Big Ship !!!


HMS Queen Elizabeth – Seen exiting Portsmouth Harbour

Earlier this month I became aware that HMS Queen Elizabeth was due to sail from Portsmouth Harbour after a short provisioning visit.

The Queen Elizabeth class is a class of two aircraft carriers in the  Royal Navy. The first, HMS Queen Elizabeth, was commissioned on 7 December 2017. The second, HMS Prince of Wales was commissioned on 10 December 2019.

My wife and I took a wander along Southsea sea front to take a look. As we had been in Australia for the previous seven months and had only just recently returned, this was our first opportunity to view this huge vessel.

We found a seat right by Southsea Castle, providing us with the ideal viewpoint to watch HMS Queen Elizabeth and her escorts head out into the Solent.

Here are just a few of the photos that I took on a lovely, sunny afternoon.

Hinton Ampner House


Earlier this year we took a day trip, out into the countryside, with our heavily pregnant granddaughter. We ended in the grounds of the National Trust house, Hinton Ampner.

From the National Trust website ….

This elegant country manor and tranquil garden sit so harmoniously within the landscape that one cannot exist without the other.

The house was lovingly rebuilt by its last owner, Ralph Dutton, after a catastrophic fire in 1960. Enjoy the beautifully proportioned rooms which house his exquisite collection of ceramics and art, each window offering undisturbed views to the tranquil countryside beyond.

Beautifully manicured lawns lead the eye down avenues of sculptured topiary, past borders full of the heady scent of roses, to breathtaking views across the South Downs.

National Trust

We enjoyed walking the grounds and hopefully the following images will give you a flavour of this beautiful property.

Sadly due to my granddaughter not feeling very well we had to cut short our visit. We, therefore, were not able to see the inside of the house.

The good news is that this place is only a short drive away, so we will be back.

Giants


Earlier this year I took a bit of a trip down memory lane and somehow ended up in the Sussex village of Brede. Now Brede is just a couple of miles up the road from my home in Westfield, another Sussex village. My mates and I used to take off on our bikes, with our fishing rods, and spend the day along the banks of the Brede River. What we never knew was, that less than half a mile away, as the crow flies, there were giants !!!

Of course, these aren’t the mythological giants of legend. These giants are of the steam variety. As pre-teenage kids we were totally unaware of the wonders that were working so hard just a short distance away.

The “giants” were two Tangye engines with their associated pumps which were installed in 1904, and a third manufactured by Worthington Simpson , added in 1940. All three units operated until the end of steam in 1964. 

The water, pumped by these giants, was drawn from large wells penetrating the rock (Ashdown Sandstone aquifer) beneath the River Brede. It was purified and then pumped into service reservoirs on The Ridge above Hastings for distribution by gravity via the pipe networks serving Hastings.

Of course, there is more here than just the “giant” steam engines. There are many other steam pumps and engines. Some were originally from this site. Others have been donated from further afield. The folks that work here are all volunteers and they work very hard to maintain a working display of this old technology.

Also on this site there are artifacts from more recent years, from the time of the cold war. There is nuclear bunker, one of three built by Southern Water as an emergency control centre to become operational in the event of nuclear war. It was never completed and work on the bunker appears to have stopped in 1992.

Following our visit to Brede Water Works we headed up to Brede village for a bite to eat and not before long we were sat in the beer garden at the rear of the Red Lion pub.

The Red Lion is a family run 15th Century pub serving an interesting range of freshly cooked dishes. The menu features locally caught fish from Hastings & Rye, meat from Hastings, locally sourced & homegrown fruit & vegetables and wild mushrooms foraged in Brede High Woods.

Here I had one of the best seafood platters, ever. With some of the home made “Brede Bread” on the side.

Just round the corner from the Red Lion is St. Georges church.

St. Georges has quite a history. Here is just a short piece that I have quoted from their own website.

In about 1017, soon after his marriage to Emma of Normandy, King Canute granted a land called ‘Rammesleah’ to the Abbey at Fecamp in Normandy. Construction of the present church in around 1180 was probably funded by the Abbott of Fecamp. Until 1413 Brede remained under the domination of the Abbey and the parish was served by its Benedictine monks until ‘alien’ (foreign) priories were dissolved buring the reign of King Henry VIII.

The name of the village is first found in a charter of c1030 and comes from Olde English ‘bredu’ meaning breadth’ referring to the wide river to the south.

The River Brede later took it’s name from the village.

The Church is dedicated to St. George, probably a soldier martyred in Palestine in the early 4th century. Besides also being Patron Saint of England he is remembered above all for the legend of ‘St. George and the Dragon’. There is a window dedicated to him at the west end of the north aisle and a statue near the altar in the church. Very little of the earlier Norman building remains and the structure of the Church developed over a period of some 400 years from the 12th century onwards.

From the exterior, much of what one sees is 15th century Perpendicular architecture.  The walls were built of local sandstone and ironstone.  High on a buttress near the porch is a brass sundial dated 1826.

Sculpture Park Pleasure


Last Saturday we spent a fabulous few hours, with friends, exploring this sculpture park at Churt in Surrey.

The park comprises some 650 modern and contemporary sculptures displayed throughout ten acres of arboretum and water gardens. To do it justice you really need to have 360 degree vision as you explore the various trails. Not only that, but you also have to remember to look up into the trees as the owners of the park have done a marvelous job, secreting many of the exhibits above ones head or within the shrubs and bushes.

The following photos reflect just a subset of the exhibits on view. Where possible, I have added the name of the piece and that of its creator.

 

As you can see there is a huge variety of styles. Many of the sculptures are totally surreal and many are just beautiful. All provoke thought and some, even with the aid of the guide book, are just plain confusing. Sometimes you need to look behind an exhibit to understand what is going on. They are not always what they seem ….

The following is my own particular favourite …… beautiful.

Paraiso (Paradise) by Rafael Miranda San Juan
Paraiso (Paradise)

Throughout the park there was a recurring humorous theme …… these guys kept popping up, putting a smile on our faces even when theirs were looking a little manic.

And finally, whatever else is said about this park, it’s certainly larger than life.

Oh, and remember, many of these pieces are available to buy…… get your wallets out.

Retirement Lunch


Just to upset you folks out there that haven’t retired yet …… tee hee !

Hopping Hare
Hopping Hare

It’s beer o’clock …. Since the temperatures are rising here in the UK. 30 degC in my conservatory and that’s with the doors and roof windows open.