Remember to click any photo, randomly selected from that day’s events, to see even more!
June 2014 - We spent a week in the Cairngorms near Aviemore, as part of the Surbiton & District Bird Watching Society’s 60th anniversary events. Here are some picture highlights. The holiday was arranged using Speyside Wildlife.
April 13th 2014 - Alice said it was the bluebell season, so we went to Kew Gardens, about our fourth visit this year. Near the cafes it was very busy, but further afield it was quiet and unspoiled.
April 12th 2014 - I was quite keen to explore the area of London between The Boltons and Onslow Square in South Kensington as Sir Charles Freake, builder and philanthropist designed and built many houses in this area. He lived near to our walk and we saw the blue plaque in his honour. (If you have not kept up, his son owned the land on which our house was built.) I had not walked near the national museums in the area for at least twenty years, and I was very impressed with how the area had changed. The large private garden squares were wonderful to see. We were also very impressed by the Michelin Bibendum building. We used our favourite London Footprints web site to guide us around. If you like exploring the city on foot, this site is brilliant. The area between Cromwell Road and Fulham Road has a wide variety of building styles to view on this 3 mile walk from Gloucester Road tube station to South Kensington station. Pictures below.
April 5th 2014 - Looking for something to do locally we decided to visit Wandsworth Cemetery in Earlsfield, near Wimbldeon. Being mostly 20th century it’s not a quaint old historic boneyard, but, sandwiched between the local houses and the railway it provides a peaceful escape. The cherry pink and apple-blossom white trees were at their very best. A grave marker mentioning the Cinderella Dance Hallâ€ in nearby Putney gave us something interesting to research when we got back home. Apparently over 80 people were killed in the early 1940s after a bomb fell on the building. Many of the grave stones looked like open-backed fireplace surrounds, a style which was perhaps unique to a local mason. A ridge running the length of the grounds, parallel to the railway, gave extensive views.
April 1st 2014 - After a very long gap in our trek around the London Loop we returned to our challenge and took a series of trains to Erith, in Kent, very close to my Dartford birthplace, for the nine mile section along the Thames foreshore and across the Crayford Marshes to Bexley. We still have two 13-mile sections to complete north of the river, between Chingford and the Thames, but decided to leave them for longer spring days. Pictures below...
March 29th 2014 - Our first Hampton Court Birdcount of the year, with our friend Thelma. We were disappointed not to see a new brood of heron chicks in the trees to the side of Long Water, but a flock of 10 Eqyptian Goslings was nearly as good. We wonder how many will survive predation on their road to adulthood. The former Tiltyard area is being converted into a Kitchen Garden, for imminent opening, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
March 23rd 2014 - Surbiton & District Birdwatching Society (SDBWS) held a Family Day in Bushy Park and we took part in the first two of four guided walks, below.
March 17th 2014 - After leaving St. Margaret’s Station we explored the leafy avenues between the station and Old Deer Park, where we were amazed to see a very high tide line, left after the recent heavy rain, before crossing the park towards Kew Gardens. The pagoda is currently shrouded in scaffolding. Perhaps renovations will mean I will get a 45-year wish to ascend its height!
March 16th 2014 - A brief visit to Kempton NR, below.
March 2014 - Here is a rare (first?) update from Alice.
”We have been pretty busy here - we went to see and hear Three Bonzos and a Piano, the remnants of The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band of 1960s fame on Thursday - they were pretty good and very lively and played a number of old hits (I'm the Urban Spaceman). They performed from 1930-2220 which was pretty good going. Lots of people in the audience knew all the words to the songs.
ALL FANS OF THE BONZO DOG DOO-DAH BAND WILL BE DELIGHTED TO LEARN THAT BAND MEMBERS ROGER RUSKIN SPEAR (retiring in December 2014!!!!), RODNEY SLATER AND SAM SPOONS HAVE TEAMED UP WITH FOUNDER WHOOPEE BAND CHUM DAVE GLASSON TO CONTINUE CREATING FUN, MUSIC AND MAYHEM IN THE SPIRIT OF THE BONZOS.
On Saturday we went to a music hall evening in the Victorian theatre at Normansfield Hospital (it used to be an institution for mentally disabled people until 1997). We were very impressed by the performers and there were lots of songs we knew including George Formby songs and a very impressive rendition of the William Tell Overture on the banjolele. There were also plenty of double entendres and a magician.
I went to a Philharmonia concert at the Festival Hall on Sunday - a Richard Strauss tone poem that I did not like too much; then Mozart violin concerto #3 and Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition - both of which I did like. The soloist was Esther Yoo in her London concerto debut.â€
March 3rd 2014 - Alice wanted pampering so we went to The Fallow Deer in Teddington for a fancy breakfast of Eggs Benedict followed by super-orangey homemade Jaffa Cakes. We then walked to Teddington Lock, and across Ham Lands, where we met Barnaby, a Falabella horse, and on to Petersham Meadow, before crossing Richmond Bridge and into Marble HIll Park, followed by afternoon cake in Twickenham.
23rd February 2014 - A new bird hide has recently been inaugurated at Kingston Filter Beds.
16th February 2014 - After weeks of wet weather, although not as bad in Teddington as elsewhere in the country we decided to have a close look at the Hampton Court Floods. The moat at the royal palace rarely floods, but I wanted to see it for myself.
11th February 2014 - For her birthday Alice decided that we should visit Westminster Abbey and we toured the whole cathedral, crypt and garden, followed by the inevitable cream tea. I was disappointed that even after paying a high admission charge, photographs were not allowed in the cathedral. Outside in the garden the light was brilliant for pictures of the flying buttresses.
11th February 2014 - Alice's Birthday cake and flowers - pampered as usual!
8th February 2014 - We visited Kew Orchid Festival at this time last year, but decided that we wanted to see it again. We really do recommend it. The staff must work so hard as the display is truly spectacular.
2nd February 2014 - Our first bird club coach outing for some time took us to Frampton Marshes, near Boston, Lincolnshire, near the south west corner of The Wash. After many weeks of rain, we had the most wonderful sunny day, seeing flocks of thousands and thousands of birds.
18th January 2014 - Out first adventure of the year took us to Kew Gardens, where we saw giant toadstools, and the local fire brigade using the treetop walk for abseiling practice!
Our 2013 adventures are here.