Tedgale UK trip report: May 3-22, 2017

Old Jun 11th, 2017, 06:47 PM
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Really looking forward to more --

Re the driving an automatic vs a stick: I have posted this before but . . . I honestly think renting a standard shift (assuming one is competent driving a 5 or 6 speed stick) is safer than renting an automatic. Shifting w/ your left hand isn't hard at all -- after all you ain't drag racing or pulling someone off the line. You are gently going up and down through the gears - and missing a shift now and then is no biggie (killing the motor in the middle of a round about isn't fun but doesn't happen often ) I am totally 100% useless w/ my left hand -- yet I have no trouble shifting.

But having that extra mental cue having to shift just keeps you more 'alert'. Having an automatic, sometimes one can sort of go into autopilot/space out a bit and all of a sudden realize one is in the wrong lane.
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Old Jun 12th, 2017, 12:30 AM
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Thanks for all your tips as we traveled. We ate at Launceton Place and had a wonderful meal. Thanks to your info re the pre theater menu we requested that. It was £30 for three courses. Didn't realize it had recently re opened. It was a nice interior. We were there ~7 on a Friday and there was only one other table filled. As you said, nice staff-more of them than diners. I have to also agree with your FB comment as to exactly where is the theater?

Today is our last day and it has been great trailing you to some degree. You have such great recommendations!
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Old Jun 15th, 2017, 12:06 PM
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Sorry for the delay in getting back to this.

We are currently doing renovations at both our city condo and our lake house. We are commuting between the two sites. Days are becoming full as we enter the run-up to next week's family reunion, for which we are entertaining 18 at dinner!

I will post a series of notes on some more remote and less-frequented London sites that we greatly enjoyed. First up, Chiswick:

Chiswick House and Garden. Entry £7.20. Concessions £6.50. Garden and greenhouses are free. Open Sunday - Wednesday 10am - 6pm Closed Th Fri Sat.

Piccadilly or District Line to Turnham Green (Zone 2 + 3) then bus or walk (1.1 mile – 21 minutes).

Ample pay parking in the property's parking lot.

A small but exquisite 1730s building, directly modeled on 16th century Palladian villas in the Veneto and set in extensive and glorious gardens.

Built by Lord Burlington between 1726 and 1729 on a site shared with a much older building, Chiswick House was never a home. There is no kitchen; the family lived elsewhere.

Lavish as it is, one is impressed by its restraint. There are many echoes of Inigo Jones. (The pedestrian gateway, designed by Inigo Jones originally for Beaufort House, was later moved here.)

The elegant but austere ground floor holds a pantry, Lord Burlington’s private rooms and a corkscrew staircase he used to ascend to meet guests. The grand exterior staircase to the single public floor obviated the need for a large internal staircase. Instead, there is an impressive central Rotunda – an innovation in British architecture, in its day.

When we first arrived, we had to rush to see the Rotunda, which was about to close for a private event. It turned out the “event” was the rehearsal for a vocal concert to take place later in the month. The doors remained open, so the voices of the soprano, tenor and counter-tenor wafted throughout the building, “Lascia ch’io pianga” never sounded so good as in that resonant setting

Three main rooms are linked “en enfilade” with niches to form the Gallery, the villa’s most impressive suite. Apses have ornately gilded, diamond-patterned ceiling coffers painted by William Kent in the manner of the Temple of Venus in Rome, illustrated by Palladio.

Most beautiful and interesting objects to see in the House:

1. The Chiswick Tables are some of the best examples of English neo-Palladian furniture.
2. The Blue Velvet Room Ceiling decorated by Wm Kent shows the goddess of Architecture with her three putti helpers.
3. Eight Rysbrack Paintings in the Green Velvet Room record the transition from formal to informal English landscape garden.
4. Statues of Andrea Palladio and Inigo Jones sculpted by the famous Flemish sculptor Michael Rysbrack.
5. Two Porphyry Urns in the Gallery -- large scale purple porphyry urns that symbolise Imperial majesty.
6. The Coffered Dome in the Upper Tribunal, derived from the ancient Basilica of Maxentius.
7. The Green Men are carvings of the pagan god of the Oak in the fireplaces of the Green Velvet room.
8. The splendid half-moon Apses in the Gallery are copied from the Temple of Venus and Roma.

