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Archive for February, 2012

Today surely heralded the start of spring….a sky that started out grey and dull and as the morning progressed turned into a blue skies and balmy breezes kind of day, the sun beating down, sparkling on the river like shards of diamonds.

a walk along the thames path

sunshine sparkling on the water

The day started real early, my daughter had a course in town to attend so we rose early (but not too bright) and had tea together before she set off.  I hopped online (what else) and before I knew it, twas time to go.  I had a meeting/catchup with a friend I met through twitter.  It was months since we last met up…way too long.  The day was developing into one of those amazing spring days, days that you can only appreciate after a long, dark and cold winter.  The air was filled with the thrilling, trilling of birds tweeting!  A wonderful sound, albeit the sound of defending territory.

I headed towards Twickenham.   Along the way my eye was captured by the daffodil faces dancing in the breeze in Oak Lane Cemetery.

oak lane cemetery twickenham

even in death there is life

My immediate destination was Sweetie Pies Boutique Bakery in Church Street – a favourite venue, a frequent place of merriment and munchies…..english tea and the best scones and cupcakes in town.

sweetie pies boutique bakery twickenham

cupcake heaven

Today was no exception!  The meeting was fun, filled with chatter, plans and ideas – the time flew by way too fast.   All too soon our time was up, goodbyes were said with a promise to meet again soon.  Church Street looked gay and cheerful, lined with Welsh and English flags, bustling with shoppers, the pubs packed with revellers preparing for the days rugby game soon to start.  I strolled down to the embankment, the smell of barbecued meat hanging heavy in the air.

Church Street, Twickenham

By now the line of the sky was hard to distinguish from the water, blue blue blue.  The sun sparkled diamond bright on the waves, ducks and geese squabbled noisily on the banks.  The alabaster white of the York House statues glowed eerily in the shade of the trees.  White blossoms on the trees by the bridge a splash of joy after recent cold, dark days.  On the lawns of York House a little boy played, screaming with delight as he kicked the ball.  From there I headed off to Orleans House Gallery; currently being refurbished.  The whole of Twickenham was out for a stroll, dogs bounding along, children running and shrieking, filling the air with joy.

york house twickenham

York House, looking splendid in the sunshine

On an impulse I decided to cross the river with the ferry! For just a £1, you can cross from one side to the other.  Once there, I strolled along to Ham House, revelling in the warmth of the sun, stopping to chat to a horse along the way, and whilst giving him a scratch behind the ear….he bit my hip!! cheeky chap.

cheeky chap

From there I made off along the Thames Path towards Richmond, dodging cyclists and walkers I stopped frequently to take photos, unable to resist despite the fact that I have dozens already.

Boats chugged busily along the waterway.   Richmond Bridge looked magnificent, perfectly reflected in the water below as buses and cars crossed back and forth; stop-start in the queue.   The embankment was busy with strollers, cyclists, joggers and all the people that hibernate in the winter; today out on the lawns basking in the sun.  The tide was down and not expected for a while, so the rugby folks gathered in noisy groups outside the pubs, still a few hours to revel and quaff their beer.  A queue of customers lined up in front of an ice-cream van parked on the side, an easy decision in the heat of the day.

tide tables

The stream that runs alongside the old deer park was rushing back into the river as I walked by, gurgling noisily down the drain as the tide receded, a train rattled loudly across the old Victorian bridge on it’s way to St Margaret’s Station, planes flew overhead on their way to Heathrow and I made my way towards Richmond Lock, looking splendid as always.

richmond lock

what a view - Richmond Lock

Richmond Lock is surely one of the best views in London, and something I get to see every morning on my way to the station.  If it was not for the fact that I had loads to do at home……I would have kept walking all the way to the sea!

I made a video of my photos that you may enjoy!

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Friday 6.30pm finally arrived after 5 long days of waiting! Skipping out the office door I headed to the station, loving the classical music that greets me there every night (the music is apparently a ‘yob’ deterrent!).  The train was not as full as usual so I managed to get a seat and someone had kindly left their Evening Standard behind for me to read.  Reading the papers on my daily journey has become an enjoyable pastime and I am learning more about politics, the Olympics, the shenanigans of our City officials, what’s on in London and from the Metro I am increasing my stock of ‘very interesting things I read in the papers’ ….one day when I die, they are going to come into my house and have to search me out amongst the paper cut-outs! 🙂 It’s a real compulsion and has become a bit of an addiction.  I have always been an ‘accummulator’ and all through my life I have collected all sorts of things…wish I had been as diligent about collecting money…but I digress.

Back to the weekend; once home we, my girl and I had a yummy meal, watched a bit of telly and worked like demons on our respective businesses.   Late to bed again at about 1am.

Saturday it was up early and not too bright and headed off to Russell Square for the Immerse Event – #StepAhead where my daughter was to be one of the speakers.  I was so excited, to attend one of her trainings and looking forward to hearing from the other speakers too.  I met some fab people at the event and thoroughly enjoyed the day’s talks.    I especially enjoyed hearing from Elliot Kay, the Coach with the Hat; a real live wire speaker.  My daughter was a delight and I have to say that I am so exceptionally proud of her achievements and how much she has developed as a speaker of note; a resounding applause followed her talk.  We headed to the bar after and had a wonderfully funny and interesting conversation that ranged back and forth across a wide range of subjects.

Heading for home we relaxed over tea and more chat.  I had planned on doing a self-guided Dickens tour on Sunday so did a bit of research to prepare me for the walk.  We were also waiting with bated breath for news from South Africa to say my sister had delivered her baby.  Finally after a very long labour, she had a fine and lovely bouncing boy; Luca.

my little nephew...Luca. 🙂 how gorgeous he is!

