Friday, May 22, 2015

Greenwich Markets

From the Fan Museum, we headed to three outdoor flea markets.  The largest, Greenwich Market, was established in 1737.

~ One of the entrances to the market. ~

~ Narrow walkway leading back to the market. ~

It was a Saturday, and the market was crowded with shoppers.  They're in the process of increasing the size of the market.

Lori found the Scripture below written over one of the entrances.  It's found in Proverbs 11:1 "A false balance is abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight."

This vendor's booth was called "tea bird," and she sold teacups with candles in them.

One entire section of the market consisted of food vendors.  The food looked yummy!

Another entrance to the market, which we used as an exit.

~ A smaller vintage flea market in a different location. ~

The clock tower market was the last of the three.  It was fun looking through all of them, but neither Lori nor I purchased anything.  I was pacing myself since it was only day #2,  and my nylon duffel bag would only hold so much.   The market had china trios for just £7, but none of them called my name.

As we were walking back towards the tube station I saw a sign advertising the British-American drama, Woman in Gold, that was showing at a local theater.  I took a photo because I saw it shortly before I left for England, and wanted to blog about it, but ran out of time. It stars Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds, and Elizabeth McGovern [Lady Cora in Downton Abbey] plays the role of a U.S. Judge.  As a bonus there's even a tea scene! ;-) I enjoyed it very much, and recommend it if you haven't seen it.

Near the tube station we had our first Fish and Chips dinner of the trip at a local pub called, The Spanish Galleon.

The procedure was to order at the bar and pay for it there, then a server brought it to the table.

Yum!  Instead of coleslaw like we would typically get in the states, mushy peas came with the order. 

We got on the tube and headed back towards our hotel. At one of the tube stations [we transferred to three different tube lines] we saw Elvis!  I had to take the picture of him for my son, Jeremy. Thirty-eight years after his death, The King of Rock 'n Roll still lives on in London even though he never did a concert there.

There was a shopping mall at one tube station, so this picture was taken for my granddaughter, Tiffany.

It was a busy day, but a fun one.  There's so much to see and do in Greenwich that one day wasn't enough. I've already made a list of other places I'd like to visit if I ever return.

Day #3 will begin with Kensington Palace - next week's post.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Fan Post Addendum

It didn't seem appropriate to add pictures of the inexpensive [cheap] fans I purchased at the $ store to today's Fan Museum post, so I'm showing them separately.

I went into the $ store with my hubby looking for arithmetic flash cards for our grandson.  It was the day before my fan presentation at the assisted living facility, and I spotted them quite by accident. For $1 each I couldn't past them up. The 'sticks' are plastic, and the 'leaves' are nylon or polyester.

So many times I've seen ladies at various functions fanning themselves with a program, bulletin, or piece of paper they pulled from their purse.  A fan would be so much prettier, and produce better results.  Ladies, we should renew the fan's beauty and virtue by carrying one in our purse.  It would probably evoke conversation - but hopefully not in the middle of a performance, program or sermon!  ;-)  Pop over to Dollar Tree to purchase one.

[Please scroll down to read my post about the Fan Museum in Greenwich, London.]

Fan Museum in Greenwich

My friend, Mary Jane, told me the Fan Museum in Greenwich was worth a visit, so I added it to our itinerary.  On the way to the museum we walked past a beautiful park.  Parks are a big thing in London - highly used for relaxation and enjoyment.  It's the only 'yard' many of the residents have.

A few days before I left for England, I did a presentation for a group of senior ladies about Parasols, Hankies, Gloves, and Fans.  The more I studied fans, the more fascinated I became with them, and was eager to learn more. The Fan Museum was very educational and FANtastic!

It occupies two Georgian architectural town houses that date back to 1721, located at 12 Croom's Hill. They have been restored internally and externally, and are lovely.

Since the 1950's Helene Alexander [the founder of the museum along with her late husband, A.V.] has collected and assembled one of the most comprehensive collections of fans in the world - 2,000 plus!  The museum opened to the public in 1991, and is the only one in the world devoted entirely to the art and craft, history and geography, and everything pertaining to fans.

The museum has two distinct display areas. The permanent display is an introduction to fans - their history, how they were made, the materials used, and the various types and sources of fans.  I was grateful photography [without a flash] was permitted, and I will post the permanent display photos first.

An ivory elephant tusk used to make an intricately carved ivory fan.

The shell of an oriental pearl oyster for a mother-of-pearl nineteenth-century fan.

Fan leafs were made from paper-thin kid skin, vellum, lace, silk, cotton, wood, parchment, and paper.

The 1890's fan below was made from beautiful Belgium lace.

In the cellar of the museum is a workshop area for teaching how to make fans.  Wouldn't that be fun!  The workshop, however, wasn't part of the museum tour.

The other display area is thematic [flowers, animals, birds, mythology, sports, children, religion, leisure, contemporary, etc.], and changes at least every four month for conservation reasons.  The thematic displays reflect the vast range of subjects that have inspired fan-makers throughout the ages. After touring the museum, I noticed fans exhibited at Kensington Palace and the Queen's Gallery. Fans were not only fashion accessories, but intricate works of art.

~ Folding Fans ~

Aren't they all beautiful?

 ~ Cockade Fans ~

At the back of the museum, a Georgian Orangery overlooks a garden where you can have Afternoon Tea.  Unfortunately, is was booked for a private party the day we were there, so we couldn't go in. Next time! ;-)  The museum's Orangery was written up in Travel as one of London's Ten Best Afternoon Teas.

