in the world. The grape vine is more than 230 years old and over 36.5 metres long and was planted by Lancelot ' Capability ' Brown around 1768.

Finally, we had arrived. I very rarely moan about the weather …… we have been in Las Vegas when it was 125 degrees and I was fine. I had also worn the wrong thing ……. I decided to wear a maxi dress ….. I haven't worn a maxi dress since the 70's but it was new and I thought I would get a nice breeze around my nether regions but it was made of viscose and elastine and far too hot. My long hair was not helpful and I could taste the salt dripping down my face !! 
ANYWAY ….. here are a few, not particularly good, photographs ….. my heart wasn't really in it !! 

Under the circumstances, I was rather proud of the above shot !!!

On the plus side, we did see Monty Don,

doing a piece to camera.

and, a final, tranquil, somewhat out of focus image looking back at the Palace. Just before we left we sat down and dangled our feet in the Long Water Canal and cooled off .  The show closed at 7.00pm …… boat back to the station which was packed and then the return LONG journey !! I found a seat after a  few stations and could see my reflection in the window. My face was as red as a beetroot, hair plastered to my head and, when we had sat and dangled our feet in the Long Water Canal, I had sat in bird poo and stinging nettles !! NICE !! There were many young women on the train ……. many in shorts and they ALL looked cool and beautiful { it's times like these when you realise how old you are !! }
It was nearly 9.00pm when we got on the last leg of our journey home …… which meant that the car would be locked in for the night. As luck would have it, the car park was still open ….. I have never been more pleased to get back home !!!!

It was such a shame as the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is the largest show of it's kind in the world …. perhaps we will go again next year…. and, hopefully, it will be somewhat cooler !!

No photos of me …… it would hurt your eyes !!!!

image 1: via the libertine enzine, image 5: via landmark trust. All other images via ME.