Saturday, 12 May 2012

Chester - Tudor and Roman meet 2012


I spent the last full day of my holiday in the ancient Roman town of Chester. It is a living history lesson to walk through Chester's main streets. Tudor buildings sport modern signs and the old and new merge together. The stunning clock in the picture above sits on a bridge with its four faces keeping watch over the town.

Chester High Street

Wander along the side streets and you will find more Tudor buildings selling fast food and leaning on their stilt like legs. They seem to whisper of Roman Soldiers marching over the cobblestones on their endless journey to conquer the world. A few minutes away crowds at Chester Racecourse shout for the winner of today's Gold Cup Race. Chester has been drawing crowds through the ages, to see its Roman Walls, Tudor houses, Zoo, Racecourse and Cathedral. It has good shops and tiny resturants with big names.

Follow the signs and steps away from the bustle of the streets Chester Cathedral can be found looming up to the skyline. It is magnificent do go and see it if you are in Chester.

Stained Glass Cathedral Window

This is just one of the many beautiful stained glass windows in the Cathedral. There are so many surprisingly lovely things to see. From arches to marble tombs, a hidden garden and a one thousand pipe organ. It costs £6 to enter the Cathedral but it is money well spent. Light a candle in the tiny St. Stephens Chapel or see the mermaid fountain in the garden.  Listen to the commentary on head phones and sit on the benches where nobles nodded their heads in prayer. Then have a coffee in the Cathedral Cafe and wonder at the number of saints along the walls their halos faded but their names still clear,

Chester Cathedral

Inside Chester Cathedral

Cathedral Doorway

I have left the North now and will be back writing about London from Monday. I am going to St Pauls Cathedral to see the Dalia Lama presented with a peace prize. I look forward to writing about that.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

A Tourist in Wales for a Weekend

Beaumaris Castle

 I have been in North Wales and its such and interesting beautiful place. I hope you find it pleasant to leave the city and visit the sites with me. 

Beaumaris Castle in Anglesey was built in 1295 by King Edward 1. It is one of the best preserved Castle in North Wales.
This is the only Castle to have its original moat and is now a World Heritage Site. It overlooks the wild Menai Straits near Bangor North Wales.

You can take a boat trip from the waterside to nearby Puffin Island but the weather has to be calm. Today the wind and rain lashed the water and ensured only the bravest fishermen went out to sea. Tourists like me were left vowing to come back another day to visit the Puffins and walk through the history of Beaumaris once again. The town itself is pretty, tiny tearooms sit next to practical shoe shops, and bakeries sell pretty cakes and pies. 
It is one of the few places that find me looking at the house prices and staking out where I would love to live. It is out of my price range but then William and Kate have made Angelesey very popular. It is certainly a very lovely part of the country.

Beaumaris Castle

Beaumaris castle.

A Transport Fair was held near Llandudno North Wales


A huge transport fair covered acres of land during the recent bank Holiday Weekend. The collections of old cars was a walk down memory lane when the Cortina, Mini Van or Capri sat gleaming in a row. These are the cars you coveted as your moped stalled at the traffic lights.


How about a V.Wagon Beetle you know you have always wanted one. This is a real classic.

No trip to North Wales is complete for me unless I go to Conwy. I like to wander near the harbour then buy fish and chips and sit near the smallest house in Britian which is on the quayside.

The seagulls swoop hopefully down and the castle walls spread around the town. The harbour is crowded with small boats and time seems to merge easily between the past and the present. I can picture the knights in their armour and the hawks as they eye their unsuspecting prey and the horses when they rode at speed with their messengers aboard. North Wales is enchanting and its castles are where fairy tales are born.

Conwy Castle Bridge

Monday, 7 May 2012

Street Art and Music

Floor Painter
Dedicated Busker near London Eye

Pianist Busker on South Bank London

On a day when the weather is being nice to us all what could be better than walking along the South Bank and watching the buskers.
The variety of music and the skill of the players is enchanting. The Pianist above played music from the old dance halls and feet tapped to the beat. She looked like she had walked straight out of a different era to remind us of a time when front rooms contained pianos not play stations.

The skill of the floor painter and the patience she needed to complete her complex picture in chalk was humbling. She had no control over the amount, if any, of coins people would pay her for her work. The rain could come and steal her hours of love and wash it into the Thames.

While you are on the South Bank try the Skylon Restaurant it has set menus or you can choose a carvery and the upstairs seating looks out over the Thames. It is particularly lovely in the evening when the riverside buildings are lit and boats twinkle up the Thames.