Save some time for the classical gardens -- an oasis on the edge of the A4/M4 motorway to Heathrow. We visited on our last day in the UK.

From the car park, we drove to the rental car drop-off at Heathrow in about 15-20 minutes. What a restorative break before the rigours of a transatlantic flight!
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Old Jun 15th, 2017, 12:11 PM
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A visit to Greenwich: Buildings open daily 10.00 - 17.00 Grounds to 23.00.

We traveled by Tube, then switched to Docklands Light Rail, using our Zone 1 and 2 Travel Pass.

You can also take a boat from further upstream. On a blustery day, that option did not appeal. Note that instead of taking DLR or a boat from Greenwich, you can cross to the Isle of Dogs via a foot tunnel, then continue by DLR after you finish exploring.

Things to see and do in Greenwich include:

The Old Royal Naval College (which features the Painted Hall and a chapel)
The exquisite Queen’s House
The national Maritime Museum
The hilltop Royal Observatory, plus:
Greenwich Park, Greenwich Market, the blocks of Georgian architecture and the Fan Museum.

Naval College: Originally a Royal Hospital for men invalided out of the Navy, established at Queen Mary’s instigation in 1694 and designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor. In 1869 it became the Royal Naval College, when the pensioners left.

Free 45 minute guided walks begin from our Visitor Centre inside the Cutty Sark gate. Visit Welcome Desk.

Painted ceiling tour: https://www.ornc.org/painted-hall-ceiling-tours-tickets

While the painted ceiling is under restoration, they are offering a 60 min. tour with an expert docent. The scaffolding serves as an observation deck up 60 ft. Start times 12, 1, 2, 3, 4 PM & sometimes 20 past. Book online £10

Limited lift access is available; contact the Box Office on 020 8269 4799

Walls and ceiling of the original dining hall were painted between 1707 and 1726 in impressive Baroque allegorical style. The theme is Britain's imperial might as the world's major sea power.

There is a soaring domed Vestibule, then the long, bright Lower Hall and the Upper Hall – whose west wall provides a highly theatrical finale.

Opposite the Painted Hall is the Chapel of Saints Peter & Paul by “Athenian” Stuart. Evensong services performed here Mondays at 17:30 by Chapel Choir.

Large portions of the Old College are now leased by Greenwich University, including a music faculty. When we were there, a pleasant cacophony reigned: Everything from a jazz group to a bel-canto soprano performed simultaneously at various open windows.

Queen’s House: The first neo-Classical building in Britain, built by Inigo Jones shortly after the accession of James I, whose wife (despite the name) never lived here. At one point, the main road to London passed under the middle portion of the house.

Its 22 spectacular rooms are filled with artworks. See the Royal Museums Greenwich site for special closures: I suspect that the Great Hall and Tulip Stairs and some main floor rooms are often rented out or used for concerts.

Maritime Museum: Some art, many artifacts. Quite youth-oriented. Not my sort of thing but if you’re keen on naval history, this would be a must. A famous large JMW Turner painting of the battle of Trafalgar is found in the Trafalgar room

Fan Museum – 2 Grade II buildings at 12 Croom Hills Road, corner of Green Park (near DLR)
Tues-Sat 11-5, Sun 12-5 Closed Monday. Really just 3 rooms. Half price for National Trust and Royal Oak Foundation members. A popular spot for teas, apparently.
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Old Jun 16th, 2017, 08:23 AM
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Wow 30 NT properties!! We did 6 in a week. Can't wait to see the rest of your report.
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