Saturday, 1 June 2013

Getting On Top of it All

I'm on top of the STUFF now.  I've repacked a lot of the boxes from our loft, put in some boxes of things from Mum's, and got rid of much more.  I've also found all kinds of things I'd forgotten about, like K's collection of historic Coke bottles. I always liked the look of them, each with their own personality in red and white. It was good to see them again, before I passed them on to K.

I went to the doctor and got an antibiotic which I'm hoping will get rid of this awful bug.   Anyone else had it?  It's like a cold,  but it just won't go away, and a couple of people I know have been ill for over a month. 

One dark and wintry May evening T and I went to a meeting of South East London Folklore Society, and it was fantastic. Their meetings are usually in the Old Kings Head pub, which is down a narrow Dickensian alleyway through an archway off Borough High St.  That is the pub on the left of my picture. The bar was heaving with people.  With my phone, I snapped the overspill from the bar standing in the cold and rain with their drinks - what some people will endure for a glass of beer!

The talk was upstairs, in an eccentrically decorated function room, featuring King Henry VIII and The Titanic. (I took some pictures but the quality's too bad to show here. )  And the speaker was Ian Rawes of the London Sound Survey. He is obsessed with recording the sounds of London,old and new.

For us, he brought along some historical recordings of London dating back to the 1920s.   Listening to the old, old cry of the lavender seller, recorded in the 1930s and already a curiosity then,   I almost got chills - I felt I was hearing a piece of real history   People have been singing this song, or something like it, for centuries. The singer must have been one of the last lavender sellers and I like how he gives the song straight and clear, without the fiddle-de-dee fancifulness of modern folk singers.  Hear it here.

So that was a great and - well, I guess you'd call it an "ear-opening" evening.

The weather was atrocious most of the month but the gloom seemed quite appropriate one day when I went to London Bridge station and came out at Tooley Street.  There is a big block of railway property being demolished to make way for a new line just there. The buildings were all quite old and Victorian and one of them had been used by the London Dungeon. I presume this creepy hooded Thing had been part of it.  Or maybe not .... Anyway, it doesn't seem to be bothering the passers by, does it?.

In great contrast, on one day when the weather was bright and radiant, we took a walk to Kenwood, on Hampstead Heath, and saw the magnolias - it must have been the particular day in the year when they were at their peak.  There must have been hundreds of the huge blooms.

I love to look closely and I loved this pistil. It llooks exotic, as if it comes from the Middle East.

Another sunny day we took a trip to Oxford to see our niece TN giving a skating demonstration. She's 14, and very athletic.   It's the first time I've ever watched good skaters in real life, and I felt quite exhilarated to see her and the others swooping across the ice at top speed and spinning around. I was so impressed, because at no time in my life could I have ever done what they did, even on solid ground, let alone on ice!.  

The weather has been so grey that I've got out of the habit of taking the camera when I go out, which explains the poor quality of some of the photos in this post.  The camera in my phone's never been quite the same since I dropped it down the loo..... but actually there is quite a nice "instagram" look to some of the more colourful pictures I've taken on it.   Here are some Spring flowers I saw a couple of weeks ago in Regent's Park. The flowerbed displays in this park are always particularly imaginative and artistic.

I said last post that I was going to write about the goats.   And so I will. But actually it deserves a post to itself, so I will  make it my next post.

And finally, I have made various trips to the family home, which I am glad to say has sold very quickly. I'd have hated to see it standing empty.  Now my parents are not there, and their possessions are dispersed, I'd like to see the house taking on new life.

But  I took a picture out of the window at the canal before I left .... and there was a rainbow.  


  1. LOVE the old coke bottles! Mainly because they look different from the old coke bottles we have here.

  2. I love everything about this post! The pictures from "olde" London to the gorgeous flowers to the house fronted by the canal and canal boat are wonderful. I would love to be taken around London with you by my side!

  3. I do hope this bug clears up soon...a friend was in England recently and returned with something very much like it.
    My mother,luckily, has avoided it - which she puts down to refusing to have anti flu jabs....

    You've found plenty to cheer us, despite the foul weather. Lovely photographs!

  4. Good for you for getting through what can be a horrendous job. I'm sorry you still have the bug. Mine is still hanging about in the form of a cough that I cannot seem to shift.

    I hope your parents home will happily shelter and inspire its new occupants. The rainbow is beautiful.

    Feel better soon.

