Kalbarri/wildflower Trip: Day 7

When we arrived back from having tea with the family we found someone camped on our spot. After fiddling around a bit we pulled into the empty place next to them. On arrival we had found reception didn’t seem to know what was available up the hill and we were fortunate that most people had left and there were plenty of free spaces.

In the morning we filled up our water tank and drinking water containers. That was about it for getting ready, apart from the van life shuffle where everything from the living area gets moved to the bed area for the day. Reverse process at night.

We stopped at the Kalbarri lookout. There is a wide, paved walkway which is ideal for prams and wheelchairs, toilets and a picnic shelter. There is also a longer walk if you are feeling up to it. We enjoyed the views before heading off through the park towards the Great Northern Highway. We drove along the Highway, then veered of, taking the Chapman Valley Road towards the Geraldton-Mt Magnet Road where there is a small nature reserve. The weather was windy with light rain at times which continued for the rest of the day.

After lunch and a brief rest we were able to dodge the showers to take a walk through everlastings and other wildflowers to a ridge overlooking the river. We also walked down to the river. Marie and Geoff came here on their way to Kalbarri and Marie had told me it was a hard slog in the hot sun. On this cloudy day I recreated those conditions in my rain proof jacket which helped me to overheat on the climb back. But, it was refreshing anyway as we had alternating sunshine and clouds.

Our camping spot for the night was only about 23 kms back towards Geraldton. We are at the Bringo Lookout. There are gravel sites, none level, of course. After deciding on a good camping spot we used chocks to reduce the 4 degree sideways slope to 3 degrees, a bit uncomfortable, but bearable.

We have a view across farmland towards Geraldton in the distance and can see the road and a railway below us. We have watched several very long goods trains pass through.

This slideshow was created in Videoloop, a programme for iPads that was recommended by Benji.

London: St Martins in the Field Cafe, the National Gallery and Extinction Rebellion

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An artist copying a painting in front of an audience at the National Gallery

Yesterday morning we were held up by workmen coming to replace a couple of windows in the apartment. I wanted to check on their work as we had problems previously. It was only two of the windows being replaced, rather pointlessly, to hang from the opposite side when in casement mode. One of the replaced windows seems slightly wonky, the handle doesn’t end up completely straight and the window doesn’t tilt as much as the others, but I may leave it for now. When Gary has other people staying here they may find problems and he can follow it up. Basically, things work.

They left in time for us to go out for lunch before visiting the National Gallery. We knew that Trafalgar Square in front of the Gallery is a place where protesters are sitting, but as there hasn’t been violence we thought it was safe enough to check things out.

Lunch first, at the underground cafe at St Martins. This is a cafeteria type cafe with good food, not too fancy, located in the crypt.

We wandered out into the square and observed the protesters from the edge closest to the gallery.

There are three cafes in the National Gallery and for afternoon tea we chose one which had subdued lighting and a view of Trafalgar Square. The seating was comfortable as well.

Afterwards, before heading back home, we took a walk amongst the protesters. We felt fairly safe with all of the police around and the overal general good feeling of a peaceful protest. We were intrigued by the people dressed as living statues in red costumes and I followed up today on Google.

Who are the Red Brigade who silently appear at Extinction Rebellion protests?

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Asking people to sit so they weren’t blocking the view of the Red Brigade.

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It was a very grey day, but there was surprisingly little rain when we were out.

 

 

London: British Library and ‘Little Venice’

The British Library is a relatively modern library (1973) incorporating the old British Museum Library as well as some other collections. Red bricks are used to blend in with the other buildings in the area such as St Pancras International Station, which is across the road. Inside, it is a very interesting place, with a collection of very old books and a copy of the Magna Carta, a shop, bookshop and what appeared to be cafes on every floor. There are seating areas everywhere with tables and plug in facilities and they were just about all occupied by young people with mostly Apple laptops.

On the left, St Pancras, on the right, the British Library

After we left, we realised that we didn’t actually see the reading rooms. It is not a lending library, but a place to do research like our WA State Library. Although the building is relatively stark on the outside, the interior has enough curves to make it feel a delightful place to be.

