Paddling Along The Thames Part One

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP TO ACCESS ENLARGED GALLERIES

Norman 6.4.02

Given his abiding interest in Paddle Steamers, it was only to be expected that my friend Norman should celebrate his 70th birthday,

 

 

by hiring the Viscount to give all his friends a boat trip to remember. In the second of these images, Norman greets the guests as they embark. Today I scanned this batch of colour negatives from 6th April 2002.

 

 

We were offered a waterborne view of The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. The last of  these images contains the queue of people walking along Westminster Bridge to visit the coffin of Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, whose body was lying in state. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about

‘Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon (4 August 1900 – 30 March 2002) was the wife of King George VI and the mother of Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon. She was Queen of the United Kingdom and the Dominions from her husband’s accession in 1936 until his death in 1952, after which she was known as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother,[2] to avoid confusion with her daughter. She was the last Empress of India.

Born into a family of British nobility, she came to prominence in 1923 when she married the Duke of York, the second son of King George V and Queen Mary. The couple and their daughters embodied traditional ideas of family and public service.[3] She undertook a variety of public engagements and became known for her consistently cheerful countenance.[4]

In 1936, her husband unexpectedly became king when his brother, Edward VIII, abdicated in order to marry the American divorcée Wallis Simpson. Elizabeth then became queen. She accompanied her husband on diplomatic tours to France and North America before the start of the Second World War. During the war, her seemingly indomitable spirit provided moral support to the British public. In recognition of her role as an asset to British interests, Adolf Hitler described her as “the most dangerous woman in Europe”.[5] After the war, her husband’s health deteriorated and she was widowed at the age of 51. Her elder daughter, aged 25, became the new queen.

From the death of Queen Mary in 1953 Elizabeth was viewed as the matriarch of the British royal family. In her later years, she was a consistently popular member of the family, even when other members were suffering from low levels of public approval.[6] She continued an active public life until just a few months before her death at the age of 101, seven weeks after the death of her younger daughter, Princess Margaret.’

 

 

As we steamed under that bridge guests were already happily mingling.

 

 

 

St Paul’s Cathedral stood proud along the embankment. It was in this place of worship that Norman had been ordained some years before.

Blackfriar's Railway Bridge

Soon we arrived at Blackfriar’s Railway Bridge,

 

 

beyond which we reached the recently reopened Millennium Bridge, known by Londoners as the Wobbly Bridge, and beyond this Southwark Bridge.

This extract from Wikepedia’s entry on the Millennium Bridge explains how it acquired its epithet:

‘The Millennium Bridge, officially known as the London Millennium Footbridge, is a steel suspension bridge for pedestrians crossing the River Thames in London, linking Bankside with the City of London. It is located between Southwark Bridge and Blackfriars Railway Bridge. It is owned and maintained by Bridge House Estates, a charitable trust overseen by the City of London Corporation. Construction began in 1998, and it initially opened in June 2000.

Londoners nicknamed the bridge the “Wobbly Bridge” after pedestrians felt unexpected swaying motion. The bridge was closed later on opening day, and after two days of limited access, it was closed for almost two years while modifications were made to eliminate the motion. It reopened in 2002.’

 

Beyond Southwark Bridge lies the famous Tower Bridge, near which is moored H.M.S. Belfast.

Wikipedia tells us this about the museum ship:

‘HMS Belfast is a Town-class light cruiser that was built for the Royal Navy, currently permanently moored as a museum ship on the River Thames in London, England, operated by the Imperial War Museum.

Construction of Belfast, the first ship in the Royal Navy to be named after the capital city of Northern Ireland and one of ten Town-class cruisers, began in December 1936. She was launched on St Patrick’s Day 1938. Commissioned in early August 1939 shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, Belfast was initially part of the British naval blockade against Germany. In November 1939, Belfast struck a German mine and spent more than two years undergoing extensive repairs. Belfast returned to action in November 1942 with improved firepower, radar equipment, and armour. Belfast saw action escorting Arctic convoys to the Soviet Union during 1943 and in December 1943 played an important role in the Battle of North Cape, assisting in the destruction of the German warship Scharnhorst. In June 1944, Belfast took part in Operation Overlord supporting the Normandy landings. In June 1945, Belfast was redeployed to the Far East to join the British Pacific Fleet, arriving shortly before the end of the Second World War. Belfast saw further combat action in 1950–52 during the Korean War and underwent an extensive modernisation between 1956 and 1959. A number of further overseas commissions followed before Belfast entered reserve in 1963.

