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Tuesday 27 October 2015


I have lived 20 to 30 minutes away from London all of my life and have visited many of the iconic buildings over the years but it always amazes me how many more places there are to visit and how I shall, more than likely, never see them all !!

Last week we went on The Great Stink Tour !! 

We started our tour at Clifford's Inn Passage. By the 19th Century, this lane was a dark and claustrophobic little haunt .....

..... exactly the sort of place where a Londoner, having made merry in the surrounding multitude of taverns and gin palaces, would drunkenly stagger for a pee. Back then, of course, London's sanitary arrangements left a lot to be desired and folk relieved themselves wherever they could !! The walls of these passageways were usually private property, the owners of which, did not take too kindly to having their cherished brickwork eroded away by copious amounts of steaming urine so, they bolted urine deflectors to the wall which deterred potential wee'er's, as the urine would end up on their feet and would also be directed into the gutter !

Through Clifford Passage and onto Fleet Street ..... number 17 being one of the few surviving buildings in the City of London dating from before The Great Fire of London of 1666. It's a good example of a house where the upper levels protrude over the pavement so that human waste thrown from the upper windows would hopefully miss the passers-by !!

We then got the boat to Greenwich, past the Cutty Sark where we picked up the coach to Crossness Pumping Station. 
Two hundred years ago, London was in a mess, with raw sewage flowing into the Thames and thousands dying of cholera. 
In 1858, the ' Great Stink ' from the river got so bad that Parliament had to close, making it imperative that something was done.
Enter Joseph Bazelgette who supervised the building of the great Victorian sewage network for London. All of the waste was sent to two pumping stations, one of which was Crossness. 

Hard hats had to be worn ..... that's me in mine !! 
The Victorians loved all of their buildings to be ornate, including their pumping stations .....

' VOILA ' 

It is SO beautiful !! ..... and it's just a pumping station !!

Some has been left as they found it .....

..... and some has been renovated. 
They built Crossness Pumping Station as a cathedral of industrialisation ..... ornate cast iron decoration around a central octagon.

There was a museum of toilet ephemera including all the different ways that people ' cleaned up ' after themselves before toilet paper arrived, including a communal sponge on a stick, left in vinegar until the next person needed it, oyster and mussel shells { the mind boggles !! } and rope !!
Thank goodness for soft toilet paper !!!!! 

image 1: via youtube, image 2: via goodreads, image 3: via huffington post, 
All other images via ME


Tuesday 6 October 2015


Our By Invitation subject this month is all about Autumn fashion and the one thing that we take everywhere and can't leave home without .....

I'm not really a jewellery lover but, I do love silver bangles and, in particular, silver cuffs.

The above are my favourites ..... two silver cuffs from Afghanistan and .....

..... my silver cross which, I think, was a Bible hinge and you'll never guess where it came from ? I bought it when I was about 18 from the shop called Chelsea Girl { now called River Island } at the end of the 1960's and, I wear it and the bracelets everyday when I go out. The cross cost me £1.99 !!!! It's solid silver and, I've seen them for sale for over £100 !!  Over 40 years of wearing it, pretty much, everyday. I think that I have got my money's worth, don't you ? ..... Good old Chelsea Girl !!

I do vary the bracelets from time to time . My husband bought me most of them including the one above ..... I then saw it on a catwalk image on Pinterest !!!! ..... my bracelet is famous !!!! ... ish !!

I guess that I'm cheating a bit as, I do wear them in Spring, Summer and Winter too but, they are really the only things that I take everywhere !!

" Jewelry takes people's minds off your wrinkles "

{ Sarah Phillips }

If you would like to see what other people can't do without this Autumn, pop over to Marsha where you'll find all the links.

image 1: via daniel pardini, images 2 & 3: via envers du decor, image 4: via margadirube, images 5, 6 & 7: via me