One aspect that I really notice when I Tavel to London is the changing skyline contrasting old with new. I lived in London for 6 years as a student nurse and as a newly qualified nurse in the early 1980's. Back then there were a few tall modern buildings such as The Post Office Tower as it was known then which towered above our nurses' home, Centrepoint and Guy's Tower where I worked for a year and a half on the 10th floor. Nowadays the skyline looks different everytime I visit.
On our visit last week we travelled by river bus from Embankment which gave us a grand view of the London Eye.
It was a cold dull day which made everything grey. We could however clearly see Big Ben shrouded in scaffolding.
Whilst at the tower itself the mixture of old and new is evident from the battlements.
It is the Shard that looms dramatically above the oldest of the tower buildings giving an extraordinary mix of modern and ancient.
It certainly can't be easy when filming any period films.
When we were in my mum's garden yesterday she commented that she has her very own Primrose Hill. The lawn at the side of the house has each year an increasing number of primroses and other Spring flowers.
The weather has been glorious today. A fitting day to have to say goodbye to one of dad's cousins. She was a very bubbly vivacious lady and such a sunny day for her funeral suited her personality. Later in the day we spent some time in the shade of the cherry tree back in mum's garden.
I took this opportunity to choose three pictures for this week's Take Three Thursday. One can never have enough of such beautiful cherry blossom.
I have been helping out a couple in the village by looking after their little boy once a week. He was finding after school club a bit much and their after school nanny didn't work out. So I bravely offered to have him. I pick him up from school and bring him back to the farm and look after him until his mum gets home from work.
Luckily we have kept a lot of the girls' old toys in fact student daughter has been reliving her childhood getting them sorted out.
'The boy' is enjoying rummaging through the boxes but also enjoys going out and about on the farm. He has enjoyed helping out in the lambing shed.
I decided yesterday to make some gingerbread with my mum's old recipe which was also used by my Gran. I frequently remember helping mum roll out the individual balls for the biscuits or making a gingerbread man with a balls of dough for the head and body and sausage shapes for the limbs.
The ingredients are as follows:-
I actually reduced the sugar to 3 oz and they were perfectly sweet enough. My mum's recipe gives no method but I mixed the dry ingredients together and rubbed in the fat, added the sugar and then added the warmed syrup.
The mixture comes together easily
The balls are laid out on a baking tray. I now use silicone sheets in all my baking trays which are washable and can be reused. You can buy a roll from Lakeland and cut it to the size of your tins.
Within 15 to 18 minutes you will have gingerbread biscuits like this.
Once they had cooled slightly and began to harden I popped them on a cooling rack to cool. It was not long before there was a gap where passing members of the family had been tempted to have a taster.
Farmer Husband was brave enough to suggest that they were more 'gingery' than those his mum used to make (he likes to live dangerously). I was ready with a suitable reply that it was he didn't have Cornish taste buds!
Should you be interested and are thinking of your waistline my slimming app calculated that made into 28 biscuits each one has 63 calories so not too bad if you want to give yourself an occasional treat.
On Wednesday we spent a day in London visiting the Tower of London. We travelled by river bus up the Thames from Embankment giving us our first glimpse of the tower on a grey London day.
Many of us are familiar with what is to be seen at the tower so I will show you a few memorable snippets of our day. We started with a bit of an overview with an introductory talk from one of the Beefeaters. It was not only informative but also full of tales of blood and gore!
Probably the most impressive sight of our visit was the opportunity to see the Crown Jewels housed in the building in the picture above. The jewels and all the paraphernalia linked to the coronation are truly incredible. They are something not to be missed.
The most poignant part of the whole site is the glass memorial to those members of the Royal family who had the misfortune to be executed here. These include Catherine Howard, Anne Boleyn and the unfortunate '9 days queen' Lady Jane Grey. This memorial consisting of two glass circles and a glass pillow was installed in 2006 with the following poem.
“Gentle visitor pause a while, Where you stand death cut away the light of many days. Here, jewelled names were broken from the vivid thread of life. May they rest in peace while we walk the generations around their strife and courage, Under these restless skies.”
A well known view is that of the Traitors Gate through which many prisoners were brought by boat when the the Thames used to be right up to the edge of the tower.
We spent some time in the Chapel of St Peter and Vincula. It has been described as one of the saddest places. Many executed people's bodies were unceremoniously thrown into a mass vault in here during Tudor times. Many have since been buried again.
There is however a second chapel . The chapel of St John is a simple Norman chapel and is a place of peace and tranquility in the White Tower. Somewhere to reflect on the extraordinary history of this palce where so many atrocities were carried out.
Take Three Thursday is created by Mary Lou and aims to help notice what we see around us and post three photos related by theme. I am joining her today with three pictures of somethings I saw yesterday on our trip to the Tower of London.
For many years exotic animals were kept at the Tower of London. Many of these were gifts to the Monarch and started in 1235 when Henry lll was given 3 'leopards' which were most likely lions and featured on a lot of heraldry. This was followed by an elephant and a polar bear. A menagerie continued at the tower until 1835.
Galvanised sculptures have been created by artist Kendra Haste in 2010 and are exhibited around the tower grounds. They are positioned close to where the original animals were kept.
The lions greet you as you queue to enter.
The lions were housed in what was known as the Lion Tower which was close to the entrance. Entrance charge at one stage included supplying a cat or dog to feed to the lions! Animal fighting was a common and popular sport.
Then there were baboons playing on the walls above the visitors.
The monkeys were quite an attraction too but were not unknown to bite. Then there was the elephant which unfortunately I didn't photograph who was a gift from the King of France in 1255. He had his own specially built house and his own keeper but only lived a matter of years.
There was even a polar bear sent from the King of Norway in 1252. The bear had a collar and stout rope but was allowed to swim in the Thames and catch fish.
Many of these animals were dangerous. One lady died from her injuries when she was mauled by a lion after stroking its paw. There was also a close encounter with a snake. The menagerie was eventually closed by the Duke of Wellington in 1835 and Regents Park Zoo was formed with these animals.
What a lovely time of year this is with all the spring flowers emerging. Every day something else has come into bloom. The primroses are looking particularly good at the moment. We have got several banks of them around the quarry. The other day I took some pictures of one of them.
Student Daughter and Poppy helped to give an idea of perspective.