Sunday, October 19, 2014

Nottingham (5) - oddments and sodments

A nurses' home built as a memorial to 'those sailors, soldiers and nurses of this city and county who gave their lives in the Great War'.

A couple of snaps for the colour that's in them -

No wander round the city centre would be complete without Cloughie.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Nottingham (4) Castle and Rock

 Nottingham Castle was built in William the Conqueror’s time, high on Castle Rock. The Norman castle is no longer there, but there is a 17th century ducal mansion built on the site of the original castle.  It is now the city's main museum and art gallery. We didn't visit, so on the list it goes!
The rock is formed of Nottingham Castle Sandstone, a pale brownish sandstone that is about 65 metres thick in the Nottingham area.  
It is soft and crumbly and easy to dig out.  Caves and tunnels in Castle Rock have been used as stables, tanneries, storage cellars for beer, and as homes. There are more caves in Nottingham than in any other British city, and all are man made. 
This is part of a restored Victorian fern garden

 I didn’t take a tour this time, but they take you from the Castle, down into King David’s dungeon and Mortimer’s Hole. The tour includes 300 steps.

Brewhouse Yard 

Nearby is the Museum of Nottingham Life at Brewhouse Yard.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Nottingham (3) - some olde innes and the like

The first one, The Royal Children, is not so old(e), but it amused me, especially with the group nearby. It is said to be named after the children of Princess Anne, daughter of James II. She took refuge in the area in 1688. Here's the story in more detail.
 The one below claims to be very old.

 The Trip to Jerusalem is one of the most famous . . .

The last one is not a pub at all, but Severn's House, a merchant's house, which was moved from its original site in 1969. For more info click here

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Nottingham above eye level (2)

Once I started looking upwards,  I was captivated by central Nottingham's rich selection of carvings and decorated buildings, many from Victorian times.

Here are just a few.  The ones below are on the building which is now The Major Oak pub.

The doorway shown below, of Cleaves Hall student accommodation is dated AD 1883.

Nearby there is a sinister looking cow's skull.
Near the Old Market Place, behind Brian Clough's statue is a fine building, now a Brazilian restaurant.

The detail above the main entrance is dated AD 1848

These buildings are surely the expression of a wealthy and self-confident town.

Nottingham curiosities

1. Above eye level

In Victoria Street. The clock was made by the firm of G & F Cope and Co, for the ironmongers who owned the shop in about 1950.  It was later restored, and according to an article in the Lenton Times was in full working order in 1982. Alas it seems to have been stopped now - one face read 4 o'clock and the other face 2.25.
At one time the two blacksmiths would strike the anvil every quarter hour.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

The Legion of Honor - Fine Art Museum, San Francisco

Set high on a hill in Lincoln Park, overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, this building is worth a visit just for its situation.

In front of it a circular pond with fountain and flower beds, including a flower which always says San Fran to me - the agapanthus.
You enter through this archway.
The exhibition rooms are spacious and well set out, and you have plenty of time to wander and absorb, and wander back again.  We spent two or three hours there - including a somewhat overpriced veggie-burger for lunch - I guess this made up for the entrance price of a mere $5 each.

The paintings cover European Art.  Highlights for me (among many):
The Merry Company by Gaspare Traversi

The Fortune Teller by Jacques-Louis David

A portrait by Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun

Sarah Bernhardt - Jules Bastien-Lepage

Snow Effect, Damvillers - Jules Bastien-Lepage

Mother and child - Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Many of the paintings etc from the museum are online here .  
Outside again we noticed this plaque - reminder to self, look her up!

Finally a view of the famous bridge as we walked down the Camino del Mar.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mount Diablo

A visit by car to Mount Diablo, 3,849 feet high, and standing high above the surrounding low hills and flat valleys. The view is fantastic on all sides, though it is said to be at its best in winter and early spring after a storm has cleared the air. 
Looking roughly southwest
The view towards the north

The summit beacon used to be used for navigation, but is now lit only to commemorate Pearl Harbor Day in December.
The view from Diablo Valley Overlook, looking to the west
One of the weird eroded rock formations of Rock City
Looking back to the summit

A day out in the car . . . there are lots of walking trails, but not a lot of shade and shelter. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

This is the life

We indulge in a lazy morning, as a few scraps of high cloud chalk their way across the constant blue.
We're running out of clothes so we put a wash on.  Harry goes out to buy a card adapter for his phone and comes back with large blueberry scones.
We have a leisurely coffee - with the scones, then we are off to meet the family at Heather Farm Pool in Walnut Creek. It's an easy journey by car, much shorter than our excursion by  bus and BART last Wednesday.
A good soaking is had by all, before Brian gathers the clan and they head for home.
Harry decides to get used to US driving again and we follow the Ygnacio Valley Way out of Walnut Creek, past Shadelands and into Concord, then over the hills to Pittsburg, which must be one of the ugliest places around - full of wind turbines, a power plant, and a neighbourhood of grotty looking houses. OK, maybe I exaggerate a little.
At all events we elect not to stop for lunch here. We find our way  back to the correct road, then join the Ca 24 which brings us back to Lafayette.

A large cup of tea later, we head out in search of easy eating, and after a stroll to test the taste of the main street we end up at an American diner with veg and polenta and fried egg. With fries on the side. The veg seems to be rather coarse kale, but the waiter is very friendly and we're  hungry.
We swill it all down with a coffee, pay the bill and walk back through the balmy streets. It feels rather like Spain on a late summer evening.
Lots of outdoor socialising and dining, adults and children, all pretty relaxed.