Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Happy Halloween!


As I said yesterday, I took a morning drive over to the other side of town on Sunday morning.  I didn't have any local Halloween photos in my files and I knew where I would find some.

I was not disappointed.  My former neighbor had his clan of skeletons on display once again.  This has been going on for so long that I decided it needed its own label.  So now the "Skeleton Family" label will show all the photos of this group I've taken over the years.  

It looks like this year, the group is dressed for some chilly weather.  Well, most of them are dressed.  There are still a few nudists in the group.

I took the opportunity to cruise around another familiar neighborhood where I found all kinds of scary things.  That tall pumpkin-headed creature looks a bit terrifying and I wouldn't want to encounter that spider on the roof anywhere near my house.

The witch seemed harmless enough.  

This creepy fellow was also lurking about.  

I'm tossing in this humorous carved pumpkin.  Someone found a clever way to create a Mickey Mouse jack-o-lantern.  

Enjoy the day's festivities.  

Monday, October 30, 2023

Halloween in London


Halloween in London is not quite as big a deal as it is here in the states.  However, I did see several places where decorations had been arranged to recognize the season.  

This is an entrance to a hotel.

At a Kings Cross station flower stand, I found this beautiful floral arrangement celebrating fall.

The little spider at the base tells me that Halloween was in mind.

Just behind the pretty floral arrangement I saw this fellow lurking.  Now I'm certain that we are being reminded that Halloween is near.

At the food halls of Selfridges Department store I saw these sweet treats all decorated for the occasion.  So Halloween is certainly on the minds of many people.

Tomorrow I'll show you what I found on a short early morning drive around Phoenix yesterday.  I woke up very early which I suspected I would, so I took a drive over to my old neighborhood.  There is guaranteed to be a huge assortment of Halloween decorations in that area.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Home Again!


I'm home again and I'll make this post a short one because the long flight and even longer day has me headed off to bed to hopefully sleep all night without waking up.  HA!  But I'll be missing all the green of London and the little hints of fall in different places like Green Park pictured above.

That's where I found these unusual blooms that were attracting the bees.

And where I found this pretty vine climbing up a wall and fence.  

Saturday, October 28, 2023

My Last Day in London


I did my shopping on Thursday so I had Friday to do whatever I wanted.  I decided to head south of the Thames and check out the area I stayed in 18 years ago.  (where does the time go?) I took the tube to the London Bridge station, emerged from the station and had no idea where I was.  I thought I'd recognize the area around the station but it was completely different.  I eventually found my way.  

Among all the new buildings I found a series of whimsical sculptures that were attracting a lot of young children and their parents.  Truth be told, they were attracting the older set too.  They were all created by the art team of Gillie & Marc.  

Aren't these fun?  I loved them all.  

By the time this gets posted, I'll be sitting at the airport waiting for my flight.  But my London photos won't stop.  I've got so many good ones that I'm sure I'll find a way to squeeze some more in.  

Friday, October 27, 2023

A Touch of Royalty

 No, I didn't see any members of the royal family.  I just walked in their neighborhood.

First I passed St. James Palace.  No one royal is living there right now.  

Next I strolled past the gates at Clarence House where the King and Queen are still living.  You can see the guard in the red coat.

Next I walked in the direction of Buckingham Palace where I guess no one is living at the moment.  This is as close as I got.  I've probably seen this palace on every trip I've made to the UK.  No need to get up close this time.

I did spot these guys on my way there.  It looked like the man all the way to the left was giving them some sort of lesson.  Maybe training to be proper English gentlemen.  Who knows.  But, I thought the scene called for a picture.  

After the royal tour, I had lunch at Fortnum & Mason and then did a little shopping.  I found out I could make some purchases and have them shipped to my home so that's what I did.  

As you can see, they have their holiday decorations up. You can just barely see some birds that seem to be flying in the center.  They were playing a recording of birdsong that filled that stair well.  It was quite nice.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Lot's of Walking and Fine Sparkling Wine


I explored and area of London that is very new.  In fact, the last time I was here 7 years ago, most of this was not here.  It's just north of Kings Cross station and there was a lot to see in this area.

The area is next to the Regent's Canal which was full of river boats of all shapes and sizes.  

I stopped at an art gallery nearby  because this sculpture caught my eye. They were kind enough to let me photograph it.  The artist is Susie MacMurray and it's called "Medusa".  

