Archive for September, 2009

Maidenhead/Adventuring Day 16

Day 16 Maidenhead/Adventuring                   Overcast and cool

When we woke up this morning and looked out at our beautiful view, we discovered that someone had pulled the plug!  Yes, the River Looe is tidal and as they have a large difference in tide heights and the tide was out, this meant that the boats that were moored in the river were literally high and dry.

We had a lovely breakfast at Trehaven Manor and had a nice chat with a couple from Devon – we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Trehaven!

We had a busier day than we intended today as everything took longer to look at than we had allowed!

Our first stop was at Polperro, an old fishing village, not far from Looe.  We parked at the visitor’s car park and walked down into the town, which has very narrow, windy streets, with nowhere to park.  We found the harbour and were amused to discover that, of course, the tide was out here as well, and so there were a few fishermen hanging around waiting to take their boats out. We found a path and some steps that took us up to the top of the cliffs, where we had a spectacular view of the village and the rugged coastline.

From there, Sean led us up the garden path…. well, some of the roads he took us on to get to the Eden Project, were not much wider than a garden path – certainly no wider than the little merc, with hedges rising well above our roofline on both sides of the road.  On several occasions, we had to reverse to a slightly wider spot for the other person to squeeze past – not a lot of fun.

When we finally arrived at the Eden Project we were very impressed.  Sandy wants to bundle up all the ideas and take them home to her school, Bulimba State School, and in particular, the principal, Michael Zeuschner, as they are very involved in sustainable practices.

The Eden Project is hard to describe in just a few words, but basically it was built on an abandoned clay pit, some 13 hectares, was transformed into a series of huge gardens.  Domes, like giant green house bubbles, were constructed to emulate the climates of specific regions eg there is one that reproduces the climate for Rainforest Plants and another for the climate of the Mediterranean area.

The size of the spheres, or as they call them, Biomes, has to be seen to be appreciated.  The Rainforest Biome is larger that the entire Tower of London complex.  The Biomes and the external gardens have 2665 different species of plants. 

The Eden Project has been designed to provide educational and research facilities, while also providing a high level of interest for people like us to come and enjoy/learn.

We had lunch at the Eden Project – a Cornish Pastie, of course, before we headed to our next adventure for the day, after spending too long, but not long enough at the Eden Project.

After that, we continued south west, with the narrow roads dropping us back to the coast at lovely little fishing villages such as Mevagissey and Gorran Haven.

We made our way to the Lizard Peninsula, which is the true most southern point of Britain, has historically been a very treacherous coastline, but today, it was very calm.  We parked the car and walked for 15 minutes down to the point, which involved more steps cut into the cliff face, for some spectacular scenery and lots of photos.

From there we headed off to see St Michael’s Mount, which is a castle that was built on an island, which is only accessible from the mainland when the tide is out, or of course, you can catch a ferry across.

Next stop, Penzance, briefly!  By this stage, it was getting late and we decided to just have a quick look at Penzance and continue on to Land’s End, where we were staying for the night.

We headed west along the coast towards Land’s End and came across a quaint little town called Mousehole (pronounced Mou-zle), but the roads were becoming increasingly narrower and winding down through villages, with barely enough room for the car to fit, so we opted to turn around, when we were able, and headed back to through Penzance to the more common route.

We booked in to the Land’s End Hotel, which is right on the edge of the cliff, and went for a walk and took some photos before dark.

Land’s End is said to be the most westerly point of England and also supposedly the furthest point south.

So now, we have been from John O’Groats in Scotland, the most northerly part of Britain to Lands End.

We had dinner in the hotel restaurant overlooking the point and what could have been a magnificent sunset, if it hadn’t been overcast.

So, as you can read, we had a very full and enjoyable day!

Maidenhead/Adventuring Day 15

Day 15 Maidenhead/Adventuring                   Overcast and cool

It was lovely to welcome Adrian home from Australia early this morning! 

