Day and Short Trips

Here are a selection of pictures describing some of the trips I have done this year, both short and long and some 1960s ski-bindings!

17th March—Stowe Race, Old Boys against the Boys

For many years now I have been representing the Old Boys at the annual race against the current pupils. Here is the team before the race and then me finishing it. This year Lou and I combined it with a picnic and tour of the grounds for Alison and Martin Trowell. The Old Boys won this year which was a nice ending to my racing career because I have decided that this is my last year.

4th April—Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing, Oldham

The Curriers is affiliated with the Wing and provides modest contributions to its all-ranks’ welfare and social facilities. They invited a few of us down to Oldham and see one of their training operations. We boarded this Chinook and flew over to a forward field station they had set up.

We had lunch at the field station, that’s Chistopher Rome gesticulating with our hosts. And finally, me with a big smile on the way back.

7th April—Will and Melanie Brown’s Wedding

Lou and I went up to Folkton in Yorkshire to celebrate Will and Mel’s wedding. Will’s parents, Phil and Janet, hosted the reception at their home. I sat next to the vicar, Ken Holding who turned out to have been in the same reginent as my uncle David Henderson back in the late 1940s

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14th April—My 60th Birthday Party

I will make this a topic on its own but for now because so many of my friends and relatives joined me for lunch St Celoni in Spain. But for now just a handful of photos to mark the event. The next day a smaller group of us went for a walk organised by Louise.

26th July—Westgate-on-Sea

I revisted the site of the first holiday I can remember. It was about 1952 and I recall building a sand barrier up against the harbour wall and sitting behind it as the tide came in. Eventually the sea won but I lasted longer than King Canute!

3rd September—Zermatt

I promised you a picture of a ski-boot fitting and here it is……..Why?, I hear you ask. Well, in the Zermatt museum, I came across a display of the history of ski-bindings and poles. Yes,…we really did have bamboo poles in those days but did you know that the first skiers only had one pole. These are the Marker safty bindings from the late 1950s that I used. It was because the bindings did not release my boot on a fall that I broke my left leg in 1960 and my right leg in 1961. It was 44 years before I was to get on skis again and that was only for cross-country ski-ing. My thanks to you, Pierre, for encouraging me to get back onto skis.

14th September—Globe Theatre

My birthday present from Richard Weston and Anita was a trip to the Globe followed by dinner. This was particularly appreciated because I had not been to the Globe before. We say a production of the Merchant of Venice with John McEnery and I thought it worked very well in the intimate setting of the Globe. Thank you Richard and Anita.

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30th September—Gliding

Another first for me. Lou Gave me an introductory flying lession for Christmas and it was a beautiful late September day as we headed up to Northhamptonshire. I had selected the Aquila Gliding Club (website here) because we could combine the the day with a little shopping at Bicester Village factory outlet. The club members were very friendly and not at all stuffy about visitors just coming for the day. I was towed up to about 2,000 feet and the flight lasted just over 20 mins. I was allowed to dive, climb, turn left and turn right which I did with varying degrees of success. I found it exhilarating; the speed is so much slower than one is used to, even in a car (about 45 m.p.h.) and it is so silent….just the whoosh of the air. However, I shall not be taking it up as a new hobby.

29th October—Prague for five days

Lou and I have wanted to go to Prague for a couple of years now and this was the second week of her half term holiday. It was cold but before the first snows and we only had an hour or so of drizzle. One doesn’t go for the food, too many dumplings and cabbage for my taste but we did have an excellent suckling pig at Liv Dvur. Its near the castle; telephone 224 372 361 for a reservation, website here

For me it was a city of outstanding architecture and natural beauty. What surprised me is that so much of it was preserved through a fifty year period of Nazi occupation and Communism. So that now you can have Baroque Churches and Art Nouveau Mayoral Reception Rooms.

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A radiator grill c.1907 ………………………………. St Michael’s c 1775

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Kew Tuesday 10th July

The Summer of Swing has been held at Kew Gardens for over 25 years but it is a new event in my calendar. Last year was the first year I attended. It is very weather dependent as it is about picnicing in the open and listening to some music.

This year my guests were John and Anne Murray and their daughter Sarah. There’s no picture of John because he is the photographer and took virtually all these pictures. Thank you, John.

We were lucky with the weather and started our food before the the “warm up group” Ben’s Brothers (no I hadn’t heard of them either). That’s me stuffing my face with some complimentary goodies from Gu, one of the sponsors.

Jools did a Boogie Woogie number and proceeded to introduce the key musicians in his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra. (Is “rhythm” the longest word I know without a vowel?)

His music was good but I thought he looked tired and wondered if his hectic schedule wasn’t starting to catch up with him. There were featured singers, Ruby Turner and Louise Marshall, but for me Lulu was the highlight.

and so it would appear for the rest of the audience, judging by their enthusiasm. Most of her numbers were collaborations with Jools but she did do one old favourite “Shout”. She is sixty next year !!!! At the end there is a brief firework display to let everbody that its time to go home.

WIMBLEDON 2007

I don’t think I’ve missed a tournament in the last ten years. Gone are the days when I was either giving or receiving corporate hospitality. Gone are the free tickets, the private tent with the meal layed out and a television to watch if one just had to pop back for strawberries and cream!!

