Setting Off From Sandwell valley

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Police Duke of Wellington IMAX and Climate Change.

Sound diverse enough for everyone?

Well yesterday I was angry, naive, argumentative and embarassed - all over the £12.50 charge to enter St paul's Cathedral.

Today I'm plain stupid. Went to St james' Park wearing practically everything I've got to keep warm because of the heavy snow. Walked to the said park, singing all the way and sat down on the cafe terrace to write up some notes on the birds to be seen and the history of the park. Over came the boy's in blue PC Alan [Tight lines Mate!] and PC Darren [a man of no hobbies]. they questioned me, took my notebook for a perusal, frisked me and searched my pockets finding my tin of mackeral, tin of pate and a water bottle and had a chat for 15 minutes or so before we wended our way. A couple had seen me writing notes and had reported me to the police. Now it was my fault and at once I can say that thank goodness for our police service. I was wearing my son's army waterproof and green waterproof trousers. With all the undergarments, scarf, coat and notebook etc I must have looked very lumpy. All's well that end's well and if the said lads read this remember my request for the Met' to sponsor me.

Speaking of ...... please do so on :-

RSPB   -



Thanks to Eileen Ellis for her donation today.

By the way - can I count the free-flying greylags? LBB/H/C and BH gulls there and a goldcrest as well as the ducks.

the history? Well it was a pig farm before becoming a leper colony in the 13th Century, with that being the reason it was named St James. Henry VIII bought it as a deer hunting place and James I built a duck decoy for food. Pelicans, those pigeon eating ones of the front pages not so long ago, were given to Charles II by a Russian ambassadour in 1664 and there use to be an aviary.

[See PCs I was writing up bird-related notes!]

Now there is a reed bed growing and it states both reed and sedge warblers can be heard in the Spring.

So chastened I went gingerly past Buckingham palace, with my camouflaged waterproof now removed and found an English heritage site at Wellington Arch, Hyde Park Corner. being a member went in and took a lift to the terrace with its views over London. Monica from Poland let me in.
Displays about the NZ and Australian sacrifice during the World Wars and the memorial outside were read, as well as the display about the history of the monument. It seems that the original Duke of Wellington bronze was too large and heavy so new designs were asked for.

Respect paid to the 100,000 Australians killed during both wars. Horrific figures, especially for WW1 where of 300,000 soldiers from a population then of 5 million, 60,000 were killed and another 150,000 either wounded, gassed or taken prisoner.

The Memorial is poignant with 23,844 place names where 'families grieved and endured'.

Also here was memorial to the soldiers of the Royal Artillary who died.

Over the road and into Apsley house - residence of the Duke of Wellington. A divorce gift from Napoleon to Josephine, rejected by her, of a wonderful model of Karnac and other Egyptian temples, was the most interesting thing to me in the 'plate room'. [The Sevres Egyptian dessert Service]

How about the 4 metre high marble statue of Napoleon in the buff. It said that he didn't like it and consigned it to a basement in the Louvre. [fig leaf too 'petit']

Many, many oil painting 'photos' of the main characters from the Battle, incidentally which was fought on my birthday 18th of June, adorned the house. I say photos because it shows their role at the time. Huge canvases in most cases, one caught my eye; a more subtle work entitled 'Lovers with Woman Listening' by Nicholas Maes. Delightful.

Jennifer, one of the attendants/guards showed me the hidden Versailles windows and was a charming guide to the house. English heritage should give her a raise.

So to the Science Museum where I saw once again the amazing IMAX 3D film about the International space station. I wonder how many times I'll see the real thing passing over on my journey? Still jumped at the Russian space rocket take off. Still wondered at the beauty of our planet as seen from space and it seemed apt to concentrate efforts on compiling ntes on the Copenhagen from the Climate Change display, which incidentally is tucked away near the back of the museum instead of it being the first thing people see when they enter. Said so to 2 attendants and they said that there's going to be a larger climate change exhibition in 2011.

Into a short 'experience through sensory stilulation' film of the Apollo 15 landing and use of lunar rover. Smoke, bubble, water spray and moving seats. Enjoyable but ..... short.

back to the Climate Change exhibition and a long conversation with a 19 year old Catalan girl from somewhere near Barcelona. She wanted help in leaving a comment about what she thought about CC. It took some time but it boiled down to that 'the World will still be here after humans are extinct because of their enduced Climate Change.'  Maria, she photographed me in front of the Apollo 10 command modele that came down to Earth after circling the Moon. Goodbye and then to the Rocket, Stephenson's Rocket. Spitfire and Hurricane, V2 and a replica of the Lunar Module. So much to see but time up and a walk to the same internet cafe on tottenham Court Road as yesterday.

Enough you cry. Where's the birds - well tomorrow should be lots, maybe some good ones too - penduline tit, serins? Well maybe. Read more tomorrow if you've got the stamina.


  1. Hi ya Gary, Imagine if you had a camera on you, You would of been locked up by now. Pathetic the lengths the anti terror laws of gone too. Anyhoo just peeking in on your blog to see where you up to and laughing cos villa only drew with the hammers. Reds blew it again at stoke, at least city and spurs rolled over too.

  2. Hello Gary,

    I remember you telling me about this at the hostel in st Paul's. I am keeping my eyes peeled for your article in the Birmingham Post. You've got an excellent blog, I'm very impressed.

    Keep up the good work, it's for an excellent cause.