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Posts Tagged ‘Sweetie Pies Boutique bakery’

Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve. Middle age is when you’re forced to. Bill Vaughn

Thankfully I am now of the age where I can take it one way or the other.
So I had planned to go into London to the Eye to see in the New Year, but…….I am not inclined to stand in the wet and cold any more so I have decided to do the sensible (old) thing and watch it on telly, then I can go straight to bed after instead of a 2 hour journey to get home.  But for that, I would be there…..

big ben and the new year fireworks

fireworks at Big Ben & the London Eye

And so before the year is out…I have decided to put finger to keyboard and write a blog which I haven’t done since the beginning of the month.

The last few months have been quite weird and certainly eventful. I finally quit my job as a carer in August and got an office job only to resign within 2.5 months…..although I am still working there. They asked me to reconsider and stay on. The boss is a pratt and thinks that intimidation is the way to motivate me! Hurrumph…think again mate. So I guess we shall have to wait and see what transpires in the new year.

I have, as many of you know, moved in with my daughter and we are now sharing a lovely house in Twickenham….5 minutes walk to the river

twickenham bridge & the river thames

view from Twickenham Bridge of the river Thames...I love this view

and 20 minutes to Sweetie Pies Bakery.

sweetie pies boutique bakery twickenham

xmas cupcakes at Sweetie Pies Boutique Bakery in Twickenham

I walk to Richmond station in the mornings and have hundreds of photos of the same scene; of the river and boats from the bridge and riverbank and yet surprisingly it is different every day! I also get to walk through the grounds and past what remains of Richmond Palace. Quite awesome really.

richmond palace

Richmond Palace

It’s lovely to have a home again and it was wonderful to celebrate Xmas with our own tree and all the trimmings.  Xmas morning was brilliant fun and we both had lots of pressies to open then a walk to Richmond Park and a full xmas dinner in the evening…except I forgot the Yorkshire puds!!!

our enormous xmas tree & lots of pressies

2011 has been a year of development and remonstration, of regret and realisation. I guess you could say I have ‘grown’ in some ways. In fact it’s been quite a stressful year in many ways and I have had to face some long suppressed truths and acknowledge a fair number of disappointments. I have been unpacking my boxes, now out of storage and it has been quite upsetting and yet cathartic…I have thrown out a lot of garbage (metaphorically & actually speaking) 10 boxes of clothes and stuff I have accumulated as well as tons of the personal development paperwork from 2007/2008!   I also opened a bottle of 2004 Nuy Muscadel that is now matured and quite sublime…I have a glass to hand as I write 🙂

I have had some fantastic new experiences; a Thames cruise to Hampton Court, an afternoon of Spy Games up in Buckinghamshire where I got to do some target shooting (awesome), went to see Roxette in live concert!! brilliant and an invitation to the Guildhall for the 600th anniversary celebrations,

guildhall london

invitation to the Guildhall London

a drumming lesson arranged for me by my beloved daughter as one of my xmas presents. So cool. I have wanted to learn to play the drums for ever and a day and now I have had my 1st lesson. We are going to arrange for more lessons in April.

learning the drums - my 2011 xmas present 🙂

In the family we have had 1 wedding, welcomed 4 new children into the family, Cémanthe’s brother & his wife had a new baby, my brother & his wife adopted 2 kiddies and gave birth to one of their own!!  We visited South Africa in June for a catch up with family and said a sad goodbye to a dearly beloved grandfather.

Cémanthe and her paternal grandparents...sadly Alan is no longer with us.

There have been ups and downs this year as well as some revelations. I have slept on The Mall to watch our future King marry, been to most of my favourite places and events in the city and discovered many more. I have written a book, now published on kindle, developed on-line fatigue, conducted my first tour of London, made new friends, and sadly lost contact with some too.   I have supported my daughter through a debilitating divorce and celebrated the growth of her company crowned by a Women in Business Award nomination and was invited to the opening of an art exhibition in my capacity as a ‘Blogger of Influence’…..

hatfield house henry moore

me at Hatfield House for the Henry Moore art exhibition (I'm the one in the purple jumper!)

2012 holds the promise of new adventures, new avenues to explore and new encounters. I hope to renew some others and definitely want to start travelling again. My dream of a campervan to travel around the UK and then the world still holds strong and if I work hard enough it may just transpire (2 of my gifts from Cémanthe were campervan related).

