WINDSOR LONG WALK

One of the things I have been doing is finally catching up on all those un-edited photo’s from our crazy last couple months in England. One morning while I was in the middle of the transition back to Canada and the boys were at school, we did the Windsor long walk. It was a dreary day, misty and drizzling, but energizing.

Our plan was simple, do the long walk in Windsor Great Park, have a hearty British breakfast and then return via the long walk:

The Long Walk runs south from Windsor Castle for a distance of 3 miles (5km) to the 1829 Copper Horse statue of King George III atop Snow Hill where there are impressive views of the castle. The actual distances of the Long Walk are 800 metres South from the Long Walk Gate near Windsor Castle, intersected by Albert Road, and then a further 2600 metres of surfaced path to the Copper Horse statue. Other equestrian statues in the park include one of the Prince Consort, to the west of the Polo grounds, and one of the present Queen near the Village.

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The deer were everywhere, there must be hundreds if not a couple thousand in the herd. While you could not pet them, they didn’t actually run:

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Makes for a nice walk. Especially when you come out of the mist, and there is Windsor castle. Cool place.

25 REFLECTIONS ON THE UK (PART 3 OF 3)

 

5. One more on cars. Parking is very funny in the UK. In North America, when you park on the street you must park in the direction of traffic in the appropriate designated area. In the UK, people park on either side of the road (direction is irrelevant) and often anywhere and everywhere. After all, parking wasn’t an issue hundreds of years ago so they really didn’t plan for it.

4. British people LOVE their dogs. We loved that they loved their dogs. Parks are full of dogs running around. The elderly (who seem healthier than North Americans) are always seen walking around with their dogs. Everywhere you go – dogs. On Wentworth, one of the more prestigious courses in the world, dogs are welcome. Our neighbour would golf every weekend with his lab running behind him. Amazing. We North American’s could learn something from the European’s in this regard – seeing a family with their small dog in the restaurant in Normandy was incredibly refreshing. That is a true ‘family’ out for dinner.

3. Everything has a cost and a benefit. I just realized, after 24 amazing months that one of my costs was that I never got to say good-bye to my dog, Bram. Ciao Bram.

2. It is all about people. England is a diverse culture and I am thankful to have worked with and met many amazing people who have a huge impact on my outlook on life and my character. In two years, I owe many people an enormous debt of thanks.

1. Life is about experiences, not things.

25 REFLECTIONS ON THE UK (PART 2 OF 3)

 

15. England is very old. Canada is very young. Two years later, driving by an old church or a pub that was built in the 1400s still amazes me. I could spend hours wandering a cemetery reading the inscriptions, history was made in the UK.

14. Stop signs should be banned in North America – long live the roundabout. North America should learn the lesson.

13. Spoiled food is good. In Canada, things don’t spoil quickly. In the UK they do. As an expat it is initially frustrating as you have to hit the store more often. However, you soon realize that quicker spoiling means less preservatives and definitely less salt. All organic is now the family motto. Oh yah, and I now detest chain store fast food – have been without it for 2 years and don’t miss it.

12. Male fashion is all about the brown shoes with the suit or jeans, and the French cuff shirt. Got it. Understood! But still don’t buy into the whole pink shirt thing. Sorry.

11. Parking in England is an adventure. Like everything else, the people building the homes and roads 1,000 years ago were just not thinking! I had a BMW 5 series estate. Parking with that car meant that every time that I got out of the car two things would happen: there would not be enough room so I would have to get out sideways and no matter how hard I tried, my door always touched the car beside me. The only car that actually had enough room to park was the Mini (which is why there are so many of them in England I suppose).  In the end, the UK has cars, but really isn’t made for cars. The UK was made for horses and walking.

10. The world is flat. Ten years ago, going international would have been a lot harder. Web cams, 1 hour phone calls for $1, email, digital photos and videos, cheap flights, social networking and XBOX LIVE keep you as connected .. as you want to be.

