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On our recent trip to East Anglia, I had the opportunity to explore Peterborough’s magnificent Cathedral.

 

The first abbey on this site was founded in 655 but was destroyed in a Viking raid in 870. The site remained unused until a group of Benedictines arrived in the mid-10th century and begun to construct another abbey. This building was severely damaged during the resistance to the Norman Conquest in 1069 and the final destruction of this building was caused by a fire in 1116. The current church was begun 2 years later, although it took 120 years to complete. It is noted for its fine 13th century wooden ceilings and its fine lofty architecture.

The abbey closed in 1539 with the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII and it became a Cathedral. 2 Queens of England have been buried here. Katherine of Aragorn, first wife of Henry VIII and Mary Queen of Scots who was executed at nearby Fotheringhay Castle. However, only one remains today, as Mary’s remains were removed to Westminster when her son James I came to the English throne.

The Cathedral building has remained largely unchanged since the 12th century except for the Tower which was rebuilt in the 1880s as it was feared that the original would fall down.

Keith and I made a visit recently to the Chatham Historic Dockyard in Kent.

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It is not exactly known when Chatham first was used as a dockyard. The fleet used the Medway estuary as a mooring from the early 16th century and there is evidence of shore-based facilities surviving the fleet from around 1509. The first dry dock was built in 1581 and shipbuilding commenced on the site and the first ship, HMS Sunne, was launched five years later. Perhaps the most famous ship to be built here was HMS Victory, the flagship of Admiral Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar, which was launched in 1765.

A model showing Chatham dockyard in the mid-late 18th century, when its most famous ship, HMS VIctory was built here

At the beginning of the 20th century, the first submarine was produced in the dockyard, HMS C17, and this was to point the future for the Dockyard. The final ship, Okanagan, was launched in 1966 and the dry docks refitted for the task of submarine refits.

Models depicting Chatham in its role as Submarine building and refitting yard

However, this was to be short-lived and in 1981, the ministry of defence announced that the dockyard would close in 1984. In its 414 years of service, it produced over 500 ships and at its height employed over 10,000 skilled workers. The Dockyard site was passed into the hands of a charitable trust who now preserve the site as a historic monument and home to a number of Royal Navy and other seafaring collections and museums.

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St Margaret’s church, Hardley is located in the Norfolk Broads, an area located in the east of the county formed of river-fed connected lakes and much beloved by the boating and sailing fraternity. Whilst not as isolated as St Mary Houghton, St Margaret’s too stands in open fields with only a couple of houses nearby, testimony to the farming communities which it once served and which have now disappeared.

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It is not clear when the church was originally built (it has been suggested that the chancel arch dates from the 13th century), but records of the Great Hospital in Norwich (owners of the manor of Hardley) show that in 1456 a decision was taken to rebuild the chancel and two years later they authorised the replacement of the roof. This might suggest that the original building had fallen into disrepair or out of use before this date. The work was completed by 1461. The church contains a number of features which date from this rebuild. The 15th-century font has an octagonal bowl on a stem supported by lions.

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The 15th-century wall paintings were discovered several years ago during redecoration

There are 3 panels, St Christopher, St Catherine and a consecration cross which probably dates from the time the church was re-consecrated as a place of worship after the 15th-century rebuilding.

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The chancel screen dates from the 15th century and the simple pulpit is from the Jacobean period (early 17th century).

 

It’s good to know that some have an element of truth behind them.

Stephen Liddell

Most of us are familiar with Old Wives Tales, traditional pearls of wisdom from sources lost through the ages but seemingly tapping into an eternal truth that is only revealed to older married women whose only qualification is a lifetime of experience.  They cover all areas of life but not least the weather.

Despite being bombarded daily by weather forecasts that use the latest computer technology and models,  three in four of us in the U.K. are still more likely to rely on old wives’ tales to predict the weather.

We retain a belief – often misguided – that cows lie down when it’s about to rain or that a red sky at night means it will be fine tomorrow, according to a survey for the Met Office.

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It found 58 per cent of UK adults believe weather proverbs are accurate to some degree – and two-thirds of these say they…

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One of the world’s iconic and easily recognised buildings

Through My Lens

The iconic Sydney Opera House, as seen from Toronga Zoo.

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Sounds like a great day and brings back memories of visiting 2 years ago. We are in Norfolk for our main holiday again this year so hope to re-visit

Loco Yard

On the 22nd April, I visited the North Norfolk Railway for the Spring Steam Gala. An intensive service was in operation, and saw six steam locomotives operating. Visiting locomotives were LMS Stanier 8F, No. 48624, 2-8-0 from the Great Central Railway, and 56xx GWR 0-6-2T, 5643, visiting from the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway, and owned by the Furness Railway Trust.

DSC01947Also in attendance was the home fleet, consisting of LNER B12 Class, 8572, 4-6-0, GER Y14 Class, 564, 0-6-0, BR Standard 4MT, 76084, 2-6-0 ‘Standard 4’ and Ring Haw, 1982, 0-6-0ST.DSC01946It was also the first event since the completion of the Suburban four, a project to restore four suburban coaches to as built condition, to compliment the Quad-Arts coaches owned by the M&GN Society. Unfortunately, the Quad Arts Set was not in operation, but the restored Surburban coaches were a star of the event. The 6 year project finally came…

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Canary Wharf

 

The Emirates Airline cable car gives some wonderful views over East London

O2 Arena

Riverside development

 

Riverboat Station

The area on both side of the river which was once industrial is now being developed for residential, commercial and leisure uses

An old Lightship moored on a wharf

Olympic Stadium, Stratford

The emirates airline cable car allows wonderful views of East London.

O2 Arena

Thames Flood Barrier

East India Dock (now a nature reserve)

Excel Exhibition Centre

Docklands Light Railway

Amazing! What is still to be discovered elsewhere in London?

Stephen Liddell

As the residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury for centuries, Lambeth Palace, which sits on the south bank of the River Thames in London might be expected to have its fair share of graves of prominent people in history.

However, recent building work at the now deconsecrated church of St Mary-at-Lambeth has unearthed some incredible and totally unexpected findings.    Despite every corner of this old church being carefully examined and renovated over the years, builders have just discovered the remains of several Archbishops of Canterbury from the 17th century beneath a medieval parish church in south-west London.

The renovation team were lifting flagstones and exposing the ground in the church when they uncovered what looked like an entry to a tomb.   To search the void, located next to Lambeth Palace, they used a mobile phone camera as their guide.

Incredibly the builders had discovered an ancient crypt that…

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Aphrodite with Santa Maria Manuela in the background

Aphrodite is a brig from the Netherlands which when not attending Tall Ships festivals cruises in the North Sea and Baltic carrying up to 16 passengers.

Aphrodite

Aphrodite

Santa Maria Manuela is a 4-masted Lugger from Portugal. Built in 1937 as a fishing boat, it worked as part of the Portuguese Newfoundland Fleet until 1993. It was then demasted and partially disassembled. It lay unused until 2007 when a new owner embarked on a 3-year restoration programme and since 2010 it has been used as a training and cruise ship.

S. Maria Manuela

S. Maria Manuela