This is the Albert Memorial in London’s Kensington Gardens. It was commissioned by Queen Victoria in memory of her husband Prince Albert, who died in 1861 aged only 42. As you can see, it was a gloomy English summer day when I took these photos, and Albert’s extensive gilding was by far the brightest thing around. I was attending two Proms at the Royal Albert Hall (just across the road) that day.
There are few more pleasant ways to spend a summer’s evening in London than visiting the riverside pubs at Hammersmith.
Heading west from Hammersmith Bridge, the first pub you come to is the Blue Anchor. First licensed as a pub in 1722, this one has been around a while. (about the pub) It featured in the film ‘Sliding Doors’ with John Hannah and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Separated from the Blue Anchor by only a rowing club, the next pub is the Rutland Arms. It dates to ‘only’ the mid 1800s, and was damaged in World War II. I have no idea who the eponymous Rutland family is or was. I wonder how they feel (would have felt) about having a pub named after them?
This building below isn’t a pub, but it’s along the same stretch of riverside. I’ve always thought it would be a marvellous place to live. Far beyond my means, sadly!
It’s a short stroll to the next cluster of pubs, following the Thames beside parks, houses and flats, and canal boats.
And here is The Dove, dating to the 17th century. (about the pub) The riverside terrace is ideal when the weather is warm, and the cosy low-ceiled rooms are welcoming when it’s cold. If you’re lucky you can squeeze into “the snug”, a tiny alcove that the Guinness Book of World Records verified as the smallest bar room in the world — it only holds three or four people.
Another short stroll brings you to the Old Ship.
And finally we have the Black Lion. This pub has a large beer garden with picnic tables for those summer days. I actually prefer being inside at the Black Lion, snuggled into the large leather armchairs — on a late afternoon in winter, as the night draws in early and the cold wind rattles the outside world, sitting here beside the fire makes everything a little bit better.
I think the air bubbles clinging to this stem are fascinating. In the cropped version above, I’m reminded of an octopus. Below is the larger view.
19 October is Global Champagne Day 2018, tuck in!
The Great Pagoda at Kew Gardens in London has recently been restored to its 18th century splendour — that’s the wording of the website, by the way. The restoration included the return of 80 dragons on the roofs, each carved from wood and gilded with gold.
Here are two shots of the Pagoda itself, in which you can make out the dragons once you know that’s what the things sticking out from the roofs are!
One a recent visit to Paris, I was struck by the quantity of gilding flashing in the light. I didn’t remember there being quite so much gold on previous visits! These two photos are of two of the four statues that sit at the corners of the Alexandre III bridge over the Seine. “Four gilt-bronze statues of Fames watch over the bridge, supported on massive 17 metres (56 ft) masonry socles [that] are crowned by Fames restraining Pegasus.” (source) I was confused by these “Fames”, and another wikipedia entry says, “In Greek mythology, Pheme (Roman equivalent: Fama) was the personification of fame and renown, her favour being notability, her wrath being scandalous rumours.”