Monday, August 25, 2014

Bertie's Grand Day Out

As anyone who reads our blog will know, Bertie Boo is a regular feature - he's our gorgeous Springer Spaniel who we love dearly (those who have pets will understand this blog better than some).  Boo hasn't been well over the past few weeks and on Saturday we got the news that we'd been dreading and that is due to an aggressive cancer he will only be with us for a short time.  As you can imagine there were lots of tears in the vets but I have to say that Reena broke the news to us better than some human doctors would.

Bertie is twelve and a half and I like to think that we've given him a nice family and home life.  After we received the news we went to Harris & Hoole in Rickmansworth for a drink and so that Bertie could get some fuss from the staff in there - it's such a nice coffee shop and I love that they allow dogs.

Having cuddles in Harris & Hoole

That afternoon the three of us had been invited to a birthday party and despite our mood we decided to still go - it was the correct decision as Bertie loved all the attention and as the birthday boy is a mad dog person as well, there were lots of dog treats to tempt our poorly boy with, and he got to sniff lots of other dogs bottoms.  The birthday cake was amazing - designed off a photo of their dog Orinoco.

One of the first things I said when we got the bad news was that we needed to take Bertie to the seaside.  He loves getting wet and we're sure he's half water spaniel, so on Sunday we headed to Hunstanton in Norfolk - only a three hour drive, during which both Bertie and I slept.  I think Bertie knows that we're pampering him as when I told him to get in the car, for the first time ever he jumped in the front seat and curled up as if he belonged there.

The beach at Hunstanton is a huge sandy one and dogs are allowed - there were dogs of every shape and size enjoying themselves along with lots of people relaxing at the beach.  I think everyone is taking advantage of the last bits of summer.

Once we let Boo off the lead he was in the water and then he headed off to who knows where - I forgot to mention that he's a little deaf, has poor sight, and we're sure he has a bit of dementia setting in.  So with all that, he wasn't returning to us and seemed to think we were another couple that were further on.  Luckily Ken had forgotten his phone, otherwise you would have a very comical video of me running (yes, I'm as shocked as you are) in the water to try and catch up to him, and Bertie giving me the slip on several occasions.  It was only when he stopped to try and get another dogs ball that I managed to grab him.

After I'd caught him and reattached the lead we both went for a wander in the sea - it's very shallow for quite a way.

Bertie got to sniff and be sniffed by lots of dogs including a very cute Cocker Spaniel and a gorgeous French Bulldog - he also got put in his place by a Boxer who dunked him under the water.  Once we were sure he knew where we were we let him off the lead again and then him and his daddy had some fun.

Now I know it looks like Ken is highland dancing, but he's actually throwing things for Bertie
A very mucky pup who decided to roll in the sand when he came out of the water
When we got back to the car it was time to dry Bertie off before going onwards - I think he suits the towel turban look.

We drove to Ely to find somewhere to eat that was dog friendly.  We found a lovely hotel/pub that allowed Bertie Boo in and after not eating for the last week he helped me eat my ham that I ordered.

After our meal we went for a wander around the outside of Ely Cathedral - it looks an amazing building and we will definitely be coming back to look at the inside.  Here's a few shots from the area.

My two favourite men
 So that was our Bertie's Grand Day Out - we may not have many more but that day is a memory  we'll  treasure.

Until next time, be good, keep smiling, and if you have pets make sure that you give them an extra hug today.

Pamela & Ken

P.S:  Another shot of our gorgeous Bertie Boo

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The old and the new of St Pancras

Earlier this week we were watching Who Do You Think You Are which featured Brian Blessed researching his family tree.  During the show he went to a church behind St Pancras station in London and both Ken and I commented on how lovely it looked - so no time like the present, today we went off in search of St Pancras Old Church.

As we alighted from the underground at Kings Cross we decided to first pay a visit to St Pancras International - the new of the title.  This is the station that Eurostar leaves from and is a beautiful old building being used for a very modern purpose.

Here are a few shots showing the magnificent outside of the station........

Inside there are people everywhere with cases either arriving or heading off for romantic trysts in the city of lights - I like to imagine that's what anyone going to Paris is doing.  It's a huge space and when it was built in the late 1800's it was the largest enclosed space in the world! 

The metal arches that make up the building are really pretty as is the stonework - everywhere you look there are details that make you realise how great the architects of the past were.

I love how the modern and the old sit side by side and look like they were meant to be that way.  There are several statues and art installations - the one I most wanted to see was the Lizard People.  It's a statue, by Paul Day, of two lovers meeting at the station but because of their eyes they often get called the Lizard people - here's a coupe of shots, you decide for yourself.

It's a very large statue and all around the base are amazing carvings of life in Britain over the years - here's a couple of sections that we liked.

There's also a lovely statue of John Betjeman, the poet whom Ken is a big fan of.  Along the walk way there are also excerpts from some of his writing carved into stone and set in the floor.  It's a really lovely tribute.

In the station there is lots of hustle and bustle but there are also a couple of old pianos just sat there for anyone to play, and both were being played by passer-by's and both were very good.

So as we don't dent our reputation for coffee and cake we headed into the Fortnum and Mason outlet to treat ourselves - very nice it was too.

We then left the station and headed off to find the church - it wasn't too much of a walk and it was definitely worth it.  It's a small church but quite a significant one - it sits on a site that has seen Christian worship there since the 4th century and is still very much an active church, with services every Sunday and during the week.  We were lucky enough to arrive when no one else was there so one of the volunteers gave us a talk about the history of the current building and the ones that have gone before.

The Churchyard is beautiful with some wonderful tombs and headstones - yes, wonderful.  A couple of famous people buried there are Sir John Soanes, architect, and Mary Wollstonecraft who was a staunch supporter of women's rights and wrote books on the subject, and her daughter Mary went on to write Frankenstein.

The Soane's tomb which Sir John designed himself

Mary Wollstonecraft's tomb
Another great feature of the graveyard is the Hardy Tree - the Victorians needed to clear part of the churchyard for a train line and at the time Thomas Hardy the author was working there as a junior surveyor and he was given the job of moving the graves.  He placed the headstones around the base of a tree and they now look like they have always been there, like a weird stone root system for the tree - I loved it.

Here's a few more shots from around the churchyard........

As we were walking back to the station I managed to find a lovely cat to have a chat to, but to begin with he was a little bit preoccupied trying to catch a pigeon, or maybe just trying to convince himself that one day he will take the final leap and catch one.  Once the pigeon had flown off we were able to have a natter.

Cat and pigeon facing off
We also came across this great artwork on the outside of a building behind the station - once again showing what amazing things you can discover if you go slightly off the expected route.

Just as we were about to go back into the station we noticed these fabulous dragons carved into the building above our heads.  Such incredible details on this gorgeous old building.

So that was our visit to St Pancras - so much to explore and see in such a small area.  I would definitely recommend a visit to St Pancras Old Church - it's open every day, and lets hope that the next time my beloved and I are at St Pancras International we'll be being whisked away by Eurostar for one of those romantic trysts.

Until next time, be good, keep smiling, and have a closer look at the area you live in as you might just be surprised by what you see.

Pamela & Ken