Welcome to my blog

This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!

Monday, 24 November 2014

Royal College of Organists

Walking past the Royal Albert Hall  your eyes are usually fixed on the architecture and its many exits reflecting the surroundings. However if you take your eyes away from the iconic building, you may notice this building on the other side of the road.
 This is the Royal College of Organists.
It was part of a number of educational and artistic buildings which arose in this area following the Great Exhibition of 1851. The area which is referred to as 'Albertoplis' stretches from the Natural History Museum to the Albert Hall. Albert, of course, was the husband of Queen Victoria and the instigator of The Great Exhibition.

Once the Albert Hall was completed this building was built to as a National Training school for Music.

When the Royal College of Music opened on Marylebone Road  it was no longer needed by that organisation and became the College of Organists in 1904 until it closed in 1990.

It is currently privately owned but, as with many of our large heritage buildings, not by a British resident. There is some debate about whether it was bought as a home, an investment or just to have the bragging rights!

This is the current Royal College of Music, Marylebone Road.

Sharing with Our World Tuesday

Saturday, 22 November 2014

York House Gardens Twickenham

York House gardens in Twickenham, West London houses these wonderful statues carved in Italian white marble from Carrara. They were brought to England by the financier Whitaker Wright but were dispersed in 1904 when he was found guilty of fraud and suddenly died.
The figures are sea nymphs from Greek Mythology and were brought to Twickenham in 1909. They were bought for £600 by the last person to own York House. When he died in 1918 and his wife returned to India the property was given to the council and was used as council offices.

It wasn't until the 1980s that the York House Society and the Twickenham Society got together and restored the statues which had been neglected and vandalised. Further restoration work took place in 2007.

The beautiful gardens go down to the River Thames and are open to the public.

Since 1965 York House has been the council offices for the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. Parts of the building date back to 1630 and at present the building is undergoing major restoration work.

Thursday, 20 November 2014


This Chandelier is in a shop window just round the corner from High Street Kensington, London. Someone told me it has been in the window for at least two years. There was no price tag!

Another building of interest is the Nat West Bank on Kensington High Street with its magnificent facade.

The mosaics on the building are quite high up and difficult to see but zooming in with the camera gives you an idea of the intricate designs.

Unfortunately I could find no information about the building other than it is currently a bank. Maybe someone else knows more and would like to share their knowledge.
Sharing with James at Weekend Reflections

Monday, 17 November 2014


This is the Rotunda at Ickworth House in Suffolk. It was built by Frederick Hervey, the 4th Earl of Bristol to house his treasures collected whilst touring Europe in the 18th C.

Hervey already owned several houses but this was designed and built as his own private museum. When he died only the rotunda was complete which his wife referred to as 'a moment of folly'. His son went on to complete the two wings of the house adjoining  the rotunda.

In the basement is the restored 1930s servants' quarters.

This is where the servants would eat.

These are the family rooms above stairs. The house is full of paintings by well known artists, porcelain and Regency furniture as well as an exceptional collection of silver.

A silver fish collection

Sharing with Our World Tuesday

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Sticky Fingers

The Bill Wyman Sticky Fingers restaurant in Kensington. Named after one of the Stones's albums, serves American food with a rock music accompaniment.

One of my favourite parts was the door. No mistaking the type of restaurant.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Reflections in Penrith

This is Penrith, a market town in the county of Cumbria, NW England. It is just a couple of miles outside the Lake District national park. It was a dull rainy day when I visited a few weeks ago, creating a few reflections on the wet pavements and roads.

The George hotel has a long history as a coaching inn. Penrith was on the main route from England to Scotland and in 1745 during the Jacobite uprising 'The Young Pretender or Bonnie Prince Charlie' Prince Charles Edward Stuart stayed here on his march South. If you want to know more about the Jacobite uprising click here

Just on the edge of the town are the remains of Penrith Castle built at the end of the 14th century. It was built to defend the area against the Scots.

Sharing with James at Weekend Reflections