It is Armistice Day today. At 11 o'clock we will have a two minutes silence to remember our dead.
Friday 11 November 2011
It is Armistice Day today. At 11 o'clock we will have a two minutes silence to remember our dead.
Thursday 10 November 2011
DULCE ET DECORUM EST(1)
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
8 October 1917 - March, 1918
Thursday 3 November 2011
The V&A museum in South Kensington. The home of arts and crafts. When the idea for it was instigated by Prince Albert in 1852. It has 4.5 million objects. It's mandate was to display artefacts from every culture throughout the world so that artists, and artisans of every type could learn from made things. It always has had an educational purpose. This makes it different from art galleries which are seen as culturally elite.
An old shop in Shoreditch, just north of the City of London and the Barbican. It looks like a Victorian shop front but the building is probably Georgian.
A view form Brick Lane. You can just glimpse the Ghurkin and the City of London banking sector through the archway. Brick Lane is an area where many waves of immigrants over the centuries have lived. Hueguenots weavers came first of all, then it became a Jewish settelment, there are still some synagogues in the area. Nowadays it is home to many Pakistanis. Monica Ali wrote her award winning novel Brick Lane which was based on life and the immigrant community here. It was made into a hard hitting film about Brick Lane's society.
You will all know this one. It's Westminster Abbey. It has been the centre of many important events in the history of this country.
So many people mistake this for London Bridge but it is in effect called Tower Bridge because it is situated beside The Tower of London.
This is Villiers Road leading off The Strand. Charing Cross Station is to the right and The Thames straight ahead. There are many literary connections around here, from Charles Dickens to Rudyard Kipling.
This is the Buddhist pagoda in Battersea Park, next to The Thames. The Dalai Llama requested that one be set up in London and other major cities of the world to help bring peace to us all.
This is Spitalfields Market in the East End. It is being renovated and turned into designer clothes shops, pubs, restaurants and clubs. The area is close to Whitechapel, famous for Jack The Ripper.
Boris Johnson, our illustrious Mayor of London, is trying to encourage more cycling. You can hire one of these bikes. There are dozens of these bicycle racks around the city.
I know it looks like a piece of fossilised dinosaur but its one of the new entrances down into the tube system.
The Houses of Parliament. But you knew that didn't you!!!!!!!!! By the way, it's not Big Ben. It is called The Westminster Clock Tower. Big Ben is the bell inside it. You can hear Big Ben but you can't see it.
This is Marble Arch next to the north east corner of Hyde Park on the Corner of Oxford Street and Bayswater Road. It was originally the gate into Buckingham Palace but it was found to be too narrow for some of the carriages so it was moved to this spot. The site was originally Tyburn, where criminals were hung.
A seagull contemplating Westminster Bridge at sunset.
I was needing a bit of glamour. Here is myself with Deb Barnum, who organises the Jane Austen Society of North America, Vermont chapter. "Chapter," is that the right word? It has religious connotations but also reminds me of the Hells Angels.
This is the famous ,"Wobbly Bridge." Behind me, no you can't see it, is St Pauls Cathedral and across the river on the other side, is the 1930's coal fired power station that has been converted into The Tate Modern.
A view of The Thames looking west. That clump of flats (apartments) in the distance is Battersea.
From this viewpoint you can see St Pauls Cathedral, the flats in the Barbican complex to the left, some of the banking district in The City to the right and The Thames again, in the foreground.
An alleyway in Holburn, just half a mile north of The Strand.
Yes I know,drunken telephone boxes!!!!!!!!!!
A statue of that great actor, Lawrence Olivier, situated on the South Bank near The National
Inside one of those London Eye, pods. Going round and round and round!!!!!!
This is not in London but I thought you would like to see Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport.
A horse and carriage on The Strand.
Some Henry Moore sculptures in Battersea Park. Nearby is a sculpture by Barbara Hepworth.
Graffitti and skate boarders on the South Bank underneath The Royal Festival Hall.
These are mews houses. They are desirable properties. In Georgian and Victorian times these were the stables for the horses and carriages belonging to the fine houses in areas like Belgravia.
You have got three for one in this picture. That thin looking pedestrian bridge in front is a side view of The Millenium Bridge, also known as The Wobbly Bridge. Southwark Bridge is the next one and then there is the railway bridge coming out of Cannon Street Station. You can see the twin towers of the station to the left.
This is the Hayward Gallery on The South Bank. He's not going to jump. It's a sculpture. About two years ago, life size and life like figures like this started appearing on many buildings all over London. Just another way for us all to relate to art.
St Pauls at night.
The Cenotaph in Whitehall. This is the main national Monument to our British War dead. It was erected just after the First Worlld War. The Queen places a wreath here every year on Armistice Day, November 11th. We all wear poppys to commemorate our war dead.
