Tag Archives: uk

RHS Wisley

On our last full day in the UK on our most recent trip, we met up with family and the Royal Horticultural Society’s grounds at Wisley.  It has been quite a long time since we were last there and I only had some limited memories of the place.  They were good memories, but I clearly hadn’t seen as much of the place as I could have.  The old house is the first thing you see when you arrive and I’m glad that it is still there since it provides a nice introduction, even if it isn’t terribly relevant to the average visitor these days.

They have built a really nice gift shop and café/restaurant complex, and we did make good use of that on our visit.  Then we headed into the gardens.  They are just as nice as you would expect from an organization like the RHS.  We went through one of the glasshouses and then climbed the hill to the cunningly named Hilltop building.  The grounds around it are nice but they also have a rooftop area which provides a great view across the grounds.  I think if I had been alone and with more time, I might have gone further afield in the grounds, but that day was not the day to do so.  I did see what looked like a nice avenue on the map so wandered up through the trees to a very scenic view down back towards the main area.

Wisley is a lovely spot.  I would highly recommend it if you like gardens and plants or even if you just want somewhere pleasant to wander after a decent lunch.  I suspect we will make a return visit if we have a chance for more time when back in the UK.

Jackdaws Searching for Snacks

We stopped for a small snack at Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park after our walk.  We were heading to lunch later, but you don’t want your energy to drop so a cake of some sort is a necessity.  The tables around the café provided plenty of food for the local jackdaw population and they were very keen to get whatever fell from the plates of the customers.  With the sun on them, they looked really cool.  I didn’t know what they were at the time, but the grey heads were quite distinctive, and I did a search later on t identify them.  Funny to learn these things so long after I had lived in the UK.

Deer in the Royal Park

Richmond Park is famous for its deer.  You don’t have to go far in the park to come across some.  They seem pretty relaxed despite the presence of so many people nearby but I imagine it is a long time since anyone in the park was hunting them, so they don’t see us as a threat anymore.  As we went for a stroll, we came across a few groups of deer busy munching away.  Occasionally, they would look at us as we got closer but their lack of interest most of the time was obvious!

Repairing the Beach

There had been some pretty stormy weather shortly before we got to the UK.  When we went to Southsea to pick up mum from the hovercraft, there was some work underway on the beach that sits below the terminal.  By the look of things, the storm had moved the shingle around quite a bit and they needed to regrade the shoreline.  Someone was busy working on it while the hovercraft was on its way over.  They had to get out of the way before it arrived, of course, but they seemed to have done a decent job of it in plenty of time.  I wonder how often they need to rework the shore to keep things where they need to be for the service.

River Test at a High Level

The River Test really should be considered multiple rivers because it splits and rejoins as it moves across the Hampshire countryside.  You can cross all sorts of minor streams, but you do also get some larger crossings where the river is well defined.  One of these is the road to Longstock.  There is a weir across the river just upstream of the bridge and it seemed to be flowing pretty well when we were there.  We had experienced lovely weather, but I guess quite a bit of rain had preceded our arrival.  There was a single swan on the river, and it seemed to be making some effort to move upstream.

Family of Blackbirds Out for a Meal

A family of blackbirds was a regular sight in the front garden of the place we rented in Stockbridge.  They were happily finding whatever they could eat in the grass.  There appeared to be two parents with some youngsters in tow.  The chicks were now pretty fully grown and seemed to have their feathers, but they were less interested in finding food than they were in having their parents do the work.  I will let those of you with children make your own comments.  The chicks actually looked a little larger than their parents, so they are probably eating well.

A Shield Bug – Looks Like a Stinkbug

I was out in the garden of our place in Stockbridge and was surprised by how many ladybirds and flies I saw on the leaves.  Then I saw something a bit different.  I reminded me of the stink bugs we see in Washington.  According to Ian, who was in the yard shortly afterwards, it is a shield bug.  In all my years in the UK, I had never heard of or seen one of these.  Now I have.

Some Ted Lasso Tourism

On one of our days in the UK, we made a trip to Richmond.  It is over 30 years since I have spent time in Richmond, and it was nice to go there again.  A first for Nancy too.  We were having lunch with family but got there a little early to walk around.  One of the things we wanted to do was check out the area around Richmond Green.  This was a location for many of the scenes in the TV series, Ted Lasso.  It was on our way anyway, so we stopped to have a look around.

Looking like a tourist is never too appealing and I imagine plenty of people come by because of the show.  The pub that they feature apparently has fan memorabilia for the show’s imaginary team.  Some of the shops also have “Believe” signs above their doors.  TV does a good job of cutting together unrelated spaces, but you can easily recognize some of the places.  We did struggle to identify one or two other spots, though.  There is some demolition and construction underway now, so I wonder if that took out any bits that were previously used.

Another Chance to Photograph the Hovercraft

During our trip to the UK, my mum came across to spend some time with the family.  She used the hovercraft to make the crossing and we went to Southsea to pick her up.  Regular readers will know that I love hovercraft so it would have been churlish not to get some shots of its arriving – I mean her arriving!  I skipped the long lens shots and instead focused on the approach and arrival.  Here are those shots.  Her return journey was frustrated by high winds, so we didn’t get a second chance to photograph the hovercraft when taking her back.