  5. Hi Jenny

    Despite the rain you have provided us with some beautiful images. I love the flowers and also the last image of your parent's home. What a delightful setting.
    Hope the sun is shining this weekend

    Helen xx

  6. Your second picture is super. How amazing this statue is.


  7. There are some lovely images here, Jenny, lavatorial experiences notwithstanding. I love the one of your ice skating niece and the blossom is gorgeous, but, as you can imagine, I especially like the photo of the canal and the narrowboat moored alongside. It's one of my dreams to cruise the English canals.

  8. Thanks for stopping off and commenting at my place.

  9. I like the hooded guardian, it looms, but in such a way that I'd greet it passing by.

    Yes, D had a terrible flu/cold last month, very odd for him to be very ill for two weeks running. Just viral though, antibiotics would have done more harm and no good.

  10. On such a big ship 4 to 5 metres is still comfortable.

  11. I've been reading about the cold and rainy spring weather in Europe. Here in Florida, we've had the air conditioning running for weeks...

    Love the picture of the magnolia blooms! And the final photo from your family's house will always be a touching memory.

  12. I love the look of that Dickensian side street. Sorry you're still not feeling good. That's always bad news.

  13. Ah the bug that will not leave! The weather may be warm for a week and this will help!
    The gray skies limit photography somewhat but you have done well in the dark rain!
    A good post and some really good pics.
    I would love that view of the boat from my window!

  14. It's amazing what people get a yen to collect - old Coke bottles, typical London sounds, you name it. I think there's a strong nostalgic element of wanting to preserve things that might otherwise vanish without trace.

    I've always fancied ice skating but never got round to it. I should put it on my bucket list....

  15. Hopefully the antibiotic will be successful in exorcising the awful bug that has been plaguing you. I haven't been inflicted by any "bugs" lately, but I'm always choking and wheezing from this cursed Texas dust.
    I like the old Coke bottles - - they look a little different from the old American ones.
    The song of the lavender seller is fascinating and I've never heard it before. Who could resist buying lavender after hearing such an impressive voice?

  16. Hm, if they have to walk far in the wet, cold rain i would imagine they would stand in line for a beer! The magnolias are beautiful, but i think different from the kind we have here.

    Congratulations to your niece on her beautiful skating work! And i'm glad you aren't upset about your parents' house and are looking forward to it having life again -- some people don't feel that way at all.

  17. cool coke wife would love them...esp that royal wedding one...what a fascinating stone hooded he coming right out of the wall..and that flower does look rather exotic...the pistil a swirl of color...

  18. Lovely pictures Jenny, especially the pistil one.
    I had a virus in January and it's still not fully cleared, if I'm tired i feel it starting up again, though nothing like it was at it's peak. I'm planning an assault now that school's out- echinacea, vit c and zinc are my army!

  19. Dear Jenny,

    I'm ever so sorry for not having visited your wondrous site in such a long time. And yet, upon my arrival, the visual delights, the captured ambience, as per usual, are a feast for my eyes. Your talent is greatly admired.

    There is a rumour that the weather is improving. I did note the mysterious glowing orb for a fleeting moment on Saturday.

    I hope you feel better soon. I cheer you with a glass of Coco Cola :)

    A lovely remainder of the weekend to you.


  20. You always have the coolest pictures!

  21. Jenny - you have the most interesting life! What amazing adventures and experiences you enjoy! I was enthralled with the old London sounds - and the lavender vendor story - my lavender is blooming nicely this year, thank yo u - though I had my doubts with how poorly it seemed to do through the winter. So glad you stopped by my place to see what I was up to with the show. It was so well received we may be doing repeat encore performances as we're hearing many want to see it again and bring friends! We'll see. I'm taking a nice break and will be blogging - posting AND visiting - more. Looking forward to more of your travel adventures!

  22. Nice variety of pictures. I don't think I want to confront that hooded thing at night. I hope you get well soon. Nothing worse than a lingering illness. Your photos still look okay despite the drop

  23. What a lovely photo from your family home. I have always wanted to spend time on one of the canal boats. I am such a tourist.
    Hope your feeling better soon.

    cheers, parsnip

  24. At least the greyness makes us appreciate light when it appears. You have still managed some lovely images.

  25. What a tour Jenny!I really enjoyed these hightlights of your exciting life (despite the cold)!You have a very lovely view from your house and I'm sure that your talented little niece makes you proud!
    Enjoy your Sunday and best wishes for a quick recovery! (sorry for my english!)