We here in London/UK have the Queen’s Jubilee to look forward to – which promises to be unbelievably amazing

the queens diamond jubilee 2012

visual representation of what the Royal Barge will look like for the Queen's Jubilee

as well as the Olympics…can’t wait.

2012 london olympics

just over 1 year to go - London 2012 Olympics

We have tickets to 2 of the events and even though it’s not the opening or closing ceremony…there are plenty of vantage points in London where we will be able to see the fireworks. Just to be here is amazing enough for me anyhow.

So in conclusion, I wish you all a wonderful 2012 and may you have 365 exciting days ahead!

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Bluebells in spring

For some reason I have always loved my name and my birth date.  Now this is not from any egotistical aspect, merely that my name is quite lyrical and somehow my birthday, especially the April bit (not so much the year anymore 🙂 ), appeals to me.

Back in South Africa I was an autumn baby.  April is the start of autumn in the Southern hemisphere, and as far as seasons go it’s not too bad.  Of course what it did mean is that growing up I could never have a ‘pool party’. Not that that was an issue since we didn’t ever have a pool in our backyard, but it was the thought of the delightful possibilities of having a ‘pool party’ that appealed to me.

My birthday usually signified the slow slide into winter and was a time of chilly winds and mornings, not t-shirt type of weather at all.  Not that I minded, since I am a ‘wrap up warm in lots of layers’ type of person; one of the reasons I love the UK so much!

So when I came over to the UK, it was to the sudden realisation that I was no longer an ‘autumn’ person, I am now a ‘spring’ person!!! and how marvellous that is.  I adore spring in the UK and it has become quite my favourite time of year.  Of course I still do love autumn and that season in the Northern hemisphere is something to behold.  So lucky me, I have the best of both worlds.

Now a little secret here…..I never progressed very far in school and left as soon as I reasonably could without being considered an uneducated dunce! 😉 haha!!   In fact I left school in what is Standard 8 (should have been Standard 9 but I failed one year!  What was that I said about being a dunce?). heehee!! ( f.y.i. Standard 8 in South Africa is Grade 10).

So the sum total of that is I never got to study any of the subjects that were on the higher curriculum, one of which was Shakespeare! or the classics for that matter, not that it matters now, since I can read up on whatever I wish, coz thankfully I did learn to read!!!  and we have google!

So where am I going with this?  Well here’s the thing.  I learned about Shakespeare at some stage of my life (don’t we all?) and of course his sayings and quotes and stories are quite well known, aka Romeo and Juliet!  But more than that I did not know!  So when I came to the UK, it was quite a surprise to discover that this dude shared my birthday!!! and not only that, he also died on that date!! how weird is that?

William Shakespeare - born and died April 23rd

So, now of course when I celebrate my birthday I always think of ‘our Will’, and remember that he shares such an auspicious day with me!   Of course I have thoroughly enjoyed discovering all the places he hung out in London, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is one of my favourite sights in London (of which there are many).  My daughter and I have visited Stratford-Upon-Avon (his birthplace) and walked through the house where he was born (which was beyond awesome).

In London you are quite unable to miss the man, he is everywhere. I have seen him in so many places, that if you didn’t know who he was before, you would most assuredly get the message that this is one important dude!  So who is Shakespeare?  Here is a wee biography courtesy of wikipedia (of course).

William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564; died 23 April 1616) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist.
He is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon”.
Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon.  At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, later known as the King’s Men.

He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare’s private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his physical appearance, sexuality, religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others.
Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1589 and 1613.  His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the 16th century. He then wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest works in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights.

William Shakespeare was the son of John Shakespeare, a successful glover and alderman originally from Snitterfield, and Mary Arden, the daughter of an affluent landowning farmer.  He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon and baptised there on 26 April 1564. His actual birthdate remains unknown, but is traditionally observed on 23 April, St George’s Day. This date, which can be traced back to an 18th-century scholar’s mistake, has proved appealing to biographers, since Shakespeare died 23 April 1616. He was the third child of eight and the eldest surviving son.
Although no attendance records for the period survive, most biographers agree that Shakespeare probably was educated at the King’s New School in Stratford, a free school chartered in 1553, about a quarter-mile from his home. Grammar schools varied in quality during the Elizabethan era, but the curriculum was dictated by law throughout England, and the school would have provided an intensive education in Latin grammar and the classics.

