Sunday, August 26, 2012

On french turf in Arcy-sur-Cure

And it was good! The weather in Burgundy was pleasantly fine at 35°C! The French country side does not disappoint in this region. Many miles of small farming communities still making a living from the land. Here's just a few observational casual snaps!

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Streets of London 2012 - Ham in the Hamper!

It's May, we have left April behind as it was a tad wet this year, but May has brought glorious sunshine and with it some small adventures. In this weather it can be a bit warm for energetic cycling or long walks so why not pack a hamper and come with us to Ham House.

The journey begins at Richmond station, easily reachable by bus, train and tube and not that far from Heathrow if you're coming by plane!

Make you way through the Richmond town towards the river Thames. Ask anybody and they will know the way as Richmond runs along the length of the river. Go south west away from London.

Follow the river promenade past bars and boat houses, under the old Richmond bridge and out of town towards Petersham Meadows. You will be walking parallel to Petersham Road A307. Notice above to your left as you pass the Terrace Gardens and Richmond Hill. A detour up Nightingale Lane will take you to a stunning vista and a great pub, the Roebuck, splendid views all year round across Surrey.

But our journey today takes us straight on following the river path next to Petersham Meadows. The walk is 2 miles from the station to Ham House, most of which is promenade and river path. You can access Ham House via small country paths leaving the river path or a wide clearing once you are directly in front of the house.

Ham House is a wonderful 17th Century pad, but the bit we love most is the grass and tree lined avenues that lay in front and beside the house. They are not Versailles size but they are often peaceful and quiet. Not many people make the journey from Richmond and as the house is well hidden from roads and can only be accessed by a small dead end road pass a housing estate. So it's usually very tranquil. The house is surrounded by trees and sits proud in its own grounds and comfortably next to the Thames.

Picnics are common for us here, as a break from a tow-path ride or as a city escape going back in time to the 17th Century.

Happy hampering.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Easter in Scale Hill Loweswater

There is no better, nor peaceful place to retreat for a break than Loweswater. The north western Lake Districts most beautiful and undisturbed valley. Leading to the great waters of Crummock and Buttermere. Loweswater holds nothing for the gift hunting, antique collecting or chip loving tourist, why? Because there are no shops, 1 pub, a church and loads of mountains!

Yet again we return to Heather and her gang at Scale Hill Cottages and what great hosts they are. Testing out a camera lens from the bottom of the bag we went exploring by Crummock Water, scrambling up High Crag, High Stile and Red Pike. Wandering up Low fell, crutches and all.

After a long break from walking in the Lakes one family member was once again in walking boots and there was no stopping them!

This place really is heavenly. With it's own micro climate no day is the same as another. And if it's a bit wet there is always the Kirkstile Inn that never disappoints!

We will be back.

Above: Beaberry Tarn and Crummock Water

Above: Rannerdale Knotts and Crummock Water

Above: Shore side Crummock Water and Mellbreak

Above: Low Fell

Above: Crummock Water and Mellbreak

Above: Lowewater and Crummock Water

Above: Red Pike

Above: Scale Hill Cottages and Grasmoor

Above: Lanthwaite Wood

Above: Crummock Water

Above: Mellbreak and Crummock Water

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Streets of London in 2012 - The Uxbridge Road

From Hillingdon to Shepherds Bush this is a seriously cool cultural outing. The relative green leafy suburbnites of Uxbridge to the beat box multi-cultural urbanites of Shepherds Bush. At nearly 11 miles it can be walked in a day or cycled easily in a couple of hours. The history and culture is mixed, Asian, Black, White, Eastern European and many more. All reflected in food, entertainment and faith.

The Uxbridge Road is the main artery going through West London. It is serviced by many buses and has various rail and tube stations en-route. There are cycle lanes along most of the Uxbridge Road and plenty of taxis. But the best way to experience this part of the streets of London is to walk it, and enjoy the culture and food along the way.

The area is safe and locals all friendly. As long as you don't put temptation out in front of you (iPads cameras etc.) you should enjoy a great experience in West London. The route is more suburban around Hillingdon and becomes more varied toward Southall and from there on in to London.

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

The streets of London in 2012 – by canal

Or in this case a trip to the "Timber Cathedral of Middlesex"

Not technically the streets this one but it started on the streets of London and ended outside a 14th century tithe barn! This is a simple ride best done on an off roader.

It begins in Brentford Docks and heads north west along the Grand Union canal, a fabulous little bit of peace and quiet that winds its way out of London. Follow the canal all the way to Horton Bridge just before West Drayton Station. Cross the canal here southwards towards our destination Harmondsworth Tithe Barn.

Now you are on tarmac on the Kingston Road through flats and small parks. Through the traffic lights, briefly on Station Road. Then right at the lights onto Harmondsworth Road. Over the M4 then right at mini round about onto Holloway Lane into Harmondsworth village.

This is actually quite a strange place. A 14th century Saxon village squished between the M4, M25 and our lovely national airport Heathrow. But the village is beautiful, with two pubs (not tried them yet!). The tithe barn is closed at present, but recently purchased but English Heritage it should be open again on 2 Sundays a month from April.

I nipped round the back where you can get a great close up view if the tithe barn is closed on your visit. Go through the village on High Street and continue on Moor Lane. On the right there is some public common land where you can ride or walk across to the back of the tithe barn.

As I said earlier it's weird looking at old 14th century barn and then turning 180ยบ and seeing close up a jumbo landing just behind the trees – but it is an amazing piece of history within striking distance, in 1 hour by bike, from West London.

Here's the route in Google Maps: The streets of London in 2012 – by canal

View The streets of London in 2012 – by canal in a larger map

Monday, January 2, 2012

The streets of London in 2012 – early

"No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford."
— Samuel Johnson

London has so much life and often in the most unexpected and surprising places. In 2012 London will be host to many international guests and as Londoners we have the opportunity to play a positive and exciting part in the life of our city. 

If you are wondering where to wander on the streets of London in 2012 then consider this as an option to enjoy and pass time with friends foreign guests and dignitaries.

Get into London early around sunrise, preferably on a weekend when it's quieter and take your cameras for a stroll. Outdoor photography is always better when the sun is low and London is magical when it is waking up. 

A good starting point is to travel in through Earls Court and along the Chelsea Embankment. You will have stunning views of Battersea Power Station and many Thames bridges. Cross over the Thames at Parliament Square on Westminster Bridge and pop down to the South Bank. Here you will get loads of picture perfect postcard photos as London wakes up.

Cross over the Thames again, now best on foot, on the Hungerford Bridge and wonder up into Covent Garden. If you have got up early enough you will experience some empty streets which make London a very different place to visit. Move through the streets towards St Paul's Catheral and then one final push across the Millennium Footbridge, stop in the middle for stunning views up and down the Thames.

You can then pop in to the Tate Modern cafe high above London for a well earned breakfast. Finish with a stroll back down to the South Bank and home back to bed!

Here's the route in Google Maps: The streets of London in 2012 – early

View The streets of London in 2012 - Early in a larger map

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

River bottom and white swans

It appears that Richmond weir is having a spot of repair work done until Christmas. This gives us a very special and rare view of the river bottom of the Thames in Richmond and Twickenham. Sad I know, but after cycling by the river for so many years it really quite exciting to see this unique site. One that was readily available to our ancestors!

Long Water and Hampton Court's Royal swans amongst some helpful fencing left by the Hampton Court Flower Show! Never the less a beautiful site on this cold winter's morning.