  26. Lovely post and pictures, Jenny - the view from your family home is really beautiful. I'm not surprised the house sold quickly! I love the Coke bottles :-) x

  27. There's a lot to like about this post, Jenny. I especially like the Dickensian alley, the flowers and the canal scene, oh yes and that creepy hooded thing.

    Hope you soon shake off the dreaded bug.

  28. I love that you got to hear a presentation on historical sounds, and the lavender seller was amazing! The pictures are terrific. I do hope the antibiotics do their job, and soon!

  29. Superb post, full of life and interest. Among the images, the carving og the lavender seller particularly interested me.

  30. You have made great progress with the clearing out and selling the house. Perhaps the stress of all that is contributing to whatever bug you have. Hope you feel better soon.

    I really like the photo of the "mysterious hooded thing". I always enjoy a little myster. I really wonder what or who it represents.


  31. What a busy time you've had! I'm glad that the STUFF is settling - and hope antibiotics do their magic and you feel better soon.

  32. i so love the picture in here.. specially the colorful flower. The coke too.. I wonder how long k has been collecting them cause I have never seen most bottle like those here.. :)

    greetings from asia,
    style me pretty

  33. The weather has indeed been terrible but hopefully things will improve this week. Are you sure that your cold wasn't some allergy to pollen? Hubby has been coughing & blowing his nose for a long, long time.
    I love the coke bottle collection.

  34. wow... so many bottles of drinks :) and u should take care of yourself or else how would be find such beautiful imagery if you get sick? get well soon :)

  35. Sorry to hear about your health condition, Jenny, hope you’ll get it over sooner. Despite that, you had wonderful and exciting experiences. I’m amazed with the deep blue sky above the full blooming magnolia. The view from your family home is so beautiful. The new owner will keep the legacy of the house. Wish you sunny and healthy June.


  36. Loved this post, the old sound site was incredible, I listened to a load of them.

  37. Magnolias are stunning, as the flowerbed in Regent park.
    I think your niece will have success on ice, but it's very traumatic sport.
    Have a nice weekend!

  38. The rainbow -- how lovely it was there to say goodbye. Loved your coke bottles, especially the squat little wedding one! Loved the Tooley St. guardian! And Jenny, if I ever again get to London, will you take me to one of those talks? Oh, I would just love that sort of thing!

    Finally, thanks for stopping by with your comments! Always wonderful to have you visit!

  39. I've been down that alleyway. It was like walking into a different world.

    I'm glad to say we've had a lovely sunny day here, long may it continue. I love the flower shots and the old coke bottles. They could be worth something I would imagine.

  40. The magnolias are stunning Jenny, I can almost smell them! Adore the old Coke bottles, its surprising how many people here have collections!
    The thing I never miss watching with the Winter Olympics is the skating!
    The alley shot conjures up lots of old world images....
    Last year a similar bug hung on to people for months, they just couldn't shake it. A nasty one and it wears you down. Perhaps a shot of antibiotics is the just the thing to get you right.
    Lovely post.

  41. When we had to sell my grandparents' house, we were so glad to see it in good hands, a young family moving in. They made some alterations and it turned out very nice, still being recognizably the place I spent so much time at when I was a child. I'm glad you found a buyer so soon and the house didn't stand empty for long.
    Here's hoping your bug will be dealt with by the antibiotics!

  42. Hi Jenny,

    Such delightful Coke bottles you dug up. The shapely ones remind me of my childhood. I don't know if they said it in England, but there was an expression "shaped like a Coke bottle" defining feminine curves back then, before it wasn't PC to say things like that anymore.

    I like that creepy, hooded Thing! Hope they are not demolishing it too. Though this is Victorian, the hooded monk look transports me to the Middle Ages. I don't know why but as a teen, I was so fascinated by the medieval period. The illuminations penned by the monks were just so beautiful, and the Gregorian chants nearly other worldly.

    As for recordings of old London, now I can't remember if I read and heard it from you or from BBC News. (My mind's never been the same since my concussion!) There was a gentleman who recorded his family singing Christmas carols 100 years ago. It's remarkable and quite chill-inducing hearing these children, long gone, brought back to life singing.

    Your photos are lovely, whatever camera you've been taking them with. We've been having magnolia blooms like yours here too. And that eastern minaret of a stamen is wonderful to view up close!