We left Maidenhead at about 7.45am armed with Sean, Janet and Adrian’s trusty GPS and headed west on the Motorway (M4) until we got to the outskirts of Bristol and then Sean sent us South West on the M5 to Exeter.  The driving was very easy, with cruise control set, puddling along the motorway at about 70miles per hour (approx 123kph) along mainly flat country with the occasional hill.

We dropped off some parcels to Emily, who is Janet’s friends, Hilary & Andy’s daughter – she has moved down there for Uni.  When we arrive at approx 10.30, Emily invited us in for morning tea – she had made some lovely little cakes! We stayed for a little while and had a chat to her and her flatmates.

Before leaving Exeter, we went for a drive through the city and had a quick look at the Cathedral.

We continued south west through the Dartmoor National Park to Plymouth, where Sir Francis Drake set sail for his around the world voyage in 1577.    Sir Francis was also the mayor of Plymouth at one stage.  Plymouth was also known for the departure point for the Mayflower and Pilgrim Fathers in 1620, as they set sail for
“The New World” (America).

Further explorations that left from Plymouth included three of Captain James Cook’s voyages to the South Pacific.

The original town of Plymouth grew up on the shores of Sutton Pool, a naturally sheltered harbour.

We wandered around the harbour and over a series of swing bridges that allow access to deep moorings and found a “museum” called the Plymouth Mayflower Exhibition, so we decided to go in.  We were a bit disappointed with the exhibition, because it really was three floors with one room each floor, with basic information, largely in pictorial form, with some seaside sounds coming out of some speakers.  They didn’t have a replica of the Mayflower, which we were expecting to see – unless you can call the one that was about 12 inches long, a reasonable replica.

However, the rest of our time in Plymouth was fantastic.  We walked up through the Barbican Maritime Village to the top of the hill, in front of the Royal Citadel, overlooking the Plymouth Sound.  We watched as two of Her Majesty’s battleships “put to sea”.

We continued our journey into Cornwall to Looe, where we will spend the night at Trehaven Manor Hotel, which is perched on a hill overlooking the river, the seven arched Victorian bridge and the boat harbour.  We have a magnificent room, which is huge and even the toilet has a spectacular view.  Our hosts, Ella and Neil are delightful and have gone out of their way to ensure that we have everything we need.

After setting in, we went for a walk – climbed down many steps to roadway – and walked along the river to the village, where we wandered through the narrow streets, looking at the shops, restaurants and pubs.  We found ourselves at the beachfront overlooking the entrance to the river and boat harbour.  We wandered around the seashore for awhile and then went off to find somewhere to have an early tea.

Looe reminds us a little of Whitby, as most of the houses/buildings are built into the side of the hills on either side of the river, with just the town centre nestling on flat ground between the river and the beach.

Our first day of adventuring into Devon and Cornwall has been superb.

Maidenhead/Adventuring Day 13 and 14

Day 13 and 14        Maidenhead/Adventuring          Blue Skies/ warmish

On Saturday morning, we picked up our rental car from National/Europcar, in Slough (some 20 minutes from here) as they are not open on Sundays and we would like to make an early start on Monday morning.  They tried to give us a free upgrade, but we really need to have the small car so that it will fit on the narrow roads and streets in the South West of England.  So, we have an A class Mercedes (photos later).

At 5.00pm, the two of us plus Janet, caught the train in to meet Adrian’s aunt, Jacinta, for dinner.  She has been working in Manchester and arrived in London to do some work for a few days.

We caught our usual train, but instead of going all the way to Paddington, we got off one stop earlier, Ealing Broadway, and changed to the District Line, where we went a few stops to Turnham Green, which is where Jacinta is staying.

We all went for a stroll through the area/town, found a nice little place to have a drink before dinner and to chat while watching the world go by.

It was difficult to find a pub to have dinner in as there was a huge football match on and the pubs were overrun with boisterous people watching the “tellies”.

So, we went for a walk and found a nice “Giraffe” place and had dinner there.

After dinner, we walked back to the station as Jacinta’s hotel was just around the corner and up the street.