After wandering in the Kings Cross area, I headed to Oxford street for lunch and then decided to walk back to the hotel.  One of the buildings I passed was this one with the sculptures hanging from the upper floors.  The business on the street level is a barber shop.  It makes me wonder why this building is so special from all the other buildings on this street.

My last adventure of the day was attending a dinner at Fortnum & Mason honoring my favorite sparkling wine, Nyetimber which is made in England.  I've mentioned it on this blog before.  It's no longer available in the US, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to taste some more vintages and to learn more about the company and why they stopped exporting to the US.  It was a hugely enjoyable experience and I think they were impressed to have one American in attendance.  

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Another Beautiful Day


Even though rain was predicted, the day turned out rather nice.  In fact, it didn't rain until I got back to the hotel around 5:00 PM.  How's that for luck?

I took a bus to Trafalgar Square and then I slowly made my way to the east.

I walked through Victoria Embankment Gardens, a little park I hadn't visited before.  That's where I saw this tree.  I thought it had so much character, almost like if you spoke to it, it might speak back.

Also in the little garden was this rather dramatic memorial to the composer Arthur Sullivan of "Gilbert & Sullivan" fame.  The bust atop the memorial is of Sullivan, the grieving lady is the muse of music who is so distraught over his passing that she weeps so hard her clothes slide off.  It is certainly a memorable memorial.  

After the walk through the garden, I moved into the Middle Temple area of London.  This is where many "chambers" of lawyers are located.  I love this area because of all the historic buildings and the beautiful gardens.

I wandered in and out of the various gardens and snapped photos of lots of the flowers.  This one was by far my favorite.  I can't believe I got that great of an image of both flower and bee with my cell phone.

And since I was so close, I stopped in at Temple Church once again.  It's always a bit magical to step inside a building that dates back to the 10th century.  There is always an organist playing music so it's a perfect place to sit for a moment or two and imagine the Knights Templar roaming the aisles and planning their crusades.  

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

A Day at the Museum


I spent most of the day on Monday at the Tate Britan Museum.  Of course, everyone has heard of the Tate Modern but the Tate Britain was here long before that huge Tate Modern building was converted into an art gallery.  

The Tate Britain has its own architectural beauty.  Even though it's a much older building, it has the same  design concepts that dazzle.  

A perfect example is the black and white spiral staircase that runs down to the lower level at the museum.

After I finished at the museum, I walked along the Millbank next to the museum and wondered at all the new buildings that have gone up since the last time I was here.  London is growing at an amazing speed.

I walked all the way up to Westminster and the Parliament buildings.  These are always an iconic sight for London.  

It was supposed to rain today and I'm sure it did in other parts of the city.  Most of my day was dry and chilly until late in the evening when a mild drizzle started.  In other words, it worked out rather nicely.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Taking Full Advantage of the Sunshine


Sunday was a beautiful day.  Perfect for walking and that is exactly what I did.  I met up with my blogging friend Steve from Shadows & Light.  We walked from my hotel all the way into "the city" among all the tall buildings.  

It's been seven years since my last trip to London and a lot has changed.  Frankly, I didn't think they could fit any more tall buildings into such a small area but they have and they are still building more.

Along the way we passed St. Paul's Cathedral from Paternoster Square where I captured the dome behind the spire that sits in the middle of the square.

One of the highlights of the walk was finding this rooftop garden that had free access.  The views up there were spectacular and I know that beautiful sunshine played an important role.  Here I am with a view of the Gherkin.

And, here's Steve with that same wonderful view.  

Here is the view in the opposite direction.  You can see the Tower of London off to the left and Tower Bridge right there in the center.  What a perfect day in this great city.  

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Rainy Saturday


Saturday was a rainy day so I opted for another museum so I could stay out of the rain.  I went to the Victoria & Albert museum.

These two photos were taken  on one of the upper floors.  The beauty of all that marble was drawing my attention.

In the gallery were they display plaster casts of artifacts from around the world, I saw this monumental piece.  It's Trajan's column which resides in Rome.  The thought of building this replica is mind-boggling. 

I didn't expect to find a Kehinde Wiley portrait at the V & A but here it is.  This is a portrait from his "Yellow Wallpaper Series".  The yellow background was inspired by a design on display near this painting.