Shopping and a concert

Yesterday was a fairly laid back day. We did some more shopping and this time took the trolley as we had a couple of items that were heavy. We were also were able to get tickets for a concert at Fairfield Halls in the evening. The FH is a wonderful venue for all sorts of local interest groups and cultural events. They seem to have a fairly non-stop programme. A complete refurbishment is planned, with a possible closure of two years. We are glad this will be happening after our time here as it gives us the opportunity to see and do things which only cost the price of the tickets because we can walk there.

Last nights’ concert was the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra playing Weber, Grieg and Beethoven – a programme of well known and much loved pieces. The young soloist, Taek Gi Lee, is 17 years old and has won many competitions, including the recent one where he received money and the opportunity to play with this orchestra. The audience loved him and he came back to do a solo piece, after all of his efforts in the Grieg Piano Concerto. It was lovely to hear him playing without the orchestra accompaniment as well.

There are no photos from yesterday, so I will add a few from Tuesday in Brighton.

On the beach
On the beach
Pebble Beach Management
Pebble Beach Management
Evening Promenade
Evening Promenade

Brighton

Yesterday was predicted to be a rain free day. It started out misty and cloudy, but by the time we left the house at 11.00 a.m. it was sunny and stayed that way most of the day. We had put off doing shopping on Monday because of the trip to London. Yesterday was then the shopping day, but it seemed a pity to waste a fine day.

Why Brighton? Just because it is possible to catch an express there from East Croydon, and I have been wanting to take the trip for a couple of weeks. So, we did.

The Royal Pavilion was interesting because of the architectural style, vaguely Moorish. It has been restored and the gardens redone to better match the original garden. It was difficult to get a good photo because of the trees. We did not do a tour, but were able to look into the first room.

Then we walked to the Brighton Pier and out to almost the end where it turns into rides for children. It is dreadful and beautiful at the same time, plus the sunshine and beautiful colour of the ocean made it very special. We could see across to the skeleton of the West Pier, which at this stage will probably not be restored. The piers are wooden structures that are very prone to fires.

There was bungy jumping near the pier which got in the way of photos, but I eventually went done to the pebble beach to enjoy better views and the feel of the pebbles.

We were wanting lunch, but wanted a bargain and healthy food, so it ended up being a fish and chip deal at a tiny pub. It was good food, with a little salad and lots of fresh peas, so turned out well. Only 10 pounds for both.

Then Stephen went to the museum and I went for a coffee. Later I walked along the beach to get a better view of the Western Pier. I found another cafe across from the sea where I waited in comfort for Stephen to arrive. It was nearly dark at 5.00 p.m. We then walked back to the train station and caught an express train back to Croydon. A little shopping on the way home and that was it.

I’ve made a small video from some 4k clips made on the A7RII and some of the photos put into a slideshow in Photos, the Apple app. Very little editing of the clips. Even though I am using a custom button as my movie start and stop button I still seem to have a wavy bit at the end of clips!

The future of the BBC and a walk in the sunshine on the Thames

Stephen has found a site where he can book into being part of the audience for BBC shows. Yesterday evening we went to a debate on the future of the BBC (basically the same issues as our ABC) which was being recorded for Radio 4. We really enjoyed the whole experience of arriving at the studio early, having afternoon tea, then a dinner snack, registering, and then the 1.5 hours of the debate. It was hosted by a presenter who was really on top of the issues and able to stay on track to ask the right questions of the panel. We recognised an Australian accent, and it turned out that the person had spent time in the USA and Australia, interesting that the Australian connection came through strongest.

The audience were all die hard BBC fans. The show, of course, was edited before being broadcast this morning.

Before going to the studio we enjoyed a walk along the Thames in sunny warmth.

The working river
The working river
Just what every tourist needs
Just what every tourist needs
The Eye and the Bridge
The Eye and the Bridge
The Eye and the Warrior Queen
The Eye and the Warrior Queen

Monday morning in Croydon

We had a fairly laid back weekend. On Saturday Stephen went out to get the paper and a few things whilst I did all of our holiday washing. Apart from that we did not go out. On Sunday we went for a walk to Lloyd Park in the late afternoon, knowing that we could catch a tram to get home. We intended to go to Evensong at Croydon Minster, but the tram wasn’t running through the town due to ‘improvement works’ so we just went home. We found a new park, Coombe Park, with a busy cafe where we had afternoon tea. At some stage we will go back and have a walk in the park.

We didn’t feel that it was a long walk, but my iPhone said I had done my 10,000 steps for the day. This morning I had some new stats, 80,500 steps for the week over a distance of 54 kms. That isn’t that much over seven days, especially as part of it was sightseeing in Oxford, but is more than I do at home even on most working days, so there is an increase in fitness due to not having a car.