We thoroughly enjoyed catching up with Jacinta, hearing what she is up to work-wise and also hearing some stories about Adrian’s sister, Lisa’s wedding, as well as being able to tell her some of our stories too!

The three of us caught the District train to Ealing Broadway and then after a bit of a wait, as there was some signalling problem on the line, we caught the train back to Maidenhead, then a short walk and we were home after spending a very pleasant evening together.

On Sunday, after a “slow start”, Janet took us exploring.  She and Adrian have a book about walks in the Berkshire and Buckinhamshire district, so she suggested that she would take us on one of them.  So, off we went!

We did “The Meandering Thames at Marlow” walk – 4 miles (6.4km), a suggested time of 1hr 30min, with a level of difficulty well within our reach!

We walked down country lanes and at the edge of farmland – here in England, even although it is your property, the powers-that-be are allowed to put a path at the edge of it for public use.

We saw some squirrels playing and then hiding from us in trees when we wanted to take their photo, and we also saw sheep and cattle grazing.

The track, through lovely bushland with trees starting to turn into their winter colours, brought us out at the Thames River at Temple Lock, which was very picturesque on such a beautiful sunny day.

We walked along the riverbank on “The Thames Path”, and saw lots of activity on the river – people rowing, some having a champagne and seafood lunch while puddling down the river, and lots of pleasure craft heading off to unknown destinations!  As well as people, we saw lots of swans and ducks on the river.

On the opposite bank we saw the Bisham Abbey, where Queen Victoria is said to have called whilst out driving in her carriage.

We also saw Marlow’s Parish Church and the Marlow suspension bridge with All Saints in the background.  The bridge, which was completed in 1832, was designed by William Tierney Clark, who was inspired by similar bridges he had seen at London Hammersmith and at Budapest – how fitting that we are heading to Budapest next Saturday!!

We walked through a lovely park, with families gathered to watch children play, had an ice cream and walked along the High Street back to the car.

We had a late lunch – meatballs (very nice) – and will soon be getting ready to go to church with Janet, who is singing again!!

Then it will be time to come home and get organised for our adventure to Cornwall tomorrow.

Maidenhead/Adventuring Day 12

Day 12         Maidenhead/Adventuring          Mainly blue skies/warmish

Today was another early start and we did another 3 train shuffle – Maidenhead to Paddington, Paddington to Victoria Station on the tube and then the overland fast train to Dover.

When we arrived at Dover, we went for a walk through the town and found a little café to have morning tea/early lunch before heading down to the waterfront.

The original harbour was developed by Henry VIII in the early 1500s and completed by Elizabeth I in 1595.  The entire Dover Bay was enclosed in 1903 as a home for the Navy Channel Fleet.  The walled harbour has three main shipping entrances – one for the ferries, one for the fishing boats and private boats, and one for the cruise ships.

We went for a 40 minute trip around the harbour on a small, old boat, The Southern Queen, to view the White Cliffs of Dover from the sea.  We were expecting to go up the coast a little, but unfortunately, the boat didn’t leave the harbour.  However, we did have a good view of some of the cliffs and heard a commentary of some of the history relating to Dover and the part it played in the First and Second World Wars.

The cliff face, which reaches up to 350 feet high, owes its striking façade to its composition of chalk (pure white calcium carbonate) accentuated by streaks of black flint.  On a clear day, the White Cliffs are visible from the coastline of France.

In the Cliffs, there is a labyrinth of tunnels where wartime personnel worked, slept and planned some of the major strategies of Word War II.  From here, Vice-Admiral Ramsay masterminded the evacuation of British and allied troops from Dunkirk.

From the harbour, and most of the places in the town, we were able to see Dover Castle, perched high on the cliff tops.  The Castle was built about 8 centuries ago and survived the wartime bombings because Hitler had ordered that it not be bombed as it was to be one of his residences after Germany took control of Britain!

When we returned to the harbour we were taken by car on a tour of Dover, which included spectacular views over the busy Harbour, the wartime gun emplacement, the town, market square and the opportunity to go for a walk along the tops of the White Cliffs, which was fantastic.  We would have like to spend longer there and go right along to the lighthouse, but our time was limited.

