Friday, August 31, 2012

Calton Hill, Edinburgh

At the east end of Princess Street is one of Edinburgh's most interesting and baffling landmarks - the half finished Parthenon. A National Monument to those who died in the Napoleonic Wars, building ceased when the funds ran out. 

Nevertheless, it gives interest to this end of town that has a City Observatory, Nelson's Monument and an old canon. The area also has all round views over the city and waterways. 

A delight has been to enjoy the sunshine and blue skies.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

City Warrior

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival has just finished here and the crowds dispersing. We spotted this "warrior"  leaving the ATM. Certainly a city of surprises. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

View Over Edinburgh From Arthur's Seat

We have now travelled on from Leeds to Scotland and will be staying a short time in Edinburgh. As the weather cleared yesterday it gave us the opportunity to enjoy a sunny walk up to Arthur's Seat for a view over the city. 

Arthur's Seat is in Holyrood Park. Holyrood means "holy cross" and is so named due to the vision David 1 had after he had been knocked from his horse by a stag while out hunting. According to legend, a cross miraculously appeared in his hands to ward off the attacking animal and in thanksgiving, the king founded the Abbey of the Holy Cross, Holyrood Abbey.

The edge of the Salisbury Crags are shown here in the mid photo with a part of Edinburgh in the background. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fountains Abbey, North Yorshire

Fountains Abbey is the most magnificent place that I have been to so far during my time in England. A World heritage site, the Abbey was founded in 1132 when thirteen monks came to the North Yorkshire valley. It went onto became one of the richest in Europe.

Exploring the history is a treat. Despite the  dissolution of the monasteries by King Henry VIII, the mill has been in continuous use for 850 years and now houses displays of its history and use. A remarkable story of a building's survival.

At the other end of the valley is the Studley Royal, a spectacular water garden created in the 1700s.

A wonderful place to visit, I could have spent the entire day in this photographic paradise.

To read more about the history of Fountains Abbey, click here.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Along the Thames Path

After my wonderful time in Bath, it was back to Oxford and preparing to leave for Leeds then onto Scotland. Before we left though, there was the opportunity to walk along the Thames Path into Oxford to pick up a hire car. For a long time I have had a dream of walking at least part of this pathway and this was the moment. 

During my time in England I continue to be amazed by green. Green is everywhere and so are the farm animals. This scene is not far from our hotel. It is not that far from Oxford either.

The juxtaposition of rural and urban life is refreshing. 

It was a pity that I did not have my other lens with me - too heavy to carry all that way. Look carefully at this photo to see what looks like a two headed horse! 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Out for an Evening Walk in Bath

Time for an evening stroll with my compact Lumix along the canal near where I was staying in Bath. What a beautiful city. And then to top it all off I came across a rather unique and entertaining comedy walk - Bizarre Bath. 

Joining about fifty people, we walked at a gentle pace through this spectacular city enjoying what would have to be the best 90 minutes of comedy. 

Weird, wonderful and sheer lunacy it would surely have to be Bath's top tourist attraction. Well next to the Roman Baths that is. Not to be missed and for eight pounds, fabulous value.     

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Taking the Waters

Whilst we have been in Oxford not every day has a hockey match so when the opportunity arose, we were off to Bath with the team. Whilst Ken needed to return to Oxford for more hockey, fortunately I could stay for a couple of nights giving me the opportunity to not only see the Roman Baths but to "take the waters" at the modern day spa. Wonderful.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Morning Walk from the Thames Path

My morning walk has been to go down past The Trout (made famous by the Inspector Morse series) to the Thames Path shown above passing beautiful gardens and this community veggie patch along the way. 

The view to the local pub, The Plough, across the canal.

Many times I have been entranced by scenes of horses passing and cows grazing so close to housing. But it seems to all work together here. The photo below is of the common ground near the The Plough where we have had many enjoyable meals.

St Peter's Church is close to where we are staying in Oxford. Thankfully work is currently being undertaken to restore the building although for most of the grave stones the original inscriptions have been lost. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wolvercote Common, Oxford

The Wolvercote Common is a short walk from where we are staying in Oxford. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Taphophile Tragic: J. R. R. Tolkien

The way to the hockey games takes me past the Wolvercote Cemetery in Oxford. Just inside the main gate is a sign like the one above pointing in the direction of J. R. R. Tolkien's grave site.

Tolkien was a graduate of Exeter College and a professor at Pembroke and Merton whilst writing The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. His contemporary C S Lewis, a Fellow at Magdelen, created the magical world of Narnia. 

The Eagle and Child pub (otherwise known as The Bird and Baby) is an Oxford literary landmark and place of pilgrimage for Tolkien and C S Lewis fans. It is at the eagles and Child on St Giles that Tolkien and Lewis discussed their work in the company of The Inklings literary group. 

Tolkien is buried at Wolvercote Cemetery with his wife Edith. The grave is noticeable by the many coins, hand written messages and a whole range of paraphernalia left by devotees.

To see more Taphophile Tragic participants, click here.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Laneway Leading from the Historic Turf Tavern

According to the sign at the entrance to this narrow laneway, The Turf Tavern is renowned for giving "an education in intoxication". 

Tucked away from passers by, information boards inside the tavern claim The Turf as probably Oxford's oldest pub. It was built in the moat of the Old Oxford Town Wall. Originally known as the Spotted Cow, the tavern became known as The Turf, due to it being a venue for gambling. People would come to The Turf to meet their "Turf Men" or "Turf Accountant" who would take a bet on almost anything.

It is also claimed that Bob Hawke, former Australian Prime Minister, entered the Guinness Book of Records there in 1963 when he downed a yard of ale in eleven seconds. Another claim to fame for The Turf is that it is alleged it was here that Bill Clinton did not inhale while at Oxford in the 60s!

