National Gallery

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Tuesday 6th June – 22nd meeting of 2017

Unfortunately due to the heavy rain and wind we had to change our plans for today and decided to meet for a coffee at the Crypt at St Martin’s in the Fields and then paid a visit to the National Gallery.

We started out in the Sunley Room where there is an exhibition by Turner Prize winner Chris Ofili entitled ‘Weaving Magic’ showing his present interest in classical mythology and colour of his Trinidadian landscape.The whole room had been painted from floor to ceiling with figures – all similar and in one greyish colour with the tapestry exhibited on one wall. This was very colourful and a huge contrast to the walls and had taken two and half years of collaboration with the Dovecot Tapestry Studios to produce. It had been commissioned by the Clothmakers company. It will go on permanent display at Clothmakers Hall after this exhibition at end of August.

We then walked slowly through the galleries from C14th upwards and admired several paintings including Carrelettos, Gainsboroughs and Stubbs etc. We all had our own favourites!

As always it was extremely busy and we managed easily to spend a few hours enjoying the paintings!

Coolings

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Tuesday 30th June – 21st meeting of 2017

This week was the half term from school for the children and we usually do not meet but now have this arrangement that anyone who wants to meet up for lunch. As usual we choose Cooling Garden Centre as it has a very nice restaurant, Arthur’s, and it is generally a good convenient place to meet.

Six of us met at 11.30 and after a coffee and chat ordered and enjoyed our lunch. After this we had a walk around the garden centre. There is always lots to look at here and often a few of us purchase an item or two. The flowers, plants, shrubs and trees here are wonderful. Lots of colour and lots of ideas for tubs and baskets.

A pleasant day and weatherwise sunny and warm!

 

Crossrail

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Tuesday 23rd May – 20th meeting of 2017

After our great holiday we met on the first Tuesday back home to go to the Crossrail exhibition at Museum of London, Docklands to view the special exhibition running until 3rd September – Tunnel: The Archaeology of Crossrail.

 

 

 

 

 

Museum of London, Docklands is nestled in the heart of Canary Wharf and can be accessed from Canary Wharf tube, Jubilee line or DLR West India Quay. Our choice DLR from Lewisham Main Line, and a short lovely walk to the Museum. This part of London I find amazing. The work which has gone on since the closing of the London Docks is marvellous. It still has a watery feel to it and with many of the old warehouse buildings being transferred into modern restaurants, work places, shops etc and the Museum itself is in one of the warehouse blocks, it is a lovely part of London to visit.

Our first stop was the cafe in the Museum for a drink and catch-up chat. Lots of talk about after our holiday. After a little rest we went to the exhibition. Entry into the Museum is free as is the special exhibition.

 

 

 

 

 

Crossrail will be London’s newest railway and will be known as Elizabeth line. This line will run east from Reading and Heathrow to Abbey Wood and Shenfield and will stop at 40 stations, 10 newly built and 30 newly upgraded. The first part will open in  December 2018 with the full line running December 2019.

The exhibition showcased about 500 of the items that have been uncovered during the building of the line and also showed how tunneling and building of the railway line has been possible. Items found told the story of London from Roman, a roman coin is shown, up until recently times with a large section showing the story of the Crosse and Blackwell factory with jam and marmalade that have been unearthed that date from late 19th to early 20’s century. Many human bones were found and they are three skeletons on display.

Along side the exhibits the story of how this has been accomplished. This marvellous engineering project is shown with photos, films, maps and plans. It is the largest engineering project in Europe.

We found this a very interesting exhibition and gave to me an insight into the work and skill that is needed to make this new railway line become a reality.

A very enjoyable day and I think we may return to the Museum at a later date to look at some of the other parts available.

 

 

 

 

Our Annual Break

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Monday 15th May – Friday 19th May – our 19th meeting of 2017

Our long-awaited holiday had arrived! We had booked with a local coach company J & K Coaches for a five-day break at Warner’s Leisure Hotel at Holme Lacy, Hereford. If you are a follower of this site you will know that husbands are allowed to accompany us on our annual trip so this year that made us a party of 14. So quite a group! Needless to say we were noisy, happy and at times entertaining!

Collected from our homes we boarded the coach and settled down to the journey. Weather good and with the coach pretty full our driver introduced himself and gave us all the legal safety information and details events for the week ahead. We had two stops on route and enjoyed refreshments at each. Our driver Phil gave us some interesting points of interest on the way and it was clear from the start that he was a very nice man with a good sense of humour which would make the holiday very enjoyable.

The views on the way were terrific. I had never been to this part of the world so enjoyed the landscape very much.

 

When we arrived at Holme Lacey the drive to the entrance of the building was fantastic! There were cows in the fields and rabbits hopping around. We went to settle in our rooms ready for dinner. The building was fantastic with a large curved staircase, many large well decorated public rooms and our own rooms were very good.

Our first meal at Holme Lacey was dinner on the first night. It was clear from that first meal that the food was excellent and that proved to be the case throughout our stay.

The entertainment was very good and we enjoyed each evening in the ballroom with a variety of entertainment. The Warner’s team were very good and sang and danced their hearts out each evening. The cabaret shows included a comedian, a magician and a very good Irish husband and wife duo which was excellent and very talented performing Irish and pop music.

As well as the Warners facilities and entertainment our coach company also included one and half day trips during the week. The trips were at the discretion of our driver Phil as this is very dependant on the weather.

 

 

 

 

 

Our day trips included a trip to Hereford where we visited the amazing Cathedral church of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Ethelbert. A church has stood on this ground since Saxon times. A wonderful cathedral with fine examples of architectural excellence and beautiful stained glass windows. There was a lovely Cafe Mundi where we enjoyed some coffee and cake!

Phil was planning to take us to Ross-on-Wye on our second day but the weather was so miserable he decided against it as the views would be non-existent. Yes, it was raining, windy and overcast all day! So we had a pleasant coach ride and stopped at Ledbury a very nice little town. We walked around with umbrellas and rain coats and went into St Micheal and All Angels Parish Church which was very pretty. We stopped for a lunch and a beer in a very old quaint pub. I found Ledbury a very nice town. Very pretty and with many old buildings, lots of interesting shops it had a quaint village feel.

 

 

 

 

 

Our last day was a free day. We went on a guided tour of the gardens and history of the house with a member of staff which was very enjoyable as it was dry, warm and the best day weatherwise of the holiday. In the afternoon a group of us played a game of bowls on the outside bowls area. This was great fun and we all managed to get a bowl or two near the jack! Other activities we enjoyed a cookery lesson and a general knowledge quiz! We split into two groups for this and both groups although not winning were in the first five winners and was only one point between our scores! Pretty good! The indoor swimming pool was fabulous and myself and one of our other ladies enjoyed the aqua aerobics and a great swim every afternoon! I loved it!

Our journey home was very pleasant with just one stopped and we were home mid-afternoon. Phil our driver was very good, attentive to everyone’s needs, always happy and obliging and made the whole holiday very enjoyable and pleasant.

We all enjoyed our time together in a part of the world I have never seen before and which I liked very much. Our annual holidays are always a success, fun and enjoyed by all so I feel we will be planning something for 2018!

 

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.