Friday, June 24, 2011

A Taste of Home?

I've heard of Texas BBQ, Southern Fried Chicken and all sorts of other combinations. Not this one. Funny to see it on a London Street!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Windsor Castle

I finally went on the Windsor castle tour. As a resident, I get in for free. :o)

The flag was flying away from us, but if you could see it, you would know that the queen is in residence. When she is in, they fly the Royal Standard. When she is away, they fly the Union Jack. It's always nice to know when Her Majesty might pop down to the local pub.

 Thought the windows for the archers was rather cool.

 Not the best photo but the stonework above is St. George slaying the dragon. This is just above one of the entrances to the castles outer ring.

 The inner moat. Absolutely beautiful as a garden now. The tower is to the right and the interesting bit about this part is that the tower has it's own well. Apparently, when the invading armies used to lay siege to a castle, the biggest concern was cutting off food and water supplies. Therefore, build yourself a moat and your own well.

 Not the best picture of St. George's Chapel. It is open to the public for Sunday service where you can go to mass and walk over the grave of many kings.

 Another view of the lower ward's moat. This time with a happy little fountain.

 When the queen is in residence, the guards are marching about at different posts. Here are a few of the beefeaters head off to relieve their mates.

 Across the courtyard, a lone guard patrolling the grounds. I wonder if they ever turn the lawn into a putting green?

 One of the internal courtyards / avenues. I love this view, not exactly something you would see on Main St U.S.A.

 Even old buildings have some modern security. I like the thousand year old stone next to the key pad and security camera.

 Where I grew up, our mail boxes (post boxes) for each house are located at the end of the driveway. The post man gets to stay in their car and deliver the mail without having to walk about or get wet. The downside is that my father has probably had to replace the mail box about 10 times as it has been run over by cars or vandals. Ever see the movie Stand By Me with mail box baseball? Think something like that. Therefore - I liked this picture of the post box built into the castle wall. I'm pretty sure no one will be stealing that one.

Lastly, another view of the internal moat in the lower ward. You can see how the castle is built into the hillside. Too bad I didn't get a photo of the view from the top as you can see the castle has a great view of the surrounding areas (you can see other shots of the castle from photos of the great park). By the way, I just got a new camera for my birthday so look for some better photos and perhaps a redesign of the blog. After three years, I think it is time for a little freshen up, don't you?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Talkin' Bout the Weather

It is amazing how often we talk about the weather in England. Probably, because it is so crazy. Here it is in June where last Saturday was hot - so much you needed sandals and the air conditioning in your car, whereas last night was freezing - I was wearing a turtleneck and fleece and couldn't stop shivering. all the same, the weatherman is surprisingly spot on here. When he calls for rain, it rains. So the good news is you do know when to pack your umbrella.

 I had a meeting downtown the other day and the meeting venue had a great view of Tower Bridge. The office was situated next to the old Billingsgate Fish market. You can read more about it by clicking on the link, but established in the 16th century, it is one of the largest fish markets in the world. I really liked the giant fish that adorned the old building.

 Even better, you've got the fish weather vane. Probably used to know how to stand down wind of the smelly fish.

 Another weather indicator on the Isle of Wight. This fountain sits on the sea front (where we stopped for fish and chips).

Here it is the sailors that point the way. Whether it used to point the direction of the wind or whether it is for direction, it's a cool monument and testament to the weather. --- and by the way, the sun is shining today. Whoohoo!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Road Trip

So I got the car checked out by the Volvo dealer and I was ready to hit the road.

 I had a race in the Cotswolds so got together with some other ladies from the tri club and we headed out on the road.

The new car and bike rack work great!

Is it strange that the value of bicycles on the car exceeds the actual value of the car? Next up, a road trip where I don't take my bicycle. Well, maybe not next. But soon.. I'm actually planning some tourist stuff for a change.

Friday, June 3, 2011

We Haven't Been Deported Yet

Good news, I'm another year older and Tucker and I are celebrating our third year in the UK. We haven't been deported yet. The travel plans have been a bit sparse this year but I'll be changing that soon. I've now figured out the new job, new house, new car and new commute. Time to find some new places, right? Who would have thought that last year I was in Austria at this time and the year before Switzerland? Admittedly, I'm enjoying being at home for a change. So, it's good news that I have a plane ticket to Portugal and a Eurotunnel reservation to go to France. Soon to be on the road again!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New Forest

Somehow, I failed in this post. We did a cycle and a drive through the New Forest at the end of the weekend and somehow, I only ended up with these photos. I promise a return trip and better pictures.

 On the Sunday after our Isle of Wight trip, Barry took us for a cycle through the New Forest. It was supposed to be a recovery ride, but somehow we were careening along so fast I didn't have much chance to look around. Quite a shame as the New Forest is a lovely area. For my U.S. readers, the New Forest is famous for it's roving animals. Mostly ponies and donkeys who graze about and are not restricted by any fences. Here you can see just to the right and ahead of Paul, a horse having his breakfast. Needless to say, I was quite nervous he was going to decide to walk in the road while I was flying by.

 And on the left.... a pony.  Look kids... Big Ben... or a pony......

 Seriously - that is the end of my forest photos. Ridiculous. Any way, on a small hike out from Barry and Julie's we passed this cool brick house with a thatched roof. I thought you might like to see it's not just for hobbits but for real sized people too.

 More ponies just hanging out. Julie says they sometimes put tinsel around their neck at Christmas.

 No pony this time but something you'd find in Texas. Behind a fence. A really big fence. Not sure this guy liked me taking his picture.

 This guy definitely didn't like me taking his picture and decided to trot off. I had to walk quickly to keep up with him! The nerve.

I had to include a picture of one of my favorite creatures - Hammy. Resident rabbit for Barry and Julie. Tucker wasn't allowed to come visit because of his propensity to want to eat him.

Lastly, (I know this post is totally lame - please google the New Forest and enjoy!), we ended the cycling weekend with a great barbeque. Here, the table is laid out getting ready for the feast.

Barry manned the 'meat' grill.

 While Darran snuck up on the 'veggie' grill.

A fabulous feast all around and Beth, me, John and Julie are all smiles. Big thanks to Julie for feeding 9 adults all weekend. Not just regular adults, but triathletes. Well, let's be honest. It wasn't the food consumption but the beer and wine consumption that might have been hit the hardest. Actually, I'm kidding. Julie did an amazing job keeping us happy and fed.

The other side of the table. Why aren't they as happy as my side of the table? !?!?

Lastly, on the way out, I couldn't resist. The cows made a move and were now hanging out on the neighbors lawn. And that's how they roll in the New Forest.....