We caught the Thameslink train which takes us straight from East Croydon Station to St Pancras and had tickets that allowed us to catch buses as well. The bus to Little Venice took about 30 minutes. The area is a bit disappointing. We have been to canal areas in other cities and they are usually picturesque, but there was something a bit neglected about the area that mean that despite the willows, bird life and beautiful surrounding townhouses, it just missed being lovely. The houses mostly appear to have been converted into flats, as evidenced by TV aerial cords snaking up the outside of buildings. They are not even confined to back of the houses.

I had hoped to get a photo of these swans, which were a sort of motley colour in stead of pure white. But you can see that they made their escape before I could, and the camera wasn’t able to keep up with the action enough to get a non blurry photo.

Stephen had read about a historic pub in the area where we hoped to have afternoon tea, but we found it not very hospitable and found a tiny cafe nearby.

It was a grey day, as you can see from the photos, but we didn’t have any rain and the temperature was pleasant for walking, cool but not cold.

Our journey home on a different bus seemed very long, but there was interest in going through different residential areas of inner London, some more posh than others. Of course, it is all very expensive, but some areas seemed run down and others very vibrant, with interesting shops and cafes.

Our train tickets also allowed us to take the tram home for the same price. We enjoyed leftovers, followed by fruit and ice cream for tea.

Visiting Monk’s House

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monk’s_House

I’ve included the Wikipedia link because it gives better information about the house than we got from visiting it. There were volunteers in each room to explain things and respond to our questions, but the sequence of why they eventually moved there full time is not something we were told.

Monk’s House

We caught the train to Lewes, and the station is familiar territory as we went there for the,opera at Glyndbourne. From Lewes there is a bus to the village of Rodmell. The bus stop is near the local pub, and there was sign posting to Monk’s House. We asked about the name and it is apparently not clear why it is called that. We noticed that other houses we passed also had names. More modern houses have been built to blend in with the style of the very old houses and even in mid autumn the gardens are free and bright with flowers.

Walking along the line

Below are some of the other houses we saw on the way.

Only the ground floor rooms are open and Virginia’s little studio, a separate room away from the house, is locked, so we could look through windows to see it set up with her desk and writing materials. We could also see the beautiful view that she enjoyed from this room. There didn’t appear to be any heating in the studio. Perhaps she didn’t use it when it was very cold.

Notice in the right hand corner that a visitor has the same lean as the statue, I didn’t realise this until I looked at the photo last night. A little unintentional humour.

The village church is visible from the garden and even back at the house.

After time at the house, mainly spent in the garden, we walked back to the pub for afternoon tea. Stephen took a short walk up the hill to see more of the South Downs. He only had half an hour before the bus, but could then rest on the bus and train ride home.

The Abergavenny Arms

We bought some essentials from the little shop near the station and walked home.

The day was a bit chilly, and we thought it might rain at one stage, but by late afternoon there were some ‘sunny spells’. Still, we were glad to get back and switch on the central heating.

Stephen and I have Australian National Trust membership, and had free entry, but public transport by train and train is quite expensive. We took a picnic lunch to save money.

Bath

Sunday afternoon we went for a walk to the Water Tower Park (as we call it, not the proper name) and did some shopping.

On Monday morning we were on our way early and had to stand on the train as far as Clapham Junction. We made our way to the Victoria Bus Station in good time (about an hour before our bus). Most of the people there got onto the bus before ours, so we were able to have two seats each to spread out.

The bus journey took about 2.5 hours and we enjoyed views of the countryside. We found a place for tea/coffee on arrival, then caught a bus up the hill to the hostel. Our room is nice, it has 6 beds, but because we booked an extra night he wanted to put us in one room for the four nights and it was easier for it to be the family room rather than a two bed room. The whole place is very comfortable, with an attractive self catering kitchen, a couple of dining rooms and a comfortable lounge room. We have paid for breakfasts and it’s possible to have other meals here as well.

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Our YHA room
Our room with windows over garden and glimpses of Bath

 

We unpacked, then went back down the hill to walk around. Stephen wanted to go to the Theatre Royal for a show, and we were able to book $6.00 tickets for a show that evening. We saved on the tickets, but had our meal at the Theatre restaurant, not cheap, but the food was good, so we didn’t regret it.