Of all the sightseeing tours we have been on over the past 9 weeks, the Dover White Cliffs Tours would have to be the most disappointing and unprofessional.

Before leaving Dover, we decided that it would be great if we could go over to Folkestone to see the channel tunnel site, so we asked a local taxi driver if he could take us.  He gave us a running commentary about Dover’s history and he found a great vantage point to look down on the impressive channel tunnel loading operation, where cars, trucks and buses are loaded onto trains for the tunnel crossing under the channel to France – it was huge!

On the way back to Dover, our driver called in at Capel to show us the Battle of Britain war memorial, which consisted of a giant propeller laid out in a field (so that it can be seen from the air), a memorial to the air force personnel and Spitfire and Hurricane fighters.

We were very impressed with our taxi driver, who then dropped us back at the station in time to catch our train back to Maidenhead, via Victoria Station and Paddington, after spending a lovely day in Dover.

Janet & Adrian’s friends, Hilary and Andy called in with a few things for us to drop off to their daughter Emily, at Exeter on our way to Cornwall on Monday.

Janet took us out to a lovely English Pub for dinner and a catch up on her day at school and our adventure.

Maidenhead/Adventuring Day 11

Day 11          Maidenhead/Adventuring          Mainly blue skies/warmish

 An early start today!!  Warwick Castle was on the agenda, which was further away than usual.

We caught the train from Maidenhead to Reading, changed to a fast train to Leamington Spa, via Oxford and then on to Warwick, where we had a short 15 minute walk to the castle – two and a half hours altogether.  I’m sure we have said it before, but the public transport system over here is brilliant!

The castle was built from fortified stone in 1260. The bloody history is steeped in treachery, murder, mystery and intrigue.  The castle survived siege warfare and its history is steeped in stories of the Age of Medieval Knights and Chivalry and tales of surviving the English Civil War.

In 1978 the Earl of Warwick’s son, David, sold the Castle to the company which owns Madame Tussaud’s in London, who carried out extensive restorations and opened it to the public as a “Castle of Living History”.

Throughout the castle, we saw wax figures dressed in period clothing and portraying the roles they would have had at that point in time.  There were also people, dressed in medieval clothing, demonstrating and talking about some of the common activities that would have taken place within the castle walls, eg we saw an archer practising and talking about the skills required. We also watched a demonstration of the world’s largest Trebuchet (catapult) hurling a very large rock across an open paddock.  The Trebuchet stands 18 metres tall and weighs 22  tonnes.  It hurls the rock 25 metres into the air for up to 300 metres.

We were interested in the live birds of prey they had on display and the falconer’s stories.  We saw a Golden Eagle, a Harris Hawk, a Lanner Falcon, a White-tailed Sea Eagle and a Peregrine Falcon

We climbed into the towers, (yes up spiral, stone staircases, again!) and walked along the parapets – a total of over 500 stairs.

We visited the Chapel, the Great Hall and the Georgian State Rooms as well as the bedrooms, drawing rooms, the library, the boudoirs and the dining rooms.  The rooms were furnished and had wax figures depicting the scene.

We also visited the Mill and Engine House to see how the castle is powered and how the mill wheel drove the mechanisms and gearing for the mill and its power generation. 

The Castle is partly surrounded by green fields, beautiful gardens and the River Avon forms part of its protective moat.

After spending a lovely day at the castle and a short walk through the town centre and three trains later, we arrived back at Maidenhead at about 4 o’clock.

Maidenhead/Adventuring Day 9 & 10

Day 9           Maidenhead/Adventuring                    Overcast and cool

 Today was a relaxing/not doing anything too much day!  We walked down to Maidenhead town to the library, which doubles as the Tourist Information, to see what there is to do in and around Maidenhead and to collect information for our planned trip to Cornwall early next week.

We also took the opportunity to wander around the shops and then came back to Janet & Adrian’s flat for lunch and a quiet afternoon.