 [Photo courtesy of Travel]

What did I purchase at the Fan Museum?  Two fans and a book. One fan was made with ivory Battenburg lace to match a parasol I purchased for my presentation, and the other was made from thin wood.  I guess I have a 'fan collection' now because I bought one on my recent trip to Washington, D.C., and I bought three at the $ store [of all places!] for my presentation.  I was going to give them away as prizes but they were so pretty I kept them myself! ;-)

Thanks for recommending the museum, Mary Jane!  It was definitely worth seeing.

From the Fan Museum we went to three outdoor flea markets in Greenwich, and had our first Fish and Chips of the trip at a local pub - tomorrow's post.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Second Day in London, England

Saturday morning, May 2nd, after a hearty breakfast at the hotel, we headed off to Greenwich where the famous, Victorian trading ship, Cutty Sark, is berthed, and the Fan Museum is located. 

The Royal Borough of Greenwich is located in the south-east area of London, and like most of England, it's charming and quaint. Greenwich is especially known for its maritime history, and is a World Heritage Site, with the Cutty Sark being a major attraction.  The town center [below] is to one side of the tube station, and the Cutty Sark to the other.

I'm not a nautical person, but since the Cutty Sark is the last tea clipper surviving into the twenty-first century, I wanted to see her during my visit to England. The clipper accumulated more sea miles than any of her contemporaries, and was finer, faster, and more famous than any of them. She was threatened by fire in 2007 but fortunately was saved.  I remember my hubby assembling a model of Cutty Sark when we were dating, long before I was into tea and knew the ship's significance to it.

The Cutty Sark was built for one purpose - to bring tea back from China to London quickly. She was launched in November, 1869, and left London bound for Shanghai in February 1870.  The round trip took 110 days.  By the late 1870's steamships began replacing sailing ships as carriers of tea cargo, and the Cutty Sark was forced to carry a variety of other cargoes such as coal, wool, beer, and whatever else she could find to transport. The clipper sailed 25 voyages in 25 years under the British flag.  Scottish owner, John Willis, sold the clipper in 1895 to a Portuguese owner. After numerous owners, a retired British sea captain purchased and restored the vessel to a clipper ship appearance. Upon his untimely death, his wife presented the ship to the Incorporated Thames Nautical College in 1938. 

Frank Carr, the Director of the National Maritime Museum, became a more recent savior of the Cutty Sark in the 1950's with the help of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh when the ship was brought to Greenwich.  She was opened to the public by HM Queen Elizabeth II in June, 1957, and then closed in 2006 for restoration.  Upon completion she was re-opened in 2012. 

Cutty Sark's name comes from a Robert Burns' poem, Tam O'Shanter, published in 1791, and the ship's figurehead, is Nannie, the beautiful witch. 

The poem's story goes like this: Tam got drunk and was riding his horse, Maggie, home one night. Approaching a church, he was surprised to see the lights on, and urged Maggie forward for a closer look.  Through the window he saw the altar had been desecrated and the building was full of warlocks and witches dancing to a tune played on the bagpipes by the devil himself. The witches were all old hags, except for one - Nannie, a young beauty, cavorting in a 'cutty sark' - a short shift. Tam was overwhelmed by the sight of Nannie in her revealing outfit and cried out, "Weel done, Cutty-sark!"

Lori and I bought tickets to go on the self-guided tour, with guides positioned about the ship to answer questions and provide information.

In the cargo area, interesting information is written on old wooden tea chests that transported the tea.  I've included just a sampling in the pictures below.

   [A Cutty Sark Guide]

In the lower hold area [the main cargo space of the ship], they showed an interesting short video on the screen below.  I wrote down a few tidbits to share with you:
  • It was the fastest ship in the world with a speed of 20 m.p.h.
  • 10,000 chests of tea were loaded from China worth more than £18.5 million in today's money - enough for two hundred million cups of tea!
  • The ship had a crew of 26 - some as young as 14 years old.
  • The ship gave a total of 52 years of service, sailing 957,995 nautical miles - equaling 2 1/2 times to the moon and back!

~ Topside on the Cutty Sark ~

~ The crew's bunks ~

Lori and me with the River Thames in the background.

After touring the ship, we went underneath it where the Even Keel Cafe is located. We prayed it was securely suspended!  ;-)

We didn't have the Afternoon Tea because it had to be pre-booked, but it would have been a bargain at £19.95 per person, which included entry to the Cutty Sark.  I ordered a cream tea [tea and dessert] and Lori ordered coffee and dessert.  

Lori ordered a slice of Banana/Chocolate bread, and I ordered Victoria Sponge Cake.  Both were good.  My tea was a Breakfast blend.

A tea display in the Cafe.

~ Drawers of assorted teas ~

Then it was upstairs to the gift shop.  My purchases are pictured below - a tin of Cutty Sark loose-leaf tea blended by Twinings...

~ And a souvenir Cutty Sark book ~

While I didn't purchase them, I thought these tins of tea in the Old Royal Naval College gift shop were cute.

~ I purchased a tea towel there. ~

Lori and I took pictures next to an iconic British telephone booth that cell phones have made obsolete. The booth below didn't have a telephone inside it. They're probably primarily for tourists like us!  ;-)

The mailbox, however, is currently in use.

From the Cutty Sark, we headed the opposite direction to the Fan Museum on Croom's Hill - tomorrow's post.