This is Trafalgar Square last Christmas. The tree is a Norway Spruce.Every year Norway presents us with a Christmas tree to commemorate the help we gave them during the second world war. Denmark, on the other hand, for the same reasons,gave us Carlsberg Special Brew. At one time it could only be sold in England. It's powerful, brain damage stuff.
You are going to laugh at this one. This is George Washington. It's next to The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. In the 1920's the good people of Virginia thought they would like to present the English people with a statue of George Washington.
A guardsman in Horse Guards Parade.
A stern looking policeman at the entrance to Downing Street.
Somebody beach combing under Waterloo Bridge.
The National Theater. It looks more like a nuclear power station. It has three stages and auditoriums. The central concrete column is a computer operated scenery moving installation for the three stages.
A Thames Clipper, a river bus. One of the best ways to see London is from the river. You can buy a days pass, a Rover ticket, for £12.50. You can go up and down the Thames all day long, stopping wherever you want and getting back on again. You can go up as far as the Thames Barrier, stop at Greenwich to see the Maritime Museum and The Royal Observatory, pop in to The Millenium Dome, see The Tower, look in at the Tate Modern, view St Pauls and embark at Westminster. The views are spectacular and the photo opportunities innumerable.
Buckingham Palace from the lake in St James's Park.
The banking sector in the city viewed from The Tower of London. WHERE DID IT ALL GO WRONG?
Canary Wharf. Multinational companys viewed from Greenwich Park.
A diplodocus in the entrance to the Natural History Museum in Kensington.
I often cycle around London. That's my bike on the right. No, not the one with the bent wheel.
The Albert Embankment, across the river from The Houses of Parliament.
The Houses of Parliament. Need I say more?
The memorial to SOE outside of Lambeth Palace.Lambeth Palace is the home of The Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Church of England.
A london pub, called The Museum Tavern, opposite The British Museum.
The London Underground.
On the way to an underground platform.
Me, on my way home on the underground. I can't remember which station this was.
The pavement at night outside the Royal Festival Hall.
The Royal Festival Hall. It is the venue for classical music concerts throughout the year. It can hold the worlds largest symphony orchestras.
A London side street.
I was about to enter a capsule on The London Eye.
For all you Doctor Who fans. Hamleys toy shop window at Christmas. It's in Regents Street.
A gold Dalek. Blimey!!!!!!!!!
Is it a cave? Is it a load of old rags?
Regents Street at Christmas.
Theater Royal Drury Lane in Covent Garden.
Once in a while I need to sit down and have a cup of coffee.
Covent Garden from the terrace of the Royal Opera House. I went to see The Nutcracker. Yes, I did.
A green house at the Horniman Museum, which I think is one of the best museums in the London suburbs near Greenwich. It has got some amazing things collected from every culture by Frederick John Horniman, the tea trader, from his travels all over the world.
Hans Place. Another house Jane Austen stayed in. This was owned by Henry too. The house he owned was on this site. This red brick building was built in the late 1800's. It's Victorian.
Clive of India. This is just behind Whitehall set between the buildings that comprise the Foreign Office. Clive conquered India and added it too our British Empire.
Chinatown next to Soho, just off Shaftesbury Avenue.
London seen from Battersea Park.
Charing Cross station and Hungerford Railway Bridge. There are two pedestrian walkways either side of the railway bridge. Virginia Woolf mentions in her diaries walking across Hungerford Bridge. Before the railway station and the bridge were built there used to be some stone steps down to the river called Hungerford Steps. It was here that the blacking factory stood that Charles Dickens was employed in as a young child.
Buckingham palace Road and the magnificent French chateau style Southwestern Hotel that served Victoria Railway Station. The Orient Express leaves from here. Notice the Abbey Road Beetles re-enactment society.
Boudica. She was the warrior Queen who routed the Romans and sacked Roman London.
The reading room in The British Museum. Karl Marx wrote his great works here.
This Georgian house is near Trafalgar Square and Whitehall. Benjamin Franklin lived here for about 18 years. He set up a printing press, and carried out many scientific experiments here.
The Science Museum. These are all 18th century scientific instruments.
An aeroplane in full flight inside the Science Museum. It makes me think of the adventures of Tintin for some reason.
A lion in Trafalgar Square. They are made from the melted down guns of many of the ships that took part in The Battle of Trafalgar.
Some Georgian houses. "Upstairs Downstairs."
Looking across the Thames at twilight. On the other side is Chelsea where many of the Preraphaelite brotherhood lived. Cheney Walk, where innumerable literary and artistic giants lived is next to the river.
Battersea power Station. A 1930's coal fired power station that is being converted into everything you can think of, galleries, shops, hotels, theaters, cinemas, and shops.