Monday, 20 July 2009

Blondes and more blondes.

I just had to share these photos with you. At my recent visit to the first test at Lords we were wandering around during the teatime interval and came across these lovely ladies at the NPower tent. I have never seen so many blondes in the same place at the same time. I have to admit that they did turn my head.

Afterwards we were trying to come up with a suitable collective noun for a group of blondes. The best we could come up with was a 'peroxide of blondes'. Has anyone got a better description?

Friday, 17 July 2009

Value for money?

Yesterday I went to Lords cricket ground in London to watch the Test match between England and Australia (more about that in a later missive). However two instances brought it home to me how much hotels and bars in London take advantage of their customers.

Whilst waiting to meet my fellow cricket pals and catch the train into London I decided to treat myself to breakfast at one of our local cafes. Being brave and putting any health concerns on hold I ordered the full English breakfast. This consisted of two rashers of bacon, two sausages, baked beans, fried egg, fried bread, coffee and toast. Fantastic, and all for less than £5.00. Excellent value for money I thought and very tasty!

My hearty English breakfast

Compare this to my experience at lunchtime in London in a very mediocre bar in a large hotel close to Lords cricket ground. Ordering just an ordinary (and foul tasting) beer together with a gin and tonic, I was astounded to be charged £12.15! I appreciate that London is more expensive than elsewhere but I think that this is an absolute rip off. What do you think?

I nearly fell off my bar stool whenI got this bill for just two drinks.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Walking the Wey.

Newark Lock on the canal.

Carrying on my theme of walking the locality and seeing things that you would not normally see, I went on a walk through the villages of Ripley and Pyrford taking in part of the Wey navigation canal on the way. The navigation has much history being officially opened in 1653. For nearly 200 years the Wey Navigation route linked the area with London, until it was superseded by the railway. The canal by providing almost 20 miles (32 kilometres) of navigable water connecting the county with London, ensured that Surrey became one of the wealthiest and most influential areas in Britain. A legacy of the navigation canal are the towpaths that were built for the horses, carters, and bow-haulers that used to work the river and it was along these that I walked early one morning.
Narrow boats moored along the canal bank.

Even at an early hour there was activity on the waterway. I encounted several joggers, various dog walkers and the odd angler. Along this stretch of the canal many narrowboats are moored and as I walked several passed me going up and down stream. This part of the canal system is owned and maintained by The National Trust and everything is kept in fantastic order for the enjoyment of everyone who cares to walk the towpath.
The 'Anchor' pub at Pyrford lock.

Alongside the Wey Navigation Canal set amongst water meadows are the remains of Newark Priory. The priory was founded in the early 12th century by Augustinian Canons, or ‘Black Canons’ with descriptive reference to the black hooded cloaks and cassocks they wore. The Priory in its heyday was a significant complex of buildings surrounding an important church. The Black Canons went on to found the St Thomas’ and St Bartholomews’ hospitals in London.
The ruins of Newark Priory

The priory, which at its peak was home to a community of 200, fell into ruins after it was sacked on the orders of Henry VIII at the Dissolution, and having been systematically stripped for building materials over the ensuing centuries all that now remains is part of the great church.

Just up a hill from the priory is the delightful 12th century Church of St. Nicholas with its tranquil interior and original red ochre frescoes. Built of ‘puddingstone’ and dressed with ‘clunch’ the church’s wall paintings depict scenes from the flagellation and the Passion c.1200. The Church of St.Nicholas was built around 1140 AD and is a fine example of a complete Norman church. Just out of interest the name Pyrford originates from the ancient Saxon language ‘pyrianforde’ meaning a ford by a pear tree or orchard. On a personal level this is the church where I got married!
The 12th century church of St. Nicholas at Pyrford.

An English scene - cricket on Ripley village green.