These days its either queueing overnight or, as this year, being lucky in the ballot. Well, the finalists of the men’s singles competition were hardly a surprise. The ladies final was too one sided to make good viewing but the men’s final was one of the best I recall.

Roger Federer ………………. Venus Williams

This year I got a couple of good tickets for No. 1 Court on the first Tuesday (June 26) and took my niece, Ciaran, who was very good company. It was her first visit and we did it properly with a picnic and Pims !

This was the early rounds which, true to form, consisted of the seeded players (number in parentheses) knocking out the unseeded players.

Here come the line judges………… Here come the players

First up on No. 1 Court was the American James Blake (9) who won convincingly 6:3, 6:4, 6:4, against Igor Andreev.

James Blake Igor

We decided to leave before the end of this game because the result was not in much doubt. We headed off to Henman Hill to have the first half of our picnic and watch Tim Henman in his first round match, which had been carried over from the day before. We now know the result but, at the time, it was very tense on the Hill as he took the fifth set off Carlos Moyer (25) 13:11

The next live match we watched was Lleyton Hewitt (16), who is playing better this year, against the Englishman Richard Bloomfield. This went with the form book and took Lleyton just three sets….7:5, 6:3, 7:5

Another quick break for some rasberries and cream. Strawberries are fine but give me fresh, English rasberries every time. (And anyway the Wimbledon strawberries are overpriced.)

Back on No. 1 Court Maria Sharapova (2) and Yung-Jan Chan were warming up.

Sharapova won the first set 6:1 and although Chan tried to get back into the match and there were some good rallies she lost the second set 7:5

More pictures of Maria than Yung-Jan……Funny, can’t think why?

During the short break between matches we had a cup of tea and checked out the merchandising shop. All far to expensive but the branded head band we got for Ananda was good value. We returned to our seats part way through the first set of the game between Svetlana Kuznetsova (5) and Julia Vakulenko.

Julia took the first set 6:4 but then Svetlana got into her stide and took the last two sets 6:4, 6:3 to win. But actually we didn’t stay to the end which perhaps indicates just how exciting we found it or perhaps we were tired after a longish day. It was nearly eight in the evening and the crowds had sunk away like the sea on a sandy shore.

Trying to catch her eye ……….. “If I ask nicely will you let me in?”

THANKS CIARAN__ A GREAT DAY

National Trust: STOURHEAD June 1st

We drove down to Mere in Wiltshire and stayed overnight so we could have the following day to look round the House and Gardens of Stourhead. The rhododendrons were in full bloom.

One of the attractions for me was Stourhead’s similarity to Stowe. The house and the garden with its temples and lakes are indeed of a similar period.

Stourhead garden was created by Henry Hoare II in the 1740s. The River Stour was dammed to form a great lake. Around the lake Hoare laid out a landscape garden to entrance his guests with stunning views and pacify them with serene walking pleasure.

As the garden developed, he added classical features, such as the Temple of Flora, the Pantheon, the Temple of Apollo and Gothic ruins to enhance the series of splendid and unexpected vistas.

A visit to the Grotto is fun, if a little damp!

CHELSEA 2007

If its May I will be off to the Chelsea Flower Show; I don’t think I have missed one in the last ten years. Here are some of my pictures and observations on this year’s show. If you want to explore the event in more detail then the Royal Horticultural Society is the place to go.

I get there brfore 8 in the morning on the Tuesday (May 22 this year); the payoff is twenty minutes to look round before the throng builds up.

I always go straight for the The Show Gardens

The winner of this category was “600 Days with Bradstone”, a futuristic space station on Mars …… A controversial choice

The people’s choice was “Celebrating 100 years of Hidcote Manor”.

However, my favourite was the Fortnum & Mason Garden designed to attract bees but they had been banished in case they stung the visitors !

Here are a few others that caught this selector’s eye.

The Telegraph Garden……………………….The Laurent-Perrier Garden

The Cancer Research UK………………Through the Moongate (based on Yu Yuan garden in Shanghai?)

…….and a couple that won the wooden spoon in my view

The Lloyds TSB Garden……………………The Amnesty International Garden

Then there are always loads of garden ornements

before I get to the Courtyard Gardens

Moving Spaces, Moving on……………….Shinglesea

Le Jardin de Vincent……………………….Tufa Tea

and then a couple of City Gardens

Garden of Clouds…….and my choice…….City Haven

The Grand Pavillion used to be just a canvas marquee but now it is a larger, taller more solid structure. This has resulted in the exhibits becoming bigger and bolder. So, something like the first time display from “City of Durban” with a leopard up a tree would not have fitted!

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but the main feature of the Pavillion has always been flower and vegetable displays..

..and if you’re not careful you will trip over the BBC while they film.

Then, of course, there are the bonsai trees which, in my book, are worth a closer look (or should I say “bigger picture”). Like this 200 year old Chinese Juniper.

or this magnificent maidenhair-tree (Ginkgo Biloba)

and two more……..

One last look round to make sure I don’t miss anything, well not too much.