And as if that is not enough!!!! I also discovered that I share a date with……….St George! He who slays dragons.  St George’s day is 23April!!   Which in a weird way is quite apt, since I have often been referred to as ‘a dragon’ and one of my very ex-boyfriends put up at sign at the entrance to my house in R.S.A. ‘Never mind the dog, beware the dragon’.  He didn’t last long! 🙂  The boyfriend that is, not the dragon!!

So what do we know about St George?  Well first of all he is the Patron Saint of England; of course!! heehee.   Secondly he is a Saint (I can’t lay claim to that title for sure), and like the bard, he is everywhere to be seen.

Saint George and the dragon

Saint George (ca. 275/281 – 23 April 303) was, according to tradition, a Roman soldier from Syria Palaestina and a priest in the Guard of Diocletian, who is venerated as a Christian martyr. In hagiography Saint George is one of the most venerated saints in the Catholic (Western and Eastern Rites), Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and the Oriental Orthodox churches. He is immortalized in the tale of Saint George and the Dragon and is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. His memorial is celebrated on 23 April, and he is regarded as one of the most prominent military saints.

Many Patronages of Saint George exist around the world, including: Aragon, Catalonia, England, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, India, Iraq, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, Serbia and Russia, as well as the cities of Genoa, Amersfoort, Beirut, Fakiha, Bteghrine, Cáceres, Ferrara, Freiburg, Kumanovo, Ljubljana, Pomorie, Preston, Qormi, Rio de Janeiro, Lod, Barcelona, Moscow, Tamworth and the Maltese island of Gozo, as well as a wide range of professions, organizations and disease sufferers.

The episode of St George and the Dragon was a legend brought back with the Crusaders and retold with the courtly appurtenances belonging to the genre of Romance. The earliest known depiction of the legend is from early eleventh-century Cappadocia, (in the iconography of the Eastern Orthodox Church, George had been depicted as a soldier since at least the seventh century); the earliest known surviving narrative text is an eleventh-century Georgian text.

In the General Calendar of the Roman Rite the feast of Saint George is on April 23.  St George is very much honored by the Eastern Orthodox Church, wherein he is referred to as a “Great Martyr”, and in Oriental Orthodoxy overall. His major feast day is on April 23 (Julian Calendar April 23 currently corresponds to Gregorian Calendar May 6) and that very coincidentally is the birth date of my youngest sister!

We, my daughter and I will be celebrating the day with a visit to Sweetie Pies Boutique Bakery in the morning and in the afternoon going on a walk……check it out!! heehee!!!

And, in order to celebrate not only my birthday, but Shakespeare’s too, as well as Saint George’s Day I have created a short video.  Hope you enjoy it 🙂

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sunset over the river Thames in Twickenham

Yesterday I returned to my job from a 1 week break, during which time I stayed with my wonderful daughter in Twickenham.
Although she was in fact working during this time we did manage to spend a fair amount of time together and had a few adventures.
One of which I already wrote about was our time together on Mother’s Day when we went to Kingston-Upon-Thames. Fab day.
Nights we had a lovely time, sitting together on the couch watching TV, eating biscuits & drinking tea, chatting after lights out till the wee hours, and in the mornings sitting out in the sun drinking tea and chatting.  The weather was fabulous for the whole week and we were treated to some gorgeous sunsets.

Tuesday I met up with a friend, someone I met via twitter, who runs a business in Richmond. Of course we went to Sweetie Pies for tea & cupcakes 🙂

sweetie pies boutique bakery in twickenham

tweetie pies - could you eat that cute little face

and later on CJ and I walked to Richmond and had a late breakfast at ‘Giraffe’ in Richmond, very nice food actually, good value and definitely a place to go back to. Whilst there we saw John Hannah walk past outside and the comedian Justin Lee Collins came in for lunch. CJ was quite chuffed.  It’s quite weird when you see TV personalities in real-life.  We get used to seeing them on the screen and they never seem real, so to see them live….is weird.  (& I am not really sure why).   On Wednesday CJ spent the day with her client Sweetie Pies (only our favourite place to visit in Twickenham) and I popped in late afternoon to partake of a cuppa and for a change instead of cupcakes, I had scones with strawberry jam and cream…..delicious! Afterwards we sat on the bench in the churchyard just enjoying the afternoon sun, then strolled along the banks of the Thames for a wee while, after which we stopped off at Pincho’s where she treated me to a mediterranean supper. Their food is just delicious and we shared pita and hoummus, she had the aubergine baked with cheese & tomato, and the spicy chicken kebabs and I had breaded prawns in a mild chilli sauce and butternut with black-eyed beans in a light curry sauce (heavenly).