Magpie, Lloyd Park
Magpie, Lloyd Park
Cafe, Coombe Park
Cafe, Coombe Park

Friday – Oxford Day 5 – Leaving

After our meal Thursday night we arrived at the house later than usual. No-one was home and as I put the key in the lock and turned it, the key broke off. We contact Matt and he got back to us quickly. He wasn’t far away, and came home and let us in through the garage. Not too much drama. His housemate was able to extract the key stub from the lock.

In the morning we said our goodbyes and thank you to Matt. He gave us a couple of jars, one of chutney and one of the nice berry jam, the same as we had been enjoying for the four mornings we had stayed with him.

We took our cases to the Tourist Information and paid 12 pounds for them to look after them for the day. Then Stephen went off to the Ashmolean again and I went to a cafe. We had lunch together, then wandered down to Balliol College for a look around. We had afternoon tea there, which included two normal sized biscuits each, but the tea was a bit weak. Stephen went to the Museum of Science and I went to Weston Library, across the road, and part of the Bodleian Library, but in a modern building.

Then it was time to catch a bus back to London. It took quite a bit longer than the trip down as there was rush hour traffic and the bus was also pretty much full up by the time we left the Oxford area. We even caught the tram one stop to get us closer to our apartment block. We were very tired, of course, but it we had such a lovely time in Oxford that it seemed quite worth it.

We have now been away about 3 weeks, and it seems longer.

Balliol College
Balliol College
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Autumn colours at Balliol
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Garden at Balliol
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Chapel at Balliol
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Bodleian Library Reading Room
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Weston Library – opposite the Reading Room
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Red Leaves, Balliol College
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The Great Hall, Balliol College. There was only one woman depicted in the portraits around the Hall. Dame Stephanie Shirley. I did a Google and she was very interesting. She set up a tech company employing mostly women with family responsibilities, before it became illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender.

Thursday – Oxford Day 4 – Session 2

The 'charming little house' where we stayed in Oxford
The ‘charming little house’ where we stayed in Oxford

Today has been quite varied. We went first to the Ashmolean, after making a bit of a later start. Then we picked up sandwiches and went to an organ recital at the Merton College chapel. We ate our lunch in the garden outside the chapel, then walked to the canal and walked along for a while. After asking someone we found out where the would be some cafes and crossed a bridge to get there.

Then we walked back to the centre of town and spent some time in the marvellous Waterstones Bookshop. Then at 6:15 we went back to Merton College for a sung Evensong with the Book of Common  Prayer.

Then caught a bus part way home and after looking at lots of options chose a Lebanese restaurant. It doesn’t sound that much written here, but we have walked about 12.5 kilometres, according to the iPhone. Just getting from place to place.

A house near the chapel at Merton College
A house near the chapel at Merton College
Merton Street, Oxford
Merton Street, Oxford

Thursday – Oxford Day 4 – Session 1

Yesterday we went to the beautiful Pitt-Rivers Museum and Natural History Museum. Quite a few school groups were visiting and it appears to be an excellent learning resource in a very attractive setting. We then climbed a church tower to get views of Oxford from above. 124 steps up, through an increasingly small and windy aperture. But well worth it, and not a difficult climb for us with our present level of fitness. We could then move around the four sides getting different views.

I uploaded the photos to my Macbook this morning and noticed something interesting, the photos of the city, whether from above, in the streets, and in the entrances to colleges look rather like illustrations rather than photographs. There were clouds most of the day which made the light quite neutral, which may have contributed to the ‘look’. Anyway, there are three photos below which illustrate what I mean.

 

Another view from the tower
A view from the tower
One of the colleges
One of the colleges

 

A view from the tower
A view from the tower

Tuesday – Oxford Day 2 – Blenheim Palace

As usual, the date is a day later as the blog is on Perth time, rather than England time.

Our task today was to visit Blenheim Palace. A sunny, pleasant day made exploring the grounds a lovely experience. We basically wore ourselves out. We made sure we did the funny room to room exhibition described by Bill Bryson as a really bad experience. But then we didn’t have him there doing silent farts…

We had about three session of sitting in cafes for awhile, eating our own fruit and muesli bars as well as having soup and a roll for lunch.

We caught the bus home at about 6.30 p.m. and had a meal at a pub in town before catching the bus back to our B&B. It got cold as the sun set, after a nearly perfect day when I think I got a bit sunburned.

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A view across flowers to the lake
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We had lunch in a pavilion off one of the restaurants. It was a bit hot until they opened doors at both ends to let a breeze through.