In 1967, efforts were initiated to avert Belfast‘s expected scrapping and to preserve her as a museum ship. A joint committee of the Imperial War Museum, the National Maritime Museum, and the Ministry of Defence were established and then reported in June 1968 that preservation was practical. In 1971, the government decided against preservation, prompting the formation of the private HMS Belfast Trust to campaign for her preservation. The efforts of the Trust were successful, and the government transferred the ship to the Trust in July 1971. Brought to London, she was moored on the River Thames near Tower Bridge in the Pool of London. Opened to the public in October 1971, Belfast became a branch of the Imperial War Museum in 1978. A popular tourist attraction, Belfast receives over a quarter of a million visitors per year.[8] As a branch of a national museum and part of the National Historic Fleet, Belfast is supported by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, admissions income, and the museum’s commercial activities. The ship was closed to visitors following an accident in November 2011 and re-opened on 18 May 2012.’

Tower of London and St Paul's

Beyond Tower Bridge, St Paul’s still dominates the horizon.

 

Soon we passed another paddle steamer, the Dixie Queen, a luxury party boat;  and the Tower of London.

 

I would have been very remiss had I not photographed Oliver’s Wharf and made a print for my grandson Oliver. The Victorian Web has this to say about this building on Wapping High Street:

‘Oliver’s Wharf. F. & H. Francis. 1869-70. Wapping, London E1. Built for George Oliver “in the Tudor gothic style, this wharf handled general cargo but had special facilities for tea” (Craig et al. 45). Bought for redevelopment in 1972, it was the first warehouse in Wapping, and one of the first of all the old warehouses, to be converted into housing, yielding twenty-three very expensive luxury flats. It has been described as “the most architecturally sophisticated warehouse” in its street (Williamson et al. 228).

I made many images of this event, and will continue the story in due course.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips with pickled onions and gherkins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life

I must warn readers that this post is controversial and may distress some people.

Jackie drove me to New Milton this morning and back home this evening for me to travel to St Thomas’s Hospital to join Luci in visiting Wolf.

From Waterloo I took the tube to Westminster and walked across the bridge to the hospital.www.abort67.co.uk demonstrationJPG

Today’s demonstration in Parliament Square was by http://www.abort67.co.uk. It was only after reading the information given to me by Liz, one of the volunteers distributing leaflets, that I realised that the photographs on display across the road were of aborted foetuses after their destruction. For those who wish to see, a clear view of these can be had by zooming in on the image.

This organisation aims fully to acquaint people with what actually happens in an abortion. They have links with PASE (post abortion support for everyone). My Social Work and Counselling practice demonstrated the importance of this.

Here is what the website of Education for Choice has to say about the history of the UK abortion laws:

‘The Abortion Act 1967

In the time between the Bourne ruling and the 1967 Abortion Act some women did have abortions for urgent medical reasons or, with the consent of a psychiatrist, to protect their mental health.

Wealthier women were more likely to be able to pay to see a psychiatrist who could agree to a safe abortion, but many would have had no option but to seek illegal methods for ending a pregnancy.

The cost to women’s health of illegal abortion was high with around 40 women dying each year and many more injured. Doctors, politicians and members of some religious communities worked together to pass a law that allowed for abortion in some circumstances.

The Abortion Act was passed in 1967, a time of lively political campaigning, and is sometimes seen as one of the triumphs of the women’s movement. The reality is that it was not passed to give women rights, but to respond to a public health problem.

The law gave the rights and responsibility for decision making to doctors not women. It did not legalise abortion, but allowed for exceptions to the illegality of abortion.

Much of the law is open to interpretation and asks doctors to make a judgement based on weighing up risks rather than specifying particular circumstances in which abortion would be legal.

There have been several attempts in Parliament to restrict abortion law further by those who do not support a woman’s right to choose abortion. Those who do support the right to choose are also unhappy with the law, which is perceived to be unclear and too restrictive.

In 1990 the 1967 Act was amended by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, which reduced the original time limit of 28 weeks to 24 weeks for most abortions.’

This time limit reduction indicates forensic uncertainty about the viability of life.

When does life commence? My own view is reflected in this quotation from Professor Micheline Matthews-Roth of Harvard University Medical School, in the brochure ‘What do you think about abortion?’: ‘It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception.’ There are other quotations, detailed information, and further graphic illustrations in this publication.