view of the church from my vantage point on the bench

On Thursday I lazed around and did a bit of work (online), then we met up at the W.I. (Women’s Institute) in the evening. She joined the WI a few months ago and loves being the youngest of the group, and has been taken under the wing of one of the ladies there. The ladies of Twickenham WI get together once a month to gossip and listen to speakers, discuss whatever there is to gossip about in town, and generally have a good time. They organise scrabble evenings, trips to the theatre, trips to the countryside, fairs and of course they bake cakes and make jam ( 🙂 ) – I have yet to hear them sing!

Man fron the Ministry

On this particular evening they had a speaker on, a gentleman who in the 80’s worked for/with Maggie T. We learned some really interesting tidbits about the lady in question and about the goings on in Parliament. I am an admirer of Maggie T and was delighted to learn more about her. Unfortunately the speaker was well restrained and did not give us any salacious gossip to tattle about….darn!!! She was a formidable woman by any means and it would be great to have more like her in power. The Gentleman speaker cut a dashing figure in his suit and tie and even brought in a bowler hat, the type they used to wear in the 60’s and 70’s, a satchel and a brolly cum walking stick. I had to laugh at how precise he looked and how much of a caricature of the TV series ‘Yes Minister’ that was ever so popular in days gone by.  Then we had tea and a chat and a raffle. Heehee I won a book!

Friday brought a stroll into Richmond for an afternoon on the green, lying in the sun. Heavenly. It was the first day so far this summer I have worn a t-shirt and the sun felt so good on my skin.

Richmond Green

Then we did something I have been dying to do for ages and ages. We sat on the banks of the river and watched the tide come in. There is a concrete ledge, flush with the pathway that runs along the bank of the river from Twickenham Bridge through to Richmond Bridge on the Richmond side. When we first sat down CJ, took her shoes off and dangled her feet over the edge at which stage the water was about 4 inches below her feet. Within minutes the water was up to and touching her toes and then covering her feet. It was so weird sitting there watching the water level getting inexorably higher and higher. I also sat with my legs dangling over the edge but didn’t take my shoes off! Of course the water reached her feet long before it reached the soles of my shoes, but within a couple of minutes I had to lift my feet up onto the ledge.

watching the tide come in

The river in this area is quite busy with little boats whizzing up and down, scullers rowing by – the lazy slap of their oars as they hit the water bouncing off the wall of the bridge like a gunshot. The water is inhabited by numerous geese, ducks and some swans. We were highly entertained by the wee creatures, sailing, flapping, flying and fighting on the water…..at one stage about 3 of them became quite violent right in front of us!! Chasing after a poor wee female that ducked under the water to escape their attentions, never to be seen again. The sun was sinking towards the horizon, and along the path cyclists, strollers, joggers and couples meandered by. On the bridge the trains regularly rattled by, causing quite a din as they traversed the steel girders.

on the river

Whilst I was sitting on the edge, enjoying the sun’s rays, a boat went by and caused quite a wake that by the time it reached the ledge, had quite a swell. It narrowly missed slopping over the edge and I escaped getting wet. A wee bit later another boat went by and as I kept a wary eye on the size of the swells, I decided discretion was the better part of sensibility and scrambled to my feet (it’s amazing how quickly I can move when I have an incentive). Just in time too as next thing a wave, just and inch or so high swamped the area where I had been sitting just a moment before. CJ was in stitches and very disappointed that I had moved when I did. The evil brat was keen for me to get soaked. 🙂

hhhmmmmm....look at that smile. Quite keen for me to get wet!!

After that and since I was now on my feet we meandered along the path towards Twickenham Bridge enroute home. Along the way I stopped off to film the water rushing into the little stream that runs between the walkway and the green. Although just a little sluice gate the water was pounding through, rushing and swirling creating an enormous noise, a little like being on a rapid over a waterfall. Marvellous. This daily rush of water keeps the stream filled and running, thus keeping it from becoming stagnant.

the noise was unbelievable

On the way home we stopped off on the bridge over the river to watch the sun sink behind the trees and a few planes flying into Heathrow.