We spent a lovely, but quiet evening with Janet – she did some marking; Sandy was on the internet planning our itinerary for upcoming adventures; and Richard was listening to a book on his iPod, which he constantly tells me is one of the best presents he ever got!

He is successfully able to access the internet on his iPod and has downloaded some podcasts, as well as keeping us up to date with the weather forecasts for the places we are planning on visiting.

 Day 10         Maidenhead/Adventuring                    Overcast and cool

 From our information we picked up yesterday, we decided to go on a short boat trip down the Thames River today.  We walked through the town, to The Promenade, by the Thames River and boarded the Windsor Sovereign for a lovely hour and a half leisurely trip to Windsor.

We passed through two lock systems, which are quite incredible.  In our case when the boat passed through the first gate, it was closed, then the water in the lock was lowered to the same level as the river on the downstream side of the lock, the gate in front of the boat was then opened and it continued its journey. 

There are over 40 locks on the River Thames and today we passed through Bray Lock and Boveney Lock.

The other interesting thing about our boat journey was that there were 49 people on the boat and Sandy was clearly the youngest!!!  There were two groups of elderly people, obviously out on an organised excursion – they were having a ball.

Our trip took us past some of the exclusive homes in Bray that we had seen from our River walk with Janet when we first arrived for our holiday. 

The boat captain pointed out homes belonging to Diana Doors, Rolf Harris, Michael Parkinson, Roger Moore and other celebrities.

We also passed the Windsor Racetrack and some of the playing fields of Eton College on our way to Windsor.

When we arrived at Windsor, we went for a walk through Eton, which is separated from Windsor by the river and then up to High Street and Castle Hill in Windsor, where we had lunch opposite the castle.

Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world.  It was first established by William the Conqueror in the 11th century.  Queen Elizabeth II spends most of her private weekends at Windsor Castle, which is regularly used for ceremonial and State occasions.

We did not tour the castle, as we had spent the whole day there, with Sandy’s sister, Maria and Dennis, in 2005.

After a wander around the shops, we made our way to Windsor and Eton Central Station and caught a train to Slough, where we changed for Maidenhead.

This evening, Janet has gone to her church Home Group and we are catching up with our blog and photos.

Maidenhead/Adventuring Day 7 & 8

Day 7 Maidenhead/Adventuring          Overcast/Cool

 As today was Sunday, we all had a sleep in and decided to have an easy day at home.  Janet got some photos of Lisa’s wedding from Adrian and his dad, Paul, which was great. 

We caught up with some washing and did some grocery shopping and other than that, we sat about reading, talking and plotting & planning our next adventure.

It was wonderful to be able to go to Janet & Adrian’s church again this evening – we went early and sat quietly while Janet and the church band did their pre-service practising.  It was very special to be able to hear Janet singing again.  This is something that we have been missing since the girls both left home.

 Day 8 Maidenhead/Adventuring          Mostly sunny and quite warm

 We are getting very good at catching the train to Paddington and changing to the tube to go elsewhere.  Today we changed to the Circle Line again and got off at the Tower Bridge station. 

We did a tour of the Tower Bridge, which involved climbing up to the top of the North Tower and walked across the walkway, high above the roadway and Thames River to the South Tower.  We walked back along the opposite walkway.  In both the walkways, there was historical information about how the bridge was constructed and numerous photos, as well as the opportunity for us to take our own photos.

We then went down under the South Tower for a tour of the engine room where we were able to see two of the steam-driven pumping engines.

The Tower Bridge, which was officially opened in June 1894, is a working bridge and ships up to a tonnage of 10 000 can pass through the bridge – when the bascules are fully raised, which takes one minute only, there is a clear waterway of 200 feet.

We then found one of the boats that Craig painted in Brisbane – the Thames Clipper Meteor, which was doing a passenger run down the river.  Janet had contacted Thames Clippers for us to find out where they operate from and so we were delighted to be able to find one of the boats.

