Saturday, 30 April 2016

We Popped Round To See Steve's Mum,

who has beautiful garden,

 Diana posed by the camellias,

 and in the back garden by the daffodils and cherry tree, after a chat and a coffee we made a move to see Carol, Ian and Peter from Preston Smith, who are Independent Financial Advisers that I have known for more years than I care to remember,

 Ian and myself both have common interest, model railways, but whilst mine is a table top one Ian's are a 5" gauge garden railway, his steam engines are being serviced at the moment, but this is fun, this engine using a lawn mower petrol engine to propel it, all of the engines can take children and adults around the garden,
 Ian by the tracks leading into the distance,

 we walked along the tracks past one of the pools,

 where hundreds of tadpoles had hatched,

 by the train tracks looking back to the house,

 the tracks then going into the orchard and joining another circuit,

 a spur going off to the engine sheds,

 this one going past the greenhouses,

we then made a move for lunch to Pierluigi's which was opened in 1994,

 Diana started with a crab dish,

 mussels for myself,

 'Cheers!', from all of us,

on to our main courses, prawns for Ian,

 a steak for myself,

 another quick picture of our happy band with our main courses, the menu here is impressive, plus they always have a number of specials for the day,

 then back to Steve and Kai's home, where Steve was preparing our evening meal, a massaman curry,

we also had two tilapias, one grilled the other fried,


for dessert Cornish ice cream with a huge apple pie,

served by Kai,

which was delicious, then feet up to watch No Escape, a gripping story about an Asian country that starts to kill off its tourist and foreign workers, next a chat and a couple of nightcaps and we were all off to bed.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Let The Train Take The Strain,

so we did,

 on our way to London,

 then the tube (underground) to Green Park, guess where we are going,

 as we made our way through the park,

 you guessed it The Ritz,

 we arrived deliberately early so we could have a wander around, but before that a coffee in Cafe Nero,

 then it was time to enter,

for our early afternoon tea in the Palm Court,

 we were shown the tea menu,

 Diana chose the Moroccan Mint, for myself a pot of Dragon Pearls,

 with sandwiches, scones and pastries,

 it was all so elegant,

 our pots of tea arrived,

 and were expertly poured,

 there is a strict dress code and rightly so, no choice then, it was out with the old school tie,

 our first two plates of cakes and sandwiches arrived,

 one of the waiters,

 very kindly offered to take a few pictures of us,

 then it was time to sample our selection,

 and nice it was too,

 Diana all smiles, well we both were, we had booked this a couple of months ago and had been looking forward to it ever since,

 oh dear first tray of sandwiches nearly all gone, so new ones underneath,

 then the scones with fresh Cornish clotted cream and strawberry jam arrived,

 it may not seem a lot, but we were full to bursting,

 but I still had room for,

  a glass of bubbly or two,


 then the dessert trolley called by,

 rhubarb and ginger cake for Diana, hazelnut chocolate cake for myself,

 I should have mentioned all of the while there was discreet piano music in the background, with just a tad more volume as 5 tables had a round of Happy Birthday,

 one last look at the Palm Court,

 and we were on our way on the tube to Warren Street station,

 to find the University College London,

 looking back towards the station,

 we passed the main building,

 and into number 21 University Street to the Grant Museum of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy,

 most of the exhibits are real which Diana was a bit not sure about, with human brains and other parts of anatomy on display,

 but the exhibits were manly of animals, both prehistoric,

 and modern, like this totally mad jar of preserved moles,

 but there was no denying it,

 the museum was full to the brim of interesting things to look at,

 like this Tasmanian Tiger or Thylacin a complete skeleton and ones pelt preserved in a jar,

 in the centre of the museum there is a study area,

 we continued our tour,

 taking pictures as we went,

 every where we looked,

 there were hundreds,

 no thousands of exhibits to look at,

 all labelled with short descriptions,

 from floor to ceiling,

 some using a process to make soft tissue clear so that other parts of the specimen can be seen,

 we continued,

 then Diana found The Micrarium,

 I will let the sign explain,

 still more to look at,

 a last look at the central section,

 and we were off again, this time walking along Gower Street for the Waterstone store on one of it's corners with Torrington Place,

 and this is where we are going, to look at relics from ancient Egypt, you may ask why not go to say the Smithsonian or perhaps the British museum that both spring to mind when thinking of Egyptian artifacts? well they both have a few, but if you want to see a museum with the largest number of ancient Egyptian artifacts you come here,

 with over 80,000 it has the largest collection Egyptian artifacts in the world! it is The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, slightly difficult to find but well worth the effort as in deed was the Grant earlier

 we made our way upstairs,

 past some pictures of Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, FRS (3 June 1853 – 28 July 1942), commonly known as Flinders Petrie, was an English Egyptologist,

 what we saw was breathtaking,

 row after row,

 of pictures and hieroglyphs,

 we had seen many programs looking at carvings like these,

 but to see them close up,

 you have to marvel at how they could be made using just a bronze chisel and hammer,

 but there was not only stone works on display,

 in many cabinets there were collections of glassware,

 case after case,

 the collection seemed endless,

 one surprise was the number of exhibits that were still coloured,

as they were when they were made,

like this one,

with hardly any fading,

 we continued our walk,

 to a central study area,

 where a selection of books had been left for visitors to browsers through, 

 we moved on to the jewelry section, 

where so many hours must have been spent to make just one necklace, in the museum there were hundreds of them,

from small to huge elaborate ones,

 then it was Diana's turn with the camera,

 whilst I had a look at some of the exhibits,

 absolutely stunning,

 in one aisle a case was being labelled, 

 but it made no difference as there was still so much to look at,

like this one,

 we made our way along this descending staircase, and up again.

 and started our way out when I recognized this carving, it was featured on a program about Egyptology, it appears that whilst carving this work suffered a mishap,

 apparently a worker caused this damage so the stone was scrapped,

 Diana poses by the man himself the picture taken outside his residence, on one of his digs, for more about this fascinating man and his life have a look here

 we walked back along Gower Street,

 and past the Grant, one thing about both museums is they have a great photography policy, pictures area allowed but no flash, unlike many museums and attractions that ban picture taking but want to sell you a expensive guide book,

 ancient and modern buildings side by side,

 we made our way back to Victoria,then to East Croydon, whilst there yesterday Diana saw a coat she liked, so back we went, the above picture in Croydon High Street of the Hospital of the Holy Trinity, the foundation stone was laid in 1596 and the building was completed in 1599,

 on our way,

 to Zara,

clothes shopping is not really me, so I watched some street theatre outside,

 shopping done back to Beckenham on the tram,

 after all of that walking I needed a beer, so a quick one in O'Niels, then back to Steve and Kai's house,

a shower and change of clothes and we were off to Chai Naasto Indian restaurant at 2 Fairfield Rd, Beckenham,

 for starters massala with mini poppadoms,

 the restaurant has only been here for 3 weeks but is already fully booked every night,

 'Cheers!', from all of us,

 we ordered a few starters,

 including these huge prawns,

 and this potato based one we had not tried before,

 some more chicken,

 and one more with massala,

 our main courses then arrived, all of which were excellent, I am sure Steve and Kai will be back, maybe all of us, we decided against a dessert,

 as at home we had a huge brie cheese waiting for us,

 so it was down to Steve to cut a few pieces,

to go with the biscuit we had bought yesterday, then feet up, to watch the latest Star Wars on Steve's big screen, a nightcap or two then we were all off to bed.