You would be amazed at how many planes fly overhead, every couple of minutes (or 90seconds I believe).

plane flying into Heathrow

In all a wonderful week with my chica. Just very sad to say goodbye as it is usually ages before we meet again and now that her business is taking off big time she is working all hours. On the way to the bus stop we passed one of the iconic red postboxes and noticed this:

don't worry; be happy!

I think the Royal Mail people should stick little eyes on ALL their post boxes, imagine how cheered up we would feel each time we posted a letter. And if you were wondering what I got up to on Monday….I have no idea. Cannot for the life of me recall what we/I did!!

I am now back at my job and it is becoming more difficult to stay on. After my week’s freedom I feel quite caged in now. It’s really annoying in a way, you plan for the time off months in advance, it takes ages to arrive and then in a flash the week is gone! Time to start planning the next break 🙂

appendage:

Richmond is such a lovely area with some gorgeous houses lining the side streets. Spring is sprouting all over with a profusion of colours; the daffodils are mostly gone now but tulips and poppies are taking their place. The grass and trees are incredibly green and along the walls wisteria is beginning to bloom, their lilac and purple blossoms against the white of the houses, remnicient of a mediterranean climate. Having the river flow through the towns is magical and I never tire of strolling along the banks or looking out over the swell of water from the top of the bridges, in themselves very pretty. Quite the loveliest areas and I am really keen to actually live out there now. I have been playing with my photos again and made another video. In time I hope to make them a bit quicker….. 🙂

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My daughter recently moved to Twickenham, and after hearing her raving about the place and following her comment that she was never moving back to London, I had to go visit and find out why!
Twickenham is located on the River Thames between Richmond and Teddington; an ancient borough with a fascinating history dating back hundreds of years.  The earliest written evidence for a settlement is a grant of 704AD, mentioning “Tuican hom”.  By the time of the Norman Conquest it was part of the Manor of Isleworth.  By the 18th century it had become the ‘classic village’ and was described as having an “abundance of curious seats”, as it attracted poets, painters and writers including Sir Godfrey Kneller, The Court Painter in 1709, Alexander Pope in 1719, Mary Wortley Montagu in 1720, Horace Walpole in 1747 and painters Samuel Scott and Thomas Hudson in 1749 and 1756.  various members of the French Royal Family, in exile, spent time here in the 1800s.
I arrived via bus from Richmond and enjoyed the quaint houses and churches along the route. The  high street of Twickenham – King Street – is nothing to write home about….it’s lined with the usual array of stores and charity shops, Starbucks, banks, pubs and what-not!

an aerial sketch of Twickenham and the area we explored

Just off this main thoroughfare is where you will find the character that lies behind this town.  Church Street; a stroll along this delightful street will leave you enchanted with it’s character and quaint albeit modern shops.  A book shop,

a few restaurants and an ancient pub or two line the street on both sides as well as a number of other little shops and stores. Church Street has always been at the heart of Twickenham village, dating to back to when the parish was largely a farming community using the river for transport of goods and people.
Sweetshops, tandoori, bookshops,

Langton Books - 44 Church Street, Twickenham

 a pub and a gorgeous tea-room are a must-see.

Passing a store named Sweet Memories we stepped inside and indeed it was sweet memories….jars and jars of sweets that reminded me of the sweet shops we used to inhabit as children back in the 60’s. A delightful lass who goes by the name of Carla charmed us with her cheery greeting and sunny smile.  Sweet heaven all round.

Sweet Memories of Church Street Twickenham

Further along is the aptly named Sweetie Pies Boutique Bakery….

Sweetie Pies Boutique Bakery - 13 Church Street Twickenham

walking through the door your nostrils are assailed with the delicious aroma of cake and icing….eyes widening with delight as you first see the gorgoeus little cakes on display; decorated with swirls of butter icing and topped with icing roses, ice-cream cones, ducks, stars, hearts, 100’s and 1,000’s, in an array of pastel colours designed to tempt the tastebuds and makes it hard to refuse, never mind decide which to choose.