Without going into the rights and wrongs of the dichotomy that exists in UK legislation, I will simply say, that, since 1967, we have permitted the destruction of unborn children, yet deny terminally ill people the right voluntarily to end their lives with dignity. I am not here advocating euthanasia, simply pointing up the differences in stances taken.

torn leafletsGiven that we are told that 97% of UK abortions are funded by the NHS, I spare a thought for the medics who are charged with having to carry out the task.

In a bizarre reflection of what happens to the embryos, a number of the leaflets had been ripped up and discarded on the surrounding pavements like this one on Westminster Bridge. Others found their way into waste bins.

Liz, having sought my permission, seeing that I was struggling to walk, placed her hand on my shoulder and offered up a prayer for my joints.

As I limped across the bridge I was accosted by the woman, claiming to be a gypsy, whom I had photographed railing at a tourist on 20th June 2013. Advancing on me like a Fury she plonked both her hands, clutching artificial carnations, onto my chest and proceeded, pounding my sternum and spraying spittle on my waistcoat with every word, to castigate me for refusing to accept one. ‘We gotta live,’ she cried. ‘Well do it another way. Don’t con people.’ I replied, extricated myself and hobbled off.Life Residential

Opposite the hospital is an estate agent called ‘LIFE Residential’, its sign nicely juxtaposed with that of the gift shop next door.

Soon after leaving St Thomas’s, I met a man who told me he had, last night, stood on Westminster Bridge contemplating taking his own own life. Another gentleman had talked him out of it.

On the train I finished reading the third book of G.K. Chesterton’s ‘Father Brown Stories’, ‘The Incredulity of Father Brown’, and began the next one, ‘The Secret of Father Brown’. These tales are all about the taking of life.

Jackie and I both drank T’Sing Tao beer with our Chinese takeaway this evening.

 

Sun And Wind

Jackie provided her usual chauffeur service to and from New Milton for my London trip.

Knees in train

The four coach train was as packed as usual. One gentleman kindly removed his luggage from one of the few available seats so that I could sit down. The gentleman opposite me was fast asleep. His baggage lay between his feet which stretched under the window seat. Settling one buttock on that and another on the centre one I fitted my legs around the somnolent passenger as demonstrated in the photograph. He woke with a start at Brockenhurst and asked where he was. When told, he relaxed, but didn’t change his position. This group disembarked at Southampton Airport. They were replaced by others, but the newcomers had to fit round me, which was preferable.

It was a dull, blustery, noon as I approached the Archduke to meet Norman for lunch. Somehow or other, my great friend Wolf had managed to reach the railway bridge between the arches from with the restaurant presumably derived its name to provide the appropriate embellishment.

Graffiti and Archduke

Maybe he used the crane.

lampsMy choice for lunch was the sea trout. Norman chose belly of pork, and we both opted for the pecan pie for dessert. We shared a bottle of Sicilian shiraz.

By the time I emerged from the restaurant to be blown along South Bank and across Westminster Bridge to visit Carol, the temperature had dropped to finger-tingling levels, but the sun had now come out, silhouetting the Houses of Parliament, peeking through crevices in the decorative architecture; outlining the faces of photographers’  subjects; providing side lighting for Gothic greatcoats and the supports of the bridge; setting young girls’ hair alight; and lending a translucence to the glass cases of ornamental lamps.

Houses of Parliament in silhouetteSun through Houses of ParliamentGothic greatcoatsYoung lady photographingSunlit hair

Jackie and I have recently begun the watch the Father Brown series on television. This is based on G.K.Chesterton’s classic stories of a sleuthing Roman Catholic priest, and has led me to begin reading them. I got through a few on the train today.

1,000 Days

Stump 2Stump 3Stump 4Shadow on stumpIn bright sunlight this morning I played around with the super vivid setting on the camera. I reduced the saturation in the saw picture in order to reproduce the natural colours which still look pretty unreal. This tool was discovered when we were clearing the overgrown hedging on the back drive, and remains where we propped it.

The timid tits approaching the bird feeder stop off in the shrubs behind it in order to watch for their moment to swoop and snatch up their sustenance before being attacked by more belligerent birds such as robins, or assassinated by humans who may have set out the larder as bait for nefarious purposes.

SawTit approaching bird tableStump 1PlanksAutumn leavesLeaves and pondweedPansies

I forget the name of the influential art master who taught for a short time at Wimbledon College. Rather a tempestuous character, he was sacked for beating up Adam Pardon. He helped us to see that trees were not simply a single brown in hue. Nothing makes this clearer than the range of russets, oranges, ochres, greens, yellows and indigoes sported by the decaying wood of our dead stumps or discarded planks. These photographs have not exaggerated them much.

