Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Compact Carlisle

Any day that starts off with a breakfast like this can't be a bad day, right?

On Wednesday Mom and I took a train up the west coast.  I've travelled from London to Glasgow, but always on a night train.  Now I can see that Id missed out on some lovely scenery - The Lakes District and Cumbria are most pleasant.

Our journey ended in Carlisle.  It's a great little city to visit because everything is close at hand.

Carlisle Cathedral is a case in point.  It's no walk a'tall from the train station. 

It was founded in 1122, and like much in Carlisle, suffered damage as a result of its proximity to Border warfare.  

The cathedral is a delight.  The pipes of the organ are scattered about the cathedral hither, thither and yon.

The ceiling is Heavenly Blue!
Not to be sacrilegious, but my bedroom is just about the same color!

I spent quite some time sitting quietly and gazing up at the ceiling.

The Choir is wonderful too.

The Canon's Stalls and the misercords date from the 1400's.  It is hard for me to wrap my head around that -  they are over 900 years old.

And talk about ambience.  The organist was at practice while we sat in the Choir.

From the cathedral we headed to Tuille House Museum.  The gardens even have Roman ruins as part of the hardscape. The museum was the perfect place for us to 'get into the mood' for our visit to Hadrian's Wall as it has a very nice Roman Frontier Gallery.

File:Carlisle Castle 03.jpg
Carlisle is nothing if not short on history.  Carlisle Castle, like the cathedral,was important for hundreds of years as a Border Fortress. William II began construction in 1093 after driving off the Scots. Carlisle and the castle changed hands many times over the next 700 years.     
I found I'd not taken a good photo of the castle. Fortunately Wikipedia Commons had the nice image I've used above. 

One of the interior rooms of the castle was filled with these charming primitive carvings. The work of a prisoner? A bored soldier?  No one knows.

Being in Carlisle, the castle was built on Roman foundations. Being a castle, it's up on a hill with a nice view back at the town.

And here's proof I was meant to come to Carlisle.  In 1853 Carlisle became the first place in mainland U.K. to have a road-side pillar box.

Blog Header and and Mystery...

July 2013 Blog Header

Here are the details - 6 vertical rows

Row #1: Heart in Hand, "Liberty"; Heart in Hand, "Star Spangled Summer"

Row #2: Lizzie Kate, "Land That I Love"

Row #3: Bent Creek, "Happy Independence Day"; Heart in Hand, "Olde Glory"

Row #4: Lizzie Kate, "Let Freedom Ring"; Lizzie Kate, "Pop"; Heart in Hand, "Flag Roundabout;, Lizzie Kate, "My Country" 

Row #5 The Trilogy, "Happy Flag Flag Day"; Lizzie Kate, "Long May She Wave"

Row #6: Lizzie Kate, "4th of July"; Lizzie Kate, "Summer ABCs"

And here is a recap from a Thames River walk several days ago.

Lots of street front gardening...

The history of eastern London is apparent by the names of streets and buildings. 

The light in the evening was glorious.

We are up in Carlisle and I'm without a laptop, so no new photos for today.
Okay here are the clues for the mystery adventure:

Tomorrow we begin the day in Carlisle...
We take a 'hop on and off bus' all day and end up in Newcastle...
Any ideas what we might be doing?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Strike Three - You're Out!

We got up early this morning to head up north.  As we walked to the Westferry DLR I remember thinking to myself, "You know, with all the many day trips we've taken, we've not been late and missed a train or connection."
Lesson - Don't taunt the gods!
Strike One - The DLR line into Bank had delays as a train had broken down 
Strike Two - The Northern line into King's Cross had severe delays
I had it in my mind that our train was due to leave at 7:20am.  We finally made it to King's Cross at 7:23am and I found a 7:30am train to York.  We made the train and congratulated ourselves.
Strike Three - Near Doncaster a broken down train slowly limped along the track and we followed behind it.  We were 14 minutes late into York and missed our connection to Malton.  

But it is hard to stay glum in the historic capital of British Chocolate makers!
We bordered the train and got off at Malton where our rescheduled taxi was waiting to take us to...

Scampston Hall

Scampston Estate has bought by the St. Quintin family at the end of the 17th century and they own it still.  In 1735 the 5th Baronet hired Lancelot Capability Brown to redesign the park in a naturalistic style.  That Capability, like Christopher Wren, sure got around! 

The 18th century Walled Garden is now a stunning 21st century four acre garden as designed by Piet Oudolf. My Mom had read about the garden and wanted to see it in person. Dispite being late, we were allowed to join the head gardener's walk and talk.  That was a great way to learn about Oudolf's garden philosophies and how to care and maintain them in the style Piet prefers.
The mini pyramid shown earlier allows one to survey the walled garden.

The Drifts of Grass garden room epitomizes Oudolf's style.
This garden is Piet's largest private commission in the U.K. 

He is famous for using flowing shapes and lots of different grasses..

He also uses boxwood forms in interesting fashions.

Here's yet another example.

Here's a look at several of the garden rooms.

I must say that Oudolf's style appeared to meet with the approval of the many pollinators.

The Perennial Meadow is one of the more complex gardens.

All of the plants must have more than one season's interest, must be self 
supporting (no staking), and must be content without any additional watering.

Silvers and greys and greens...

..with a touch of red and bronze thrown in.

I think every public garden and estate in the UK has a small cafe or two.  Today we had a nicely presented lunch.  Mom had a panini, I had a salmon wrap. 

I think I stumbled up on a new bird today - a Whinchaf. Am I right?

There were lots of contented birds in the water and the trees. 

Our train ride back to Malton took us past the ruins of Kirkham Priory.

I think this mailbox though is the best find of the day!
I love the white "GR" metal plate.  It's missing three screws and I'm afraid that someday soon it will disappear. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Part Two - Something Old Something New

Something Old

Hampton Court Palace was built for Cardinal Wolsey around 1514.  When he fell out of favor, King Henry VIII claimed the property and greatly enlarged it.

In the following century, King William II began a massive rebuilding and expansion project intended to rival Versailles. Work stopped in 1694 (lack of money) and left the palace in two distinct contrasting architectural styles, domestic Tudor and Baroque.

There are shields and emblems and signs of ownership everywhere.

One of the most impressive rooms is the Tudor Great Hall.  This photo does not begin to do the ornate ceiling justice.

Maybe this montage of photos of the Tudor rooms will better show their earthy elegance.

I can't say that ornament displays of weapons do much for me. 

We toured King William III's apartments.

This is the King's Privy Chamber - not very private is it?

I preferred the more modest rooms like the King's Private Writing Room.

Can you imagine sleeping in the King's Great Bed Chamber?

This is another modest room - used for playing board games.

King William III's dining room was also surprisingly modest.

I had fun looking for emblems and insignias and the like.  Everyone left their mark.  The bottom left has the entwined initials of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.  There are also some reminders of the former residents of the "Grace and Favour" apartments.  

After spending the day immersed in "Something Old" it was time to try "Something New".
Here's the Something New!

I ended the day by taking a trip across the Thames on the Emirate Air Line.  The gondolas climb up to an elevation of 300 feet over the river at the highest point of the flight.

I was in a car all by myself as my mother declined to take part on this adventure.  I must confess to clutching the seat a bit and chanting to myself - no sure what I said!  There were certainly some amazing views though when I could pry my eyes open and look around.