cupcakes at Sweetie Pies Boutique Bakery

A short walk takes you past The Fox Pub,

The Fox Pub - oldest pub in Twickenham - Church Street

 probably the oldest pub in Twickenham, steeped in local history and first mentioned in the Sion Manor Court Books dated October 1700, by it’s previous name The Bell. It changed it’s name to The Fox around 1749.  At one time time there were at least 4 other pubs in Church street none of which remain, besides The Eel Pie Pub est 1777.
At the far end of Church Street is a little piazza, with a number of shops, none of which I really registered, coz I was so enchanted by the story board and a giant sized chess board! What fun 🙂

a summer piazza on Church Lane

chess set

Across the road from Church Street is of course the church!  St Mary’s, not one of the most beautiful or even quaint looking churches I have ever seen, but pleasant to the eye none-the-less.   The churchyard was sadly quite bare with most of the graves probably dug up in years gone by and the headstones that line the perimeter walls the only reminder of the folks buried there (or not).
Traipsing down Church Lane we passed Flood Lane,

Flood Lane

so named coz when the Thames floods the waters rise that high.  A plaque on the church wall reads : March 12th 1774 the water came rising up to this mark. The mark was a good 8foot from the road level.  The house on the corner had a flood board across the front door.
A couple of steps further (not far at all) is the River Thames, she of might and wonder.  A colourful boat named ‘Rastamedeus’ was moored in the berth, stranded by the tide now out.

Rastamadeus

I walked out as far as I could to take some photos of the river on both sides from a different angle (just because I could).  Retracing our steps we climbed a short flight of steps onto the start of Champion’s Wharf where we saw a couple of very interesting sculptures, one of which looked like a bed of square mushrooms. Very bizarre.

psychedelic mushrooms -sculpture on Champions Wharf

Strolling along the Thames path we ventured into York Gardens to behold the magnificent, marvellous, wonderful fountain adorned with a group of Italian marble statues representing the “Oceanides”.  What an enchanting sight. 

The Oceanides - fabulous statues in the York House Gardens

 A cluster of naked nymphs, either sitting on rocks or attemptimg to climb them, all gazing up at the beautiful venus that rides standing up and naked on the backs of two rearing, winged sea-horses.  There is quite a story behind these beautiful creatures and they were very nearly destroyed at one stage of their lives; thankfully for us….they were not!  There is some uncertainty as to who was the sculptor.
The gardens are beautiful; filled with roses and a fountain or two, and what were lovely green lawns a week ago, now browned in the searing heat of the last few days.
A flight of marble, balastraded steps take you to the top of a bridge that crosses the road below and into the gardens of York House.  A sight to behold.

York House

Imposing and enormous it sits majestically overlooking the lawns below.  York House was named after the Yorke family who owned the land from 1381 – 1539. The present house was built in 1637 and it’s first owner Andrew Pitcarne, later  followed by The Earl of Manchester, Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, Sir Alexander Johnson, Anne Seymour Damer, Archbishop Cleaver, the Comte de Paris, the Duc de’Orleans and lastly Sir Ratan Tata.  It became a Town Hall when Twickenham became a Borough in 1926.  The Orleans princes left their mark with the fleur-de-lys on the stonework and rainpipes.
Continuing our walk was strolled along the Thames path, the river, calm and mighty, moving inexorably to the sea, just beyond the balstrades.

The River Thames

Lining the path are a number of wooden benches, some of which bore memorial plaques to people now residing in a place we cannot see:  Simeon Randall, Pauline Anne Hope and a wee lass of just nine years old. I love that people put up these benches in memory of loved ones, and it is my desire to have one too.  Problem is that I have so many favourite places I would not know where to be!  Maybe in all of them. 🙂  I need to set up a ‘bench’ fund.

If I don't see you no more in this world......

Continuing our stroll we passed beneath the wides and shady branches of a beautiful beech tree: York House cut-leaf beech, one of London’s great trees.  Across the way we could see the boat-yards of Eel Pie Island, still to be explored. Turning back at this point we once again passed the fountain for a 2nd look, as beautiful then as before.  A heron sat still as one of the statues, peering intently at the pond waters, looking for tea I am guessing; sensible bird 🙂

heron fishing for tea 🙂

Thence we made our way to the Sweetie Pies shop for tea and cupcakes; of course.
The shop is a delight, the proprietor a young lass as sweet as her fare.  We dithered over which to choose and for me the Black Forest cake with cherries on top, a creation with tightly budded roses and a wee hedgehog won the day. 

could you eat a face like that?

 My daughter chose one with ice-cream cones and another with a sprinkling of coloured stars. 