    I'm quite impressed with your niece. I've tried figure skating and while I can move about the ice, I never quite got the hang of the turns. It is so different from ballet turns! Whereas ballerinas spot to avoid being dizzy, figure skaters "zone out". It scares me to death!

    Hope you are feeling much better after your antibiotics. Oh, and to answer your question on my blog, I just took hundreds of photos during our vacation. It was only when I was looking at my albums last week that the idea for stringing them together in a story came to me. I cannot claim to be original though. We found families/kids doing a Revolutionary Quest around Williamsburg. In fact, that torn up letter was the final clue in their quest. They had one half in hand, the other was meant to be discovered at the Public Gaol, as the photo showed.

    - Jenny

  43. Oh, what a gift that faint rainbow!! And what a brilliant idea collecting sounds from the past. We are used to thinking about historic buildings and writings … but just sounds (without the visuals) can be so telling.

  44. Love your observation that your phone camera has never been quite the same since you dropped it down the loo! Such variety in your post here: my particular favourite is the hooded stone carving looming over unaware passers-by, as well as the picture of those gorgeous purple posies.

    I have a similar weird "bug" that comes and goes in the form of a stuffy nose and sore throat, without ever quite turning into anything more identifiable. I'm thinking it could be some sort of seasonal allergy.

  45. I'm glad to hear you sounding better. Great photos-that last is almost exactly the same view as the cross stitch of the canal. Gorgeous magnolias.

  46. Oh, that must have been some gig. I have been to Borough a couple of times, the latest one was daytime and to the market. Fantastic place. I can only imagine what that pub was like that the night you went. London, London, it's such an enchanting city, I can't get enough of my adopted home. Many thanks for your beautiful post.

    Greetings from London.

  47. What a wonderful, newsy post! I got to listening to several recordings, too, on that link. Very interesting. I hope you are feeling better soon. There was a miserable cold going around here this past winter where people were sick for a month or more sometimes--usually coughing, too. Take care. I'm glad your family house sold and can be filled with new life. :)

  48. I hope you've mamaged to shake of the lurgy. Seems to be a lot of them about this year. A lovely series of photos with equally lovely tales. And how fitting to see a rainbow out of the window as you left the family home. It is like saying farewell see you again soon somehow.

  49. Goodness, you make me homesick for England! (I know England is not my home so I shouldn't feel that way, but I really do!)
    Here's some advice...stop dropping things down the loo! :-)

    Lovely rainbow, it's a sign to you, you know. Everything will be fine, that's a promise.

  50. Yes, I loved the coke bottles too. The Folklore Society sounds fascinating. I do hope you feel better soon. x

  51. I never heard of the London Dungeon before (looked it up now) but the creepy hooded Thing looks very much like a Dementor from the Harry Potter films. Wonder if that's where J.K.R. got her inspiration from...??

  52. Considering that you are/have been poorly you don’t half go at it!
    All those lovely outings, each one more exciting - if different - than the next. I love your London sights, so much more interesting than the touristy ones. I really must come up soon to my old stamping grounds. Kenwood, that wonderful place, where we spent many happy days. Is the coffee shop/restaurant still there?

  53. Thank you for the wonderful comments. Friko, the restaurant is still there but the house is being renovated.

    Dawntreader, I had not thought of that!

    I am so pleased you got to listen to the recordings, Mac n Janet and Rita. I spent ages listening to them too - some of them are amazing.

    Lynne and e, I rckon this is a bug going round, so many people have it and it lasts for a month or more. Antibiotics can help if it starts to go to your chest or the cough gets too bad though.

    Yes, Jenny I am afraid they might be demolishing the hooded thing. I always liked that group of buildings, it was a bit of old London. But I suppose the new rail line will be useful - sigh! Yes, hope you do more "story posts" on your blog,it is a really good idea! I must look up the recording of the Christmas carols, I would love to hear it. Those old recordings can be slightly strange to listen to can't they. I feel that way looking at old films of 100 years ago and knowing everyone in them is now dead....

    Jeanie, it would be a pleasure to take you round if you come to London, I hope you do! :)

    A toast to you too, Klahanie!

    And thanks to everyone else who commented, I always read the comments with great interest, guess everyone loves to do that with their comments actually...

  54. By the way, Rose (from Oz) can you send me the link because I can no longer access your blog when I look for it.


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