9. A Tom Tom GPS got me all around the UK, Washington, Scotland, Belgium, Paris and through Normandy. I cannot imagine doing this without a GPS. And I will never buy in car SATNAV again. Overpriced, hard to update and generally underperforms – mobile satnav for me please.

8. I have become a very proud Canadian. Canada is a great country, with a rich and varied culture (French, English and everyone else in the world) – with a proud link to Britain.

7. Customer service in the UK is a paradox. The milkman comes to the door 3 times a week (good), you can order groceries on the internet (good), Amazon lets you buy pretty much anything you can think of (books, DVDs, shoes, MP3 drm free downloads to filters for my Jura coffee maker) from one central place and have it delivered in 1 day (awesome). But the ‘convenience’ store on the corner closes at 6, the mall is closed at 6 on a Friday night, the 16 year old checkout boy at the counter sits down while checking me out and watches me pack my own bags, and on many occasions, because they thought we were American – they were downright rude.

6. The world owes the UK an enormous debt for their resolve during WWII. If it were not for this nations ability to hold out while the Americans made up their minds, the Germans would not have been stopped.

HAMPTON COURT PALACE

We jumped off the plane from Bora Bora, had a nights sleep and then took our parents (Narda’s mom and dad) on a trip to see Hampton Court Palace. History has it that the Archbishop siphoned off a load of church money to build it for himself until Henry VIII took it over. Amazing how church leadership corruption plays such a pivotal part in history. The details here:

Thomas Wolsey, then Archbishop of York and Chief Minister to the King, took over the lease in 1514 and rebuilt the 14th-century manor house over the next seven years (15151521) to form the nucleus of the present palace. Wolsey spent lavishly to build the finest palace in England at Hampton Court, which he was later forced to give to Henry as he began to fall from favour.

Tudor sections of Hampton Court, which were later overhauled and rebuilt by Henry VIII, suggest that Wolsey intended it as an ideal Renaissance cardinal’s palace in the style of Italian architects such as il Filarete and Leonardo da Vinci: rectilinear symmetrical planning, grand apartments on a raised piano nobile, classical detailing. Jonathan Foyle has suggested (see link) that it is likely that Wolsey had been inspired by Paolo Cortese’s De Cardinalatu, a manual for cardinals that included advice on palatial architecture, published in 1510. Planning elements of long-lost structures at Hampton Court appear to have been based on Renaissance geometrical programs, an Italian influence more subtle than the famous terracotta busts of Roman emperors by Giovanni da Maiano that survive in the great courtyard (illustration, right above). Hampton Court remains the only one of 50 palaces built by Henry VIII financed from The Reformation.

The palace was appropriated by Wolsey’s master, Henry VIII, in about 1525, although the Cardinal continued to live there until 1529. Henry added the Great Hall — which was the last medieval Great Hall built for the English monarchy — and the Royal Tennis Court, which was built and is still in use for the game of real tennis, not the present-day version of the game. This court is now the oldest Real Tennis Court in the world that is still in use.

A few pictures of the day. Walking in ….

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The entrance as you cross the bridge:

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A picture in the great room .. note the tapestry. Sorry, a bit dark, no flash allowed.

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The horn room where the pages and serving staff would wait.

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Throughout the palace are sculptures and paintings of Greek gods. In many cases, the nobles of the time (King Henry VIII) are depicted in the paintings as the Greek gods (Mercury, etc.). They had quite the high opinions of themselves. What is a bit ironic is the fact that it was a church Archbishop who had the place built yet there is Greek mythology everywhere …

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The gardens encompass more than 60 acres and are inhabited by Canadian geese and deer. Below I am looking upon a HUGE man made lake (which is a long rectangle)

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In an attempt to affiliate themselves with the conquering Romans and their triumphant history, Caesar and other Roman leaders are represented in the walls (like the below) and in 9 canvases labeled the Triumphs of Caesar (Painted by Andrea Mantegna in the late 1400s and considered some of the most important works of the Italian Renaissance).

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The clock court yard.

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A carving as you leave the palace.

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