What a lovely day I woke to…..sunny, blue skies. Just what I had ordered for my walkabout….except I didn’t get that far as it turned out!!! I had promised to help my daughter with some transcribing, video to word!! Urgh! Not fun.  It took hours and thankfully had a useful outcome in that I have now realised that I no longer want to be a transcriber.  It was so very tedious. But finally after about 2 hours of typing we decided to down tools and head to the river for a walk.  The day was so incredibly beautiful and we enjoyed a bracing stroll to Richmond Lock, along the Thames Path towards Kew and back again.  CJ has a new camera lens and I got papped!!! repeatedly 🙂 🙂 She is so funny and I eventually gave up and posed and smiled and did my duty as a photographic subject! hahaha.

Actually her photos are amazing and she could be a professional photographer I am sure. Tea and cake followed when we got home and then back to the drawing board. I am now seriously into pinterest and had to chuckle when I read a blog about how addictive pinterest has become and that in the near future there will be ‘Pinterest Anonymous’!! I’ll probably be it’s first customer.  I am loving it and especially love all the fabulous travel photos of some of the most amazing places.  A great weekend, albeit way too short.  Plus I didnt get to do my walk afterall…..instead I now look forward to doing it next weekend. 🙂

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So there’s a new kid on the block….pinterest!  I joined 5 days ago and already I am addicted! 🙂 What I love about it most of all is that unlike twitter or facebook where if you want to see a photo you have to follow a link…with pinterest when you log on all your ‘friends’ photos appear on the from page….a smorgasbord of exotic travel destinations, recipes, cute animals, funky interior design, fashions, yummy food dishes, flowers and much much more.  You can scroll through all these marvellous photographic exhibits and like or comment on a favourite or repin the photo to one of your own boards.  The variety of boards is amazing and the amount of creativity that abounds in the world of photography is amazing.  I am loving it…..not sure when I’ll get to blog again…but if you dont see me here….you can find me on pinterest 🙂 http://pinterest.com/3daysinlondon/

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I was knocked for a loop this morning when my daughter came through and read me the news that Whitney Houston has passed away.  The news was a real shocker and my reaction no less so! I started crying with no idea why.  I had loved much of her music and of course just loved the movie ‘The Bodyguard’…the ultimate romance.  I won’t say I was a fan as such, but I did feel very, very sad at the death of someone who was so talented, and at one stage appeared to have it all; talent, fame, money, travel and all the trappings, and yet it wasn’t enough.  Here is a really beautiful video, of the Dubai fountains synchronised to the words of :

I will always love you

I hope you enjoy the video, it’s really beautiful. Not too sure about the site…but the video is gorgeous.

Just after midday I took myself off into London for the afternoon to go walkabout, one of my passions and something I always find totally uplifting.  As I walked I mused at the fact that despite that I don’t have much money, very few possessions and with a mountain of debt to conquer, it is something as simple as walking about this beautiful city that has a richness that money can’t buy.  Is it really true then that money can’t buy happiness?

After a most wonderful afternoon, wandering here and there, up alleys twisting and winding, alongside the river, admiring and enjoying the sights, many familiar and well beloved….I arrived home to tea and rusks with my wonderful daughter.   Then I got onto facebook only to discover that one of my facebook friends with whom I had frequently exchanged comments or liked his posts was on the verge of suicide.

His post read: “I have fought so many battles in my life from a violent father, bullying at school and much more yet I have achieved so much. 3 special beautiful children and the best partner anyone could want. I am so so tired now though. I can’t fight any more, my mind and body are ill and worn out, my motivation gone. I am ready and it is time.
Thank you for all your love, it has been amazing. I will sleep peacefully and at rest now and start a new journey. I am looking forward to seeing old friends and family and devastated to be leaving mine.
Goodbye cruel world.”

The tragedy is that we all saw his earlier posts, the sad comments and unhappy picture posts and no-one realised just how much help he was needing. So many people said ‘I wish I’d known’ or ‘I wish I’d said something’.  But felt they couldn’t at the time.  How constrained we are by the conventions of society.  When your’e on social media you are meant to be ‘happy’ all the time, with thousands of ‘quotes’ or ‘inspirational’ posts or quotes filling the timeline.  Why are people unable to be normal?  Sad or unhappy posts are not always welcomed by those who read them.  I know…my daughter went through a very difficult time last year and came under fire from some people for her posts, not all mind as many were incredibly supportive.

The follow up to that post by his friends on facebook was fantastic and thankfully someone found him in time and he is now in hospital and being treated, his 3 special beautiful children at his bedside.  There is an advert currently being shown on TV that highlights mental illness and how awkward it is for people to know what to do or how to react.   I wonder how it must have been for Whitney Houston, a troubled, unhappy person who appeared to have it all.  I wonder at the outpouring of grief…I wonder that we left till after she died to say how much we loved her music, how much we cared. Would it have made a difference to her life?

Folks, if you know of someone who is going through a tough time right now, reach out to them, mental illness is not a shame and perhaps a kind word or gesture would make all the difference.  Smile at a stranger, don’t be afraid of looking foolish, or making a mistake….just reach out and even if you don’t know someone who is going through a tough time….reach out to those around you anyway.  Say how much you care and don’t leave it for the #RIP.

Below is what I saw today….

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and somehow the grey day was beautiful and quite apt for a sad day.

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