Sweetie Pies cupcakes

 That and a couple of pots of tea served on fine china with china tea-cups made us feel very posh.  The interior of the shop is tiny and cosy; the ‘Powder Room’ boasting a loo so small I asked they were expecting Snow-White and the 7 Dwarfs!?
Replete, our taste-buds satified we meandered on down towards the river-front once again and so on towards Eel Pie Island, passing the Barmy Arms pub, with a great view from the patio. 

The Barmy Arms Pub

 On the way I noticed a story-board with snippets of island history.  Once upon a time there was a great hotel that hosted the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Who, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Rod Stewart and David Bowie amongst others.

The Rolling Stones at Eel Pie Island

The South of England’s answer to Merseybeat.  The hotel met it’s demise in 1971 after a fire hastened it’s demise; now a housing estate – Aquarius.
Stepping by an armada of ducks and swans that thought I was there to feed them we marched onto Eel Pie Island via the narrow pedestrian walkway.  How thrilling to visit an island in the middle of the Thames!

crossing The Thames to Eel Pie Island 🙂

Eel Pie Island, also know as ‘Twickeham Ait’, it appears on Moses Glover’s map of 1635. Cropping of withies to make baskets for the trapping of eels continued until the 19th century.  By 1737 there was an inn called ‘The Ship’ later ‘The White Cross’.  In 1830, a new hostelry was built was built and the island became a resort for summer visitors. 
And what visit it turned out to be.  The island may be in the 21st century, but life on the island has remained entrenched in the 1960’s. 

The Loveshack - just gorgeous

The houses are tiny, cute and quaint (those that we could see), and at the far end via the boat-yard is an artist’s enclave that is seriously straight out of  the Woodstock era.

the artist's enclave

Ramshackle would best describe the air of fading history.  The enclave is a higgedly-piggedly mix of wooden and tins shacks, mostly in a state of external disrepair and look like they’re on the point of falling down.  The cyclists club boast a marvellous mix of old metal painted sign-boards recalling products of a bygone era.

relics of a byegone age - HMV metal sign

 ‘Punch’ ; ‘Lion’ ; HMV and others.  Scattered about as if tossed aside by a giant hand grown tired of it’s toys, now rusting and overgrown with weeds and wild plants, lie a variety of old machinery the likes of which you seldom see these days. Relics!

a giant's toys discarded and forgotten

Further along and illegally gained via a gated entrance (I don’t care for barriers) we entered what appeared to be a cluster of offices, a modern structure in a vintage setting.  If you were wonering what happened to Tweety Bird, well, he is held captive in the jaws of the monster, a now abandonded building crane.  Poor birdy. 

if you ever wondered what happened to Tweety Bird......

 Wonder if the same will happen to Twitter?!
We strolled about the enclave, amazed that people could actually reside amongst this conglomeration of chaos; a delight of everything and nothing….one such ramshackle structure asks ‘anyone for Pimms’. 

anyone for Pimm's?

I could probably pitch a tent in the wee forest we chanced upon at the far end of all this and live happily (albeit uncomfortably) and no-one would even notice.  I noticed a hanging cage that houed a skeleton and wondered if that was the remains of Hansel or maybe Gretel :). 

don't overstay your welcome......

The place is littered with junk and bits and bobs, a veritable hoard of what I guess an artist would call ‘useful’ stuff.  Flowers abound and a nasturtium in full bright orange glory dominates the scene lending some colour to what is despite all the ‘stuff’ quite a dull bleached area. 

a bright orange splash of colour

Making our way back off the island we headed off to The White Swan for lunch. Along the way we passed under the bridge that leads to York House and walked passed ‘Dial House’, home to a magnificent sundial mounted above the front door; gorgeous.  Dial House was owned by various members of the ‘Twining’ family till the death of Elizabeth Twining on Christmas day 1889. (

on Riverside at Twickenham takes its name from the painted sundial in the centre of the front of the house.

This type of sundial is known as a vertical dial and the enthusiast would describe it as a vertical, declining dial because it does not face due south. Such dials are said to be declining so many degrees east or west of south, so that the gnomon, the rod that casts the shadow of the sun, is angled to one side or the other of the vertical centre line. For the same reason, the hour markers are not quite symmetrical, starting in this case, after 6 o’clock in the morning and ending at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. The perfect south-facing dial would start at exactly 6am and end at 6pm.)

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