Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Be careful how you live.....

We were walking through Rickmansworth Churchyard today, as you do, when I noticed the above epitaph on the grave of a couple that died in the mid 1800's at relatively young ages of 39 & 45 (though maybe not that young for that era). In case you can't read it, it says:

Stay mortal stay as you go alone
One moment stay to read this stone
Death did to us short warning give
Therefore be careful how you live.

They're words to take heed of in a world where so many people don't stop to enjoy the things in life that truly make them happy. We all need things that make us happy and restore our inner sense of self - and things that remind us not to take ourselves too seriously.

What makes me smile?? I'm sure if you've read any of my posts you'll know that my beloved is top of that list - my gorgeous, silly, generous, best friend.

And yes, next on that list are our furbies - when you feel down a cuddle with the brats or Bertie Boo can make everything feel better.

After that, family and friends (many who are practically family) and just lots of everyday things that many people don't realise are special until it's too late. For example, finding silliness in unusual places.

My favourite road sign in the world - Northwest coast of Tasmania
How could you not smile at a hedgehog?
Likewise - sheep are definitely smile inducing
Take a moment and think about what's important to you, and then make time for that over the next week - it doesn't have to be big or grand, sometimes it's just having a latte with a good friend that can make everything right with the world.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and make sure you smile.

Pamela and Ken

Monday, April 21, 2014

Seeing how the other half live at Harrods

After leaving Kensington Gardens (see previous post) we decided to go 'window' shopping in Harrods - it's nice to do just for the spectacle.

The store opened in 1849 and now has over 15 million customers a year - I'm sure quite a few of them are tourists like us (yes, we will always be tourists as neither of us are English).

The area around Harrods is always busy and yesterday there was a band performing outside so there was even more people around.

The store is so beautiful inside, with carved ceilings, statues, and amazing chandeliers in some of the rooms. The staff are immaculate, very helpful, and so polite.

Cosmetics was the first area we walked into - all fresh flowers and the lighting fixture is fab
The food halls are incredible and what always amazes us is that for some people (very rich people) Harrods is their regular food store. I just love how well laid out all the food is and it all looks scrummy - especially the cakes and chocolates. Here's a selection of pictures I took.

These are really lovely containers full of tea

As it was Easter there were lots of chocolate eggs for sale - these were the most impressive with the two smaller ones costing £300 each and the middle one was £600.

I also really liked these cute little cakes - bunny rabbits in their beds.

In the fine jewellery and watches department I discovered very quickly that you're not allowed to take pictures - I thought I was being very subtle but I was soon pounced upon by a lovely young man. I was trying to take a picture of a watch - it was lovely with a purple band and lots of diamonds, but not too blingy - it was only £300,000!!

We had a chat with one of the ladies behind the jewellery counters and discovered that the store is closed on only two days of the year - Easter Sunday and Christmas day. At least there's still two days that are sacred in the year.

Whilst we were there we decided to be extravagant and treat ourselves to an ice cream sundae, but not just any sundae, a Harrods special. We had to queue for a little while as the ice cream parlour was very popular, but it was well worth the wait. It was opposite the pizza bar which had a singing chef - as he made the pizzas he sang opera.

Our sundae came complete with four flavours of ice cream, banana, strawberries, cream, chocolate sauce, and to top it all off, dry ice - it was fantabulous.

Here's a few more shots from around the store so that you can imagine what it's like to be there.

Ornate fish tank

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A visit to Kensington Gardens

Today we decided to continue the theme of the last couple of posts with more fun in the sun, but first, what better way to start the day than going to Harris and Hoole for brunch - they do porridge with your choice of toppings so of course I went for chocolate drops.

We then hopped on the train and headed into London, getting off at Marylebone. The bike stand at the station is packed full of all sorts of bikes.

We took a meandering route through the streets as it's the best way to come across unusual and beautiful sights. I love trying to find out the history of the old buildings we see. Some lovely ones we came across were labelled 'the Oxford Cambridge Mansions' - I can't find out much but they were built in 1885 and when I was doing a search on them I found a one bedroom flat for sale for the very 'low' price of £850,000!!

Here's a few more interesting buildings we passed on the way to the gardens.

This pub looked really inviting but we didn't stop - loved the sign, and loved the use of an old barbecue as a planter.

Next shot is just for the Taswegians reading this.

We made it to Kensington Gardens and for probably the first time ever I was glad that Ken isn't very quick with his phone camera - we were taking a shortcut by climbing through a  fence when I lost my balance and was sort of hanging in a very unladylike position. Did my beloved help me, no as he was laughing nearly as much as me - we did get quite a few looks.

The gardens are really glorious at present and there were lots of people out and about.
They cover 242 acres and there were lots of picnics and games going on throughout.

One of the attractions in the gardens is a statue of Peter Pan. The statue was a gift from Sir James Barrie (author of Peter Pan) and was placed in the park in 1912.

There are quite a few statues/sculptures in and around the park - here's a small selection.

Bears hugging - cute
Heads without brains - profound
Well dressed man - gorgeous
Pan chasing people and a dog - odd
The Serpentine Gallery sits within the Gardens and there is an exhibition on which these rocks are part of - if I remember correctly they're meant to represent stability and instability, balance and imbalance, and a lot more phrases which just sounded like a bunch of hokem (to quote the Big Bang Theory). They just look like a couple of rocks to me.

Running through the park is an area for riding horses - yes, I was as surprised as you when I first found out that people have horses in London.

There are lots of beautiful birds (feathered) including a coot on it's very fine nest and a very fancy mandarins duck.

The flower borders next to the roads are really lovely and I had to take a picture of this one as it's so purple.

I hope you've enjoyed our visit to Kensington Gardens - it's not the end of our day but I'm breaking it up as we did quite a lot (don't worry, there is a spectacular latte break in part two - it involves dry ice!).

Until then, be good and enjoy life.

Pamela and Ken

P.S: Final shot - funky lamppost we came across.