Becky and Ian had given me Boris Johnson’s timely publication ‘The Churchill Factor’ for Christmas. Rather appropriately, I finished reading it today. Boris has written neither a history, nor a biography, but an extended eulogy for the great man. This is a very readable book, benefiting from the writer’s admirable research and entertaining facility with the language. Sir Winston Churchill died 50 years ago today, and, the first commoner since the Duke of Wellington, to receive the honour, lay in state in the Great Hall at Westminster.

At the time, I was working for Mobil Shipping Company at the now demolished Pill Box building between Waterloo Station and Westminster Bridge. I watched a queue of 300,000 people snaking across the bridge and The Embankment on their way to pay their respects to the man who had so eloquently rallied their spirits during the war that had ended just twenty years earlier. Johnson reminds us that there was so much more to Winston than that, but I won’t add to the billions more words that are bound to be produced in the days to come.

Churchill lying in state005Churchill lying in state003Churchill lying in state001Churchill lying in state002Churchill lying in state004

During my lunch hour, I nipped out with my totally non-automatic Kodak Retinette 1b camera, and photographed those people braving the cold winter’s day. I first published a selection of these with my post of 22nd May 2012, but I think it fitting to repeat them today. Note that the Union Flag flies at half mast over the Houses of Parliament.

For our dinner this evening Jackie coated chicken thighs in their skins with piri-piri seasoning and roasted them in the oven. Retaining the skins produces enough fat to obviate the need for oil. This was accompanied by her usual savoury rice without egg. We had the chickens after all.

Red cabbage melange

The surprise addition was the melange of sautéed red cabbage and other vegetables. Into the finely sliced cabbage, onions, and green beans, which were stir fried, carrots were added quite late on in order that they should retain their original colour. When everything was soft enough a splash of vinegar was added, a lid was applied the saucepan and the whole steamed on a low heat for no more than ten minutes. I recommend it. Between us we finished the Pedro Jimenez white wine.

This is my 1,000th post since I began my blog on 9th May 2012. Although some entries have been published a day or two late, no dates have been missed.

P.S. The following morning Jackie and I had a discussion about just what is contained in the queue photos. When I last published them Becky had commented on the fashions of the day. Jackie was struck by the number of hats displayed on the heads of both men and women, and the number of fur coats still acceptable then. The one woman walking in the opposite direction on Lambeth Bridge in the first picture would be on her way to the end of the line. It would take her three or four hours to reach the front

A policeman who commented on BBC news may possibly be visible in the third picture. He answered our conundrum about the line of vans seen on the far side of the first image. They were catering facilities provided by the WRVS. Clutched in the arms of a news vendor on the right of photo three are copies of The Times, the front pages occupied by a photograph of the great man.

Clicking on the images produces larger images which helped us examine the details. Maybe you could find more of the information from half a century ago.

 

 

Losing Control

12th July 2014 Westminster BridgeCrowd on South BankI began the day by posting yesterday’s entry. This afternoon Jackie drove me to New Milton where I boarded the train to Waterloo for a trip to Shampers, Simon Pearson’s wine bar in Kingly Street, where Michael was holding his second 50th birthday celebration. To walk my normal route to Green Park, turn right along Piccadilly, cross this thoroughfare into Air St, turn left up Regent St, and right then left into Kingly St, on a Saturday afternoon in midsummer, is definitely not to be recommended unless you are intent on recording the experience. But I was. So I did. The walk along South Bank and up the steps onto and then across Westminster Bridge was like taking on the combined international rugby forwards of the Six Nations and those of the Southern Hemisphere.Motor boatCruise ship A packed speedboat sped under the bridge while cruise ships unloaded one herd of passengers and took on board another.Selfies Tourists were wielding every kind of device capable of taking photographs, a good number of them being selfies, two of the subjects of which claimed to be Absolutely Fabulous, and the other Knight Style.Crossing Closed sign No-one appeared to see the huge notices closing the crossings at Whitehall and Palace St instructing people to use the underpasses. But perhaps that was just for runners in the 10k run that featured in the small print.Crowds in St James's ParkLovers St James’s Park was a little easier, but still packed with people lovingly basking in the sunshine.Meadow and fountainHeron

Motionless herons kept an eye out for prey from the lake.Crowd in Regent Street

Sculpture and observerToy planesTable tennisPiccadilly and Regent St were almost as crowded as Westminster Bridge.

