Daily Mail Wildlife Photography Exhibition


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Tuesday 9th May – 18th meeting of 2017

After meeting up for a coffee in the Crypt at St Martin’s in the Field we walked along to the Strand Gallery just behind Charing Cross Station to see the photos from the Daily Mail Wildlife Photography Contest.

It is a very small gallery on two floors but it was packed with people viewing a wide selection of photos that were entries in The Daily Mail Wildlife Photography 2017. This is the third year the Daily Mail have run this Exhibition.

The contest was divided into five categories, four of British Wildlife and a Junior section. The judges were David Lindo, David Suchet, Anita Rani, Grey Levett (from Nikon), Simon Stafford and Clive Anderson.

Section 1 – The mammals section photos ranged from squirrels, deer, hares, rabbits and ponies etc. but was one by a photo of two young stoats.

Section 2 – The bird photos were wide ranging from owls, hawks, heron, swans etc but was won by a photo of kingfisher merging from the water with its wings unfurled.

Section 3 – The insect photos consisted of butterflies, moths, flies, wasps, dragonflies and all kinds of creepy-crawlies. It was won by a photo of three common blue butterflies on a grouse-head.

Section 4 – The fish, reptile, amphibian and molluscs photos were varied shots of toad, frogs, fish and snails and was won by a photo of a toad emerging from water blowing a couple of bubbles.

Section 5 – The Junior section was photos ranging over the four categories including ducks, deer, hares, birds and was won by a photo of a kestrel. Some lovely photos and by such young photographers which all showered great promise.

The overall winner of the contest was the photo of the two young stoats but all the photos were of a very high standard and it proved that the age range of 12 to 80 could deliver some amazing shots!

We enjoyed looking at the photos and choosing our own favourites.



Kensington Garden and Diana Garden


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Tuesday 2nd May – 17th meeting of 2017

We met up and had a coffee in Kensington High Street and walked along to Kensington Gardens but made a detour to the Virgin Roof Garden on top of the old Derry and Toms building to see if it was open. It was so we went up to the 6th floor and walked through the three garden areas.

First we saw the English garden with its oak trees, a stream and pond with fish and ducks and ducklings plus four flamingos, not really what you would expect to find on the top of a roof in London! They were quite lively and we watched their antics for a while. The second garden was the Spanish garden with the colonnades, palm trees and vine-covered walkways that gave it a very moorish feel. The third area was the Tudor garden with brickwork paths, walls and arches covered in beautiful wisteria. This reminded was of the wisteria that we had seen in Chiswick House recently. Other bushes were hellebore and roses. We were lucky to find it open as it has a lot of private events held there when they close it to the general public.






We continued along to Kensington Palace and opposite the building in the elevated section we came to the sunken garden which has been turned into a beautiful white garden in remembrance of Princes Diana on the 20th anniversary of her death. It was planned last April 2016 and planted out in October 2016. Two sides of the sunken garden are surrounded by pollarded lime trees and the third by a large hedge. The area is visible from a walkway and viewed through trees in parts.






Over 12,000 bulbs were planted along with thousands of plants which included 3,500 white forget-me-knots (Diana’s favourite flower) white foxgloves, white and pink roses and tulips with sweet smelling wallflowers.  The whole area comes across as a beautiful white garden with spots of colour and is a very peaceful calm area, which was a joy to see.  The garden will stay there throughout the summer and will change over the coming months as different flowers come into season and bloom.

A very beautiful day for us showing that in the hustle and bustle of Central London, wonderful colourful exciting gardens can be made!

Chiswick House


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Tuesday 25th April – 16th meeting of 2017

Back on track today after the Easter holidays and almost a full house – eight of us today.

Meeting at Waterloo we got a main line train to Chiswick station on a bright but really cold morning. From the station we took a lovely walk to Chiswick House. This is a really nice part of London. Large houses well maintained with lovely front gardens which were a pleasure to look at.

Once in the grounds of the House we made our way to the cafe. A drink and snack were very welcome and enjoyable. As some of us wanted to go in the house and some wanted to explore the gardens we decided to part company. I had not been here before so opted to go in the House.

The house is a Palladian Villa designed by Lord Burlington and completed in 1729. It was built to impress and to be used for entertaining and pleasure. It is now maintained  by English Heritage and over the course of the years has been used as a retreat and stronghold for the Whig party, a mental hospital known as Chiswick Asylum, and a fire station when bought by Middlesex County Council. It was bombed and damaged during World War 2 and in a bad state of repair. In 1956 the two wings were demolished.






Today the main part of the building is in good repair. The ceilings are magnificent. Each room has its own colour and style. All the rooms are located around a central drawing room. Paintings adorn all walls. There are also many sculptures inside the House and in the garden.

Once we had completed the house we had a walk around the wonderful garden. It is very English and has many figures and sculptures all around. We made our way to the glasshouse to see the camellia collection. Unfortunately we were a little too late to see them in their glory but a few still had blooms on them. The collection has some very rare examples. The wisteria around the glasshouse was wonderful. Very pretty and the fragrance beautiful.

After such a nice morning we made our back to the station and our trains home.

National Portrait Gallery


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Tuesday 18th April – 15th meeting of 2017

Although still on our Easter break the ladies who were free decided to meet in London and visit National Portrait Gallery.

It has been a long time since a visit to The Crypt Cafe at St Martin’s in the Field so we met at Charing Cross and went there for a coffee and chat.






After this we walked to National Portrait Gallery and had a slow amble around. The entrance in the shop gave us a chance to look at all the mementos available. The paintings here cover all aspects of the art world. We looked at the 20th century collection of which I personally love the portrait of Duchess of Cambridge. We also looked at the Tudor and Victorian collection.

A very pleasant morning in a nice sunny but albeit chilly London and Trafalgar Square.

Ladies that Lunch!


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Tuesday 11th April – 14th meeting of 2017

Today was a break from our usual routine as it was the Easter holidays so no planned outings.

As some of our ladies were, may I say ‘at a loose end’, it was decided to meet for lunch and the nice location of Coolings Garden Centre was the choice.

It was lunch and a good natter. After which a walk around the grounds and a few purchases made it a very enjoyable meeting!