I am sure there are many other stories that could be told about The Turf. 

For us it was much less exciting than the student days of the 60's. We did however enjoy a glass of beer and a bite to eat sitting in the outside garden next to a small section of the Old Oxford Town Wall that remains standing and adds to the ambience of this charming and historic tavern. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

In the Gardens of Trinity College, Oxford

Trinity College was founded in 1555 by Sir Thomas Pope and his wife Lady Elizabeth Pope. According to a College brochure, the gardens have been an important part of the college community with the character of the gardens changing throughout Trinity's history in line with changing tastes and movements in garden design. 

In the 16th century open parkland featuring elm predominated. In the 18th century the garden became more formal with geometric patterned paths, a maze and yew hedges cut to resemble panelling. 

In 1713, the Park Road ornamental gates were added, the design based purely as a viewpoint from which to admire the Garden Quad.

From the mid 19th century the main area has open wide lawns and borders. 

Visiting the gardens today gives as much pleasure as I am sure in centuries long past. Providing a haven from the hustle and bustle outside the college gates there is the opportunity to relax in these beautiful surrounds and to soak in the historic atmosphere.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Postcard from Bibury in the Cotswalds

With a break in the hockey, not even Friday's rain could dampen our spirits as we explored the picture postcard perfect Cotswalds town of Bibury before heading onto Bourton-on-the-Water and Stratford-Upon-Avon. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

In the Grounds of Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace - the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill - is a short bus ride from Oxford. It has been many years since I last visited and once again was taken by the history and magnificence of the setting. 

Home to the 11th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, walking amongst the palace buildings and the beautiful formal gardens is an enjoyable way to spend a day immersed in historic surrounds.  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Warm Welcome to Oxford

It is the World Cup for Veterans Hockey that has brought us to Oxford. At the Opening Ceremony, an Oxford band set the scene by their warm welcome to players and spectators at the Oxford Hawkes Hockey Club where the championships are being played. 

Countries competing in the championships include South Africa, England, Scotland, Netherlands, Japan, Wales, Germany and Australia.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

On the Way to Tate Modern, London

Back into London today via the Oxford Tube bus. On the way to Tate Modern I passed this skate boarding area on South Bank. Then it was on to see the exhibitions by Damien Hirst (interesting and challenging) and Edvard Munch: The Modern Eye (loved it). 

Monday, August 13, 2012

At Olympic Stadium

On Saturday we were at the Olympic Stadium for the Bronze medal hockey game between Australia and Great Britain. Even though a trumpet and drum rallied the many Team GB supporters with "Rule Britannia" we were elated to see the Australian team win 3-1.

From the top of the hockey arena there was a superb view over the Olympic Stadium.

And then it was time to leave. I'm usually not that excited about being amongst large crowds. However all was flowing smoothly and getting back to Oxford was as easy as the trip into the Olympic Stadium. A fabulous experience.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Strolling the Waterways

Venturing along the nearby waterway from where we are staying, it took about an hour to walk into the Oxford City Centre. With the sun shining it was a relaxing way to travel to the city. Along the way were cyclists, joggers and others power walking along the waterway tow path.

For me, I chose to amble along not knowing just quite where I was going and hoping that I had taken the correct turn to get me into the city.

What a wonderful backyard this would be to have at your doorstep.

A different and almost romantic way to live, I passed several people who looked dressed for work alighting from their boat to walk into Oxford's City Centre.

But not all is idyllic. I have always had a romantic notion of the longboats on British waterways. However along this route were a number of long term moorings and like the one below not all were in top class condition. Some needed lots of love and care while others were loaded with their owners' tools of trade.

Almost into Oxford.

St John's College, Oxford

Today we were fortunate to enjoy a personal tour of St John's College visiting the chapel (above) as well as the various quadrangles and college buildings. According to my Oxford guidebook, St John's College was founded in 1555 by a wealthy merchant Sir Thomas White whose heart is buried in the college chapel. It is reportedly one of the wealthiest colleges  in Oxford. 

It was also time to have a break from carrying camera gear so these pics were taken with my trusty little compact Lumix. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Soaking up History in New College Lane, Oxford

When the Oxford crowds momentarily disperse there is the opportunity to soak up a history that delights the senses and pervades this University town. With buildings dating from the 13th century the architecture is rich and varied - turrets, chimneys, towers and the college quadrangles await exploration. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Relaxing Evening in Oxford, England

This evening we relaxed over an ale at The Plough in Oxford, a homely pub not far from where we are staying. It was a wonderful way to end a long day flying from Perth to London via Dubai. 

And despite the prolonged hours of flying, as the sun set over the nearby fields my attention still turned to the twilight skies and the planes passing overhead. 

It's now time for some sleep that is well overdue. I look forward to sharing the journey of my travels in England and Scotland over the coming weeks.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Rainy in Perth Today

Rain throughout the day although the weather was not that cold in Perth today. We leave for London tomorrow so I expect today's weather will be similar to what we will experience in England. I look forward to sharing my travel pics. 

This view is from King's Park looking towards South Perth. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Day of Rainbows

It has been a day of rainbows. I cannot recall seeing so many during a day including one that looked like it was touching the ground along it's full length...... a sight I have not seen before. 

With the rainbows came some welcomed and much needed winter rains. Just 30 millimetres of rain were received last month - well below the 170 millimetres average. Thus this July was the driest for over 100 years.

Fortunately desalination plants are able to provide for Perth's water needs. Here's hoping that during this month there will be many more rainbows and rainy days. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Gourmet Meats

An array of gourmet meats at Franks in Wray Street Fremantle that would be hard to surpass.