Monday, 11 July 2016

Tuesday,We Caught A Number 54 Bus,

to Woolwich,

the place where I was born, and found a Wetherspoons,

for a late breakfast/early lunch, chicken and chips for Diana,

a salmon roll and chips for myself,

we made our way through the market,

looking at the fresh produce on display,

we were both surprised to see insectivorous plants for sale,

and I misread this sign, I thought it said bubble gum £5,

there was even a selection of Thai food on offer,

today was a special day, it was Diana's birthday, so as a special treat I was taking her to the Royal Artillery Museum in what was once the Woolwich Arsenal, this was the main gate, either side of it in the day there was a huge thick brick wall around the arsenal, to protect the local population in case of an explosion,

the plaque on this building,

 serves as a reminder that working in an arsenal or foundry could be a dangerous place to work,

we made our way to the Firepower Museum,

I should point out that the museum is scheduled to be closed from 8th July and to be relocated to Wiltshire, so check where it is before you go,

back to today, we were greeted by a field gun,

and a mural,

depicting the Royal Artillery,

at the beginning of the museum,

a brief look at modern day conflicts,

and a reminder of how the Royal Artillery started out,

in a side hall there were a number guns, like this M110A2 8 inch self propelled gun, manufactured by the USA, this actual gun was used in the Gulf War,

also on display in the same room this towable 2 pounder anti-tank gun, dated 1938, it started out like this in the Second World War, but did not pack enough punch for it was reengineered to become a 6 ponder, the gun shown here in its Western Desert livery,

into the main hall itself,

where guns of all shapes and sizes were on display,

like this 3 inch 20 cwt (1 ton) Mark III anti-aircraft gun, later adopted for naval use, 

this a towed gun, a 40mm British anti-aircraft gun dated 1942, it was actually designed by the Swedish company Bofors but was licensed to the British government, it became one of the most widely used guns of the Second World War, after the war it was improved with a longer barrel and could be radar controlled,

this is a similar version but self propelled, mounted on a Morris C9/B commercial truck, which could carry the 4 man crew and 120 rounds of ammunition,

we continued our walk,

and found the quartermaster's store,

from D-Day to the end of the war 5.5 inch BL Mark III howitzers like this one fired over two and a half million rounds, 

we made our way upstairs,

to the section,

featuring older ordnance,

like this Falconet from the 17th century and was used in the English Civil War, it fires a 2" round,

 other early pieces,

like this bronze 6 pounder field gun dated 1796, it was manufactured by Francis Kinman who had his shop/foundry in Shoe Lane in London, the gun was used in the Peninsula campaign against the French and was later replaced by the 9 pounder when more punch was needed at the Battle of Waterloo,

some the guns also had their limbers with them,

many of us will recognise this as a Gatling gun, this particular model was known as a Battery Gatling Gun and was proposed to be used by the Royal Artillery, 

it was based on the a ten-barrel, .30 caliber model, which fired 400 rounds a minute, but the barrel size was increased to a 1 inch bore,

we looked at a few more guns,

looking downstairs the display was impressive,

we then moved to a room, 

where medals and decorations were given to members of the Royal Artillery,

the flag says it all,

we made our way out of the complex,

going towards the Docklands Light Railway, (DLW),

and under the arch commemorating Woolwich,

we were soon on our way,

passing through,

Canary Wharf,

a quick change of trains,

and we were in Greenwich, passing the head of one of the tunnel boring machines used to make the DLR,

we walked from the station,

past the Cutty Sark,

that we had visited a month or so ago,

and on to the jetty,

we did not have to wait long for a boat,

there are two types of boat to chose from the express like this one, or a slower sightseeing tour boat,

we went for the fast one,

as we left another express boat arrived at the jetty,

as soon as we were in midstream,

it was full ahead both,

a very happy Diana,

we looked at the riverside buildings as we speed by,

a panorama of the northern bankside,

we were then given an impromptu display of a pleasure craft,

a semi rigid boat where thrill seekers can experience high speed turns, not for the faint hearted,

we passed properties, both modern,

and old that had been refurbished,

along the river there are canals like this,

that lead to marinas and of course a number of smaller rivers flow into the Thames, many unseen like the River Fleet that runs under Fleet Street,

old warehouses converted into apartments,

lined the waterside,

we also spotted some Mississippi style rear paddle boats,

we were approaching the Shard,

and Tower Bridge,

when we noticed,

a wedding shoot going on,

under the bridge,

and out again,

the Shard looking like it is reaching into the clouds,

past H.M.S. Belfast,

and the Tower Bridge,

a few weeks ago we were up on the walkway that crosses it

the crest on top of the bridge,

and in earlier times the one entrance to the tower that you did not want to take, Traitors Gate,

this is London City Hall, it seems strange that according to this article it sits on private land, I wonder how much rent is being paid?