In Aire St a group were perched on the pavement sketching the view of Regent St through an arch. Having arrived at the venue 90 minutes early, I walked around the corner and sat for a while in Golden Square where two low-flying aircraft had come to grief; spectators communed with the sculpture; and table tennis was in progress.

The assembled company at Shampers were Michael, Heidi, Alice, Emily and her boyfriend Sam; Louisa and Errol; Mat and Tess; Eddie and his wife Rebecca; and two other friends whose names I can’t recall, but whose faces I know well.

Eddie is Michael’s lifelong friend who often stayed with us in Soho in the 1970s, as, of course, did Matthew and Becky. It was natural with that grouping to recount Soho stories. One I haven’t featured before is the tale of the mechanical digger. One afternoon I was horrified to peer out of our first floor window and see one of these clanking its steady way across the yard, its grabber reaching out like something from ‘War of the Worlds’. The cab was empty. Michael and Matthew were vainly attempting to bring it to a halt. I am not sure who reached up and turned it off. Perhaps it was me. This evening Mat revealed that this parked municipal vehicle had been started with the birthday boy’s front door key. Then things began to teeter out of control.

This narrative prompted Eddie, who had also stayed in many other places with us, to confess about the ride-on mower in Wootton Rivers. He had apparently gone for a ride on this sometime in that same decade, had approached the church, lost control, and crunched the stone wall. Eddie’s recollection is that the wall was undamaged, but that the mower was rather crumpled. It still worked, however, so the miscreant parked it in the garage and hoped that Jessica’s father would not notice.

Eddie’s optimism was not entirely misplaced, as was demonstrated by Matthew’s next story. The owner of the mower, you see, was not exactly in complete command of his vehicle. One day our son was playing in the garden with a group of Pearson cousins. Suddenly panic, and cries of ‘Clear the lawn, everything off the lawn’, set in. Small and medium sized children rushed to and fro, hither and thither, grabbing toys, balls, you name it. ‘And Louisa’, someone yelled, and scooped up the crawling infant. It was then that Matthew saw the mower hove into view. ‘The beach ball’, someone shouted.

Too late. The mower steamed over and flattened the large round beach ball. It is believed that the driver remained unaware of the tragedy.

These, and many other stories were enlivened by various excellent wines chosen by Eddie, the professional. I was particularly taken with the chilled Brouilly.

The food was superb, My starter was squid, followed by grilled sardines, chips, and salad, some of which Louisa snaffled. I had to desert the party before the cheese and dessert.Piccadilly Circus

I walked back to Piccadilly Circus and took the Bakerloo Line to Waterloo, and thence to New Milton and from there home by a Galleon taxi.

Sitting opposite me on the train from Waterloo were a young Chinese woman attempting to sleep, and an older Englishwoman attempting to talk. I returned the conversation for a while then indicated my desire to return to my book. Soon peace reigned as my companions slept. They departed at Southampton Central, but very soon afterwards I had to abandon the book, as the train filled up to capacity, and a drunken, acknowledgedly ‘chatty’ young man full of Jameson’s sought to entertain us all. Giving up, I closed ‘December’ by Elizabeth H. Winthrop.

The taxi firm is to be recommended. They operate from a shed outside New Milton station.

Latin Gave Me Up

Although not having got round its baffle, the crow is back trampling the petunias on the chimney pot. The squirrel, on the other hand, earned a meal this morning. It made a successful launch from the eucalyptus, crash landed on top of the corvine baffle, slipped underneath it, and scoffed away. Given that the rodent has now rivalled Eddie the Eagle, Jackie moved the feeder further from the tree. The next lift-off point will doubtless be the new arch. Google can supply further information both on our aforementioned Olympic skier and yesterday’s Greg Rutherford reference.

We returned, briefly, to Castle Malwood Lodge this morning to retrieve two garden recliners we had left behind; and for a chat with Mo. Jackie then drove us to Ringwood where I deposited two pairs of shoes for repair; back home for lunch; then on to New Milton for me to catch the London train to visit Carol.

MeadowThe corner around our old flat is well stocked with self-seeded blooms from Jackie’s temporary garden; and the little meadow alongside New Milton station has an abundance of wild flowers.

Today I finished reading Cicero’s ‘Pro Roscio Amerino’ (For Roscius of Ameria). This is an eloquent and subtle defence of a man facing a trumped-up charge of parricide, and is significant for its being the young advocate’s first speech in a criminal court, and for his courage in taking on powerful political elements. No doubt aided by D.H.Berry’s able translation, the writing flows, and is very readable and entertaining.