We had a sandwich at a little café next to the Tower Bridge, before making our way to St Paul’s Cathedral.  We walked over the Tower Bridge, past the Tower of London, along the river walk, passing London Bridge, Cannon Street Bridge, Southwark Bridge and the Millenium Bridge. 

St Paul’s is a busy place of worship as well as an architectural landmark.  We were disappointed that we couldn’t take any photos inside, but we thoroughly enjoyed wandering about looking at The Nave, the Altar and the Pulpit, etc.  Sandy had wanted to climb to the top of the Dome, since our last visit to London in 2005, so we headed off to find the way up.  The first 257 steps took us to the Whispering Gallery, where we could look down on the body of the church and up to the domed ceiling.  Apparently, a whisper spoken can be heard 32 metres away on the other side of the Dome.  Then we climbed a further 119 steps – spiral, metal (see through) treads to the outside base of the Dome to the Stone Gallery, where we could look out over the city.  We then climbed a further 152 spiral, stone steps up to the Golden Gallery, which is at the top of the Dome.  We had panoramic views across London and were 85 metres above the Cathedral floor.

In case you haven’t added that all up, it comes to 528 steps!!! which was worth every step to get the stunning views that we had.

What goes up must come down……. although the downward spirals were much easier!

We walked to the nearest station, Mansion House, where we caught the Circle Line tube back to Paddington (which involved more stairs) and then the overland train back to Maidenhead, arriving just after 4.30pm, tired but happy with today’s adventure.

For those of you who don’t know, there are photos on the actual blogsite – on the right hand side – Gallery.  Please remember that we haven’t done anything to them yet so some of the stitched ones will have a crooked horizon or an inwards/backwards leaning building – Richard will fix these with his magic program when we get home.

Day 6 Maidenhead/Adventuring

Day 6 Maidenhead/Adventuring                    Cloudy/hazy and warm

As today is Saturday, it was “Adventuring with Janet Day”. 

We decided to head to the south coast of England and our first stop was Winchester to visit the famous 12the century Winchester Cathedral, with Sandy driving and Sean and Janet navigating.  Most of this part of our trip was on motorways – quite a change from the driving we had been doing in Ireland.  Unfortunately, it was quite hazy all day, so while the scenery was lovely, it was almost impossible to get any decent photos.

We spent ages wandering through Winchester Cathedral, which is built in the shape of a cross – we saw Jane Austen’s grave, her memorial window and memorial plaque; climbed the stone circular staircase to the “Treasury”; beautiful stained glass windows; the chorister’s area; many memorials to soldiers and bishops etc.; as well as incredible wood and stone carvings throughout the church.  The 12th century Winchester Bible is housed in the Library, but this is the only thing that they ask visitors not to photograph.  Richard was impressed that he was allowed to take photos throughout the church.

We then headed to Lyme Regis, with its charming narrow streets nestled around an old fishing village.  Lyme Regis, which is on the Jurassic Coast, was used as a film set for “The French Lieutenant’s Woman”.

We bought a sandwich and sat on a rock wall overlooking a pebbled beach and the harbour.  While we were eating our lunch and looking at the view, a seagull swooped down from behind us and took the sandwich right out of Janet’s hands and flew off to eat it.  He was an aggressive seagull and wouldn’t let any of the others have any food that was thrown to them.  After lunch, we went for a stroll along the waterfront, to a sandy beach, where they had the typical English dressing sheds – see photos – and people reclining on the beach in deckchairs.  We continued our stroll to the jetty and harbour, but were amused to discover that the tide was out and so all the boats in the harbour were left “high and dry”.

By now, we were well and truly off the motorways, and we continued our adventure along the coast, past Weymouth to Lulworth Cove, where the cliffs almost enclose the circular bay.  We walked/climbed up a steep, pebbly walkway, with countless steps to the top of a hill/cliff, stopping a couple of times to catch our breath. From the top we had an incredible view of the Cove and also of Durdle Door (just LOVE that name), where a natural arch is formed in the rocks and we had views over the English Channel.  Our photos don’t do it justice as it was really overcast and hazy, which had persisted all day.