we visited H.M.S. Belfast on our last visit to London,

the Tower of London receding in the distance,

under London Bridge,

and we picked up some speed,

as we passed Bankside we glimpsed the Golden Hinde, Sir Francis Drake completed the second-ever circumnavigation of the world between 1577-80 in a galleon ship called the Golden Hinde, the ship has been re-created and rebuilt as a museum, which looks like great fun to visit,

Diana all smiles,

looking into the distance in an unguarded moment,

the walkie-talkie building,

we were up there,

right at the top,

we continued upstream,

the boat stopping every now and then,

as passengers,

got off or on,

if you have ever wondered what these pillars are next to Blackfriars Bridge were for they used to have a railway bridge on them that served St. Paul's Station, but were replaced with the new bridge, there were 3 pillars but one was used for the new bridge, so you can now only see two,

next the famous OXO building, originally constructed as a power station for the Royal Mail in the late 19th century the OXO building was purchased for cold storage by the Liebig Extract of Meat Company, famous for its OXO (oxen) beef cube, in the 1920s the building was remodeled and permission was asked for it advertise the product, permission was denied, 

now here is thinking out of the box, the architect designed four sets of three vertically-aligned 10 foot windows, two circular and one in the shape of a cross were built into the tower, with light shining through them from inside the, the word OXO was emblazon across the Thames, so getting around the advertising ban, neat,

in the distance the London Eye,

we got off the boat at the Embankment, and walked past The Playhouse that was staging 1984, we have both the book and the DVD, a good read as it happens,

we also looked at the hero of London, Sir Joseph William Bazalgette, CB who made London a cleaner place by developing a system of sewers under the city that are still in use today and by doing so cured London of the cholera epidemics that had plagued the city since Roman times,

a photo shoot by the eye,

a couple of Diana,

and one of the eye,

OK one more of Diana,

we continued our walk,

I had never noticed these before,

seats with Egyptian style ends and middle,

one more as we are opposite the eye,

we passed the memorial,

to the R.A.F. and the Battle of Britain,

and then there it was,

the tower that houses Big Ben,


Diana wanted her picture taken in a London telephone box,

we were going to use this one, till we noticed the green person and the fight in the background,

we decided on another picture of the tower,

and nearly got run over by a unicycle,

then some drama,

the bridge was closed,

police had stopped a suspicious vehicle on the bridge,

and this was it,

'no pictures, nothing to see, move on,'

so we did, if you are wondering why the bell is called Big Ben,

have a look at this link,

we were waiting to cross the road,

as buses,

and police cars roared past,

we are now in Parliament Square, looking at Westminster Abbey,

and backwards towards the bridge,

and the Houses of Parliament,

we walked towards the Abbey,

it's huge doors,

unfortunately shut,

we walked along the side of the building,

and noticed thousands of poppies,

all marked Somme 100,

the sign says it all,

on the back of each,

an individual message,

taken from Kipling's poem 'Recessional',

outside the Abbey a column, which remembers former pupils of Westminster School who died in the Crimean War 1854-56 and the Indian Mutiny 1857-58,

St. George slaying a dragon atop of it,

with Diana,

to one side of it Westminster school,

and the gift shop,

our flag,

and another telephone box,

we walked back,

to Victoria station passing these buildings as we did,

 this building John Francis Bentley’s 19th-century cathedral,

sadly not completed as money ran out,

back to Steve and Kai's home on the train, a wash and brush up and we were out again to Chai Naasto,

as you might have guessed,

looking at the decor it is an Indian restaurant at 2-4 Fairfield Road, Beckenham, and of course this is a part of Diana's birthday present, I was just kidding about our trip this morning being the present!

on with the food,

we were joined by Steve and Kai,

along with Debbie,

and Bob,

and of course birthday girl!

'Cheers!', from all of us,

and then the surprise,

a birthday cake,

a strawberry,

for some reason I had to cut it first,

followed by Kai,

and of course Diana, what a day and what a lovely party, after saying our farewells to Bob and Debbie we went home for a nightcap, then off to bed.

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