We saw King Charles III, described as future history. It was supposed to be a comedy sending up the royal family, but felt more like a tragedy, especially as it was in blank verse.

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Theatre Royal, Bath.

The bus to our hostel is cheap (subsidised for the University of Bath), and runs 24/7, so no problem getting back late at night.

In the morning, very sad, I was quite ill with a headache and nausea. I skipped breakfast. Stephen went down to the Tourist Information Centre and to visit a museum and I was so ill that it was nice to be on my own. However, there were staff around and other guests, so not really alone. It was hard to imagine feeling better, but this evening I have been able to eat and drink and think I may be on the mend.

They saved a plate of breakfast for me. The chef was a bit worried about giving me warmed up food, but I didn’t want a lot anyway and it seemed to be fine. Stephen had one of their other dishes and desert, which he shared with me. A bottle of lemonade between us also helped.

We have stayed in the dining room because I want to write and their didn’t appear to be much room in the lounge. When Stephen got back we sat there for a couple of hours reading before dinner.

Uploading photos is rather slow, so this will do for this post.

Snow Indeed

This morning just after 9.00 a.m. we had our first snow. After yesterday’s forecast I was expecting a storm overnight, but we haven’t had much wind. Even when the snow was falling there was more of a breeze blowing the snow around. Grabbed my camera, of course, and took some video and photos. First of all from our upper deck, then from the balcony off the lounge room. The video I took at the lower level worked best because the snow as more visible against the buildings.

It did’t feel especially cold outside, I put shoes on, but otherwise just wearing winter PJs and a jumper. Although it is colder outside than it has been, the apartment still gets too warm on the lower level and stays slightly chilly at the top – because of the air based heating the warm air falls, plus the gas heating system is on the lower level and heats that area quite well. Still, we don’t really want it to be too warm upstairs and switch the heating to very low overnight.

Yesterday afternoon we walked into the city centre (Croydon) to see a movie called ‘The Lady in the Van’ – based on a true story of the author’s experience of having a homeless woman park her van in his driveway for about 15 years. Very funny and touching – especially as the author, Alan Bennet, sends himself up far more than the old lady. Highly recommended!

The cinema complex has a modest entry way, which opens up to a quite impressive 3 level foyer. The quality of the sound and screen was very good as well – I wonder if our cinemas at home are getting a bit old and tired. It just seems odd that there is so little made of it in the street, must be something that everyone in Croydon knows about, so why make a fuss! We got seniors’ discounts on the tickets, which pleased us as well.

Afterwards we walked down the mall, which is now becoming quite familiar to us. Stephen got a glasses case for 2 pounds at Supersavers. Then we went to M&S for a few things, basically knickers for both of us, socks for me and singlets for Stephen.  I bought another flannel and a vanity bag in Boots on our way out. Then we walked home again. Just that level of walking was about 9,000 steps, without really trying to reach my goal of 10,000 per day.

The video was shot in 4K and resized in Apple Photos app to 720p for uploading

 

Wednesday – Oxford Day 3

Here are a few more photos from yesterday. The only processing is to resize them for posting here. They were taken in the evening before we caught the bus back to Oxford. The third photo below is my favourite of the day.

 

A view of the lake
  
A small cottage near the gate – perhaps formerly the gatekeeper’s lodge
   

Final Days – England

These are a couple of photos I took on an evening walk near Knebworth. We feel that we have come to know the local area through our walks. We really love the peace and gentle beauty of the countryside here. With daylight saving it doesn’t get dark here until quite late.

 

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England 2014

I’m not very good at keeping up with this photography site, partly because I need time to process the photos we take. We have been very busy sightseeing and visiting people, and I’ve been very tired when we do have some down time.

I also think I need a way of automatically resizing photos for this page when I am working in Lightroom.

Even my Flickr page is over a week behind with posting images, and that site does accept photos directly from Lightroom.

Anyway, here is a photo resized in OnOne software and then processed to HDR in Nik. Taken near Bosworth Field.

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