By now, as it was getting late in the afternoon, we decided to head straight to Portsmouth.  We found somewhere to park at the shopping centre adjacent to the Spinnaker Tower, 170m high, and had a wander around the historic waterfront. 

We saw the HMS Warrior, 1860, which illustrates life in the Victorian era.  There was a tall ship tied up to the dock which reminded Richard of the tall ship, The One and All, that he sailed on.  Richard just loves the tall ships, but as the sun had set, we didn’t get a chance to see any of the others.

We had dinner at Tootsie’s on the waterfront, which was very pleasant, and then Janet drove us home to Maidenhead, where we arrived at about 9.30pm.

We have had a wonderful day and thoroughly enjoyed exploring part of the South Coast of England, with Janet.

Maidenhead/Adventuring Day 5

Day 5 Maidenhead/Adventuring          Cloudy & cool, then warm in the afternoon

Greenwich was the adventure chosen for today.  We caught the express train to Paddington, the tube to Westminster, then a boat down the river to Greenwich.

We walked up past where the Cutty Sark is being restored after it was damaged by fire a couple of years ago, to the Maritime Museum, where we spent a couple of hours exploring the three levels of displays. 

On the ground floor, there were displays for Arctic and medieval exploration; the history of emigration by sea and cruise travel, to name just a couple.

On the first floor, there were displays about the ocean and its part in mankind’s survival; stained glass from the Baltic Exchange – an impressive half dome commemorating victims of World War 1; and a collection of over 400 of the Museum’s treasurers.

On the second floor, there were displays of the various Ships of War models; and a Hands-On interactive gallery with ship simulator.

From there, we walked up the hill to the Royal Observatory and stood on the famous Meridian Line – Longitude 0°0’0” – at the home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

We looked at displays of various time pieces including John Harrison’s famous Sea Clocks and the red Time Ball, one of the world’s earliest public time signals, which continues to fall at 13.00, local time, every day.

We enjoyed a leisurely trip back along the Thames River and saw the many areas of redevelopment along the riverbank, especially at Docklands.

Janet met us at Maidenhead station and we walked down to Waitrose to get something for dinner.

Another lovely day in the UK.

Maidenhead/Adventuring Day 4

Maidenhead/Adventuring Day 4                    Cloudy and cool (very)

 We decided to go to Wimbledon today, so we walked down to Maidenhead station very briskly as a train was due, went to Paddington and changed there for the Wimbledon train – nice and easy today!  We had about a mile and a half walk when we got to the station, to get to the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis & Croquet Association (the official title).  Firstly, we looked through the museum for about an hour, where they had interesting information about tennis through the years, as well as a short movie about all the components that a good tennis player needs to play at Wimbledon, eg fluid intake, muscles, lung capacity, mechanics of the game etc

Our guide’s name was Mark and he took us for a one and a half hour tour of the tennis centre.  Firstly we went to Court One, past the various practice courts, which were in the different stages of redevelopment.  The grass on each court is replaced after each Wimbledon Championship.  The grass is removed and the court reseeded.  It will be interesting to see how they manage this process when the Olympics are held, because they won’t have the usual amount of time to get the grass into its perfect condition.

Then we went to Henman Hill, where we were able to climb to the top of the hill and see what the spectators see when they are sitting on the hill, watching the big screen, just outside Court One.

Mark gave us lots of interesting information about tennis in general, the Wimbledon Championships, the Tennis Centre and, of course, the players.

We also got to go into the Media Centre, and into the room where the players are interviewed by the media after their match.  Sandy got to sit in the players’ interview chair and Richard took a photo!

The excitement for Sandy was just being at Wimbledon after watching it on television for a number of years, but the ultimate for her was when Mark took us into Centre Court – WOW! It is huge and we were able to see the roof as part of it was closed.  She would really love to be there when there are players on it!!

So, besides the fact that it was quite cool, (to say the least) we had a great day.

When we got back to Maidenhead, we walked down to Waitrose and bought a leg of lamb and some veggies to roast for dinner.