It is to be inferred from my last sentence that I did not read this in the original, which would have been far beyond me. I am no Latin scholar, as was proven by my first three years at Wimbledon College. My Grammar school was then notable for its emphasis on the classics. Keen to obtain as many OxBridge university places as possible, Latin and Greek were the school’s most valued subjects, for in those 1950s days, a Latin qualification was a requirement for entry into our two leading centres of learning.

I was never subjected to Greek, and my Latin was so abysmal that, long before the O level stage, I was transferred to Geography, not then considered of prime importance.

Being top of the class in French, it was always a mystery to me that I could not grasp Latin. At school, I thought maybe it was because it seemed to be all about wars that didn’t particularly interest me. Not very many years ago, I twigged the reason for the imbalance. It was partially about word order, but more significantly about ignorance of grammatical terms. Without understanding these, I could manage the modern language, not that dissimilar in construction to our own. Meeting concepts like ‘subjunctive’ which were not considered needing explanation for passers of the eleven plus exam, I didn’t just swim, I sank.

Cicero OrationsLatin gave me up. And Geography teaching was hit and miss, so I failed that too.

So. In English. I went on to read ‘In Verrem 1’ (Against Verres). This was a necessarily short piece used as a device to circumvent the delaying tactics of the defence of a patently guilty man. It was so successful that Verres withdrew and further prepared speeches were not required.

Each of the Orations in my Folio Society edition is preceded by a helpful introduction by the translator. I began Berry’s piece on ‘The Catilinarian Conspiracy’.

From Waterloo I walked across Westminster Bridge to Carol’s in Rochester Row. South BankI have seen this route even more crowded than today, but it was still a struggle to reach and walk across the bridge and past the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.

At the junction of Great Smith Street and Victoria Street a woman struggled with a chain of keys that would have done credit to Dickens’s Jacob Marley from ‘A Christmas Carol’, to free her bicycle from its fixture on a set of railings.Woman unlocking bike Having succeeded, she dropped the cluster on the pavement and loaded her steed. Given her apparel and the content of her baskets, I wondered how she would manage to ride off. She didn’t. She donned her furry hat over the straw one, pushed the bike across the road, and continued down the street.

I took the 507 bus from Carol’s back to Waterloo and boarded the train to New Milton where my chauffeuse was waiting to drive me home; show me her planting and tidying of the garden; and feed me on fresh vegetables with beef casserole, the method of cooking of which is given in yesterday’s post. She drank Hoegaarden, and I abstained.

Supporting Big Ben

Jackie and I began the day with a trip to Ferndene Farm shop for more gravel, for the patio corner and the path completed a couple of days ago that I am freshening up.Patio corner We didn’t quite have enough for both, but I think you will get the picture. A few more flowers were planted in the area cleared yesterday, including some Japanese anemones moved from the gravelled platform.

After this my chauffeuse drove me to New Milton for my trip to London.

From Waterloo I took the Westminster Bridge route to Carol’s in Rochester Row.

Westminster BridgeDespite the dull day, the South Bank was so crowded as to be almost impassable. The lovelocks, which have become a menace in so many major cities, have been removed from the handrails beside the steps up to the bridge.

Everywhere, as usual, cameras and mobile phones were brandished in the direction of the targeted sights. Piper and visitorsYoung woman supporting Big BenThe piper had his customary entourage of visitors recording his image. One beautifully smiling young woman took direction from her male photographer crouching low on the ground guiding her positioning of her hand for a shot in which she was to be seen supporting Big Ben.

On leaving Carol’s, I travelled by the Circle Line from St James’s Park to Edgware Road tube station from where I walked to the Akash restaurant for an enjoyable time and meal with my friend Jessie. This gave me an opportunity to exchange greetings with other friends from my favourite Bangladeshi establishment.

On the train I finished reading Desmond Seward’s history of ‘The Wars of the Roses’. From the very first paragraph of the author’s introduction we are dramatically drawn into this description of the fickle family feuds over the throne of England that occupied the country during the last decades of the fifteenth century. The maps, chronology, who’s who, and dynastic family trees that supplement the well researched and lively text make a good job of unravelling the story. I only wish I could hope to remember it all.

I moved on to Victoria’s Park, a novel by B. J. Haynes.

Jackie met me at New Milton station and drove me home.