The River Test runs through the grounds of Mottisfont and there is a diverted section of it that runs through a very unnaturally straight section of river near the house. As we walked along the path by this section, we saw a couple of fish in the water. As we moved on, we realized that there were loads of them. To my untrained eye, they looked like they might be trout but I am not an angler or any sort of sim expert. I got some photos of them but video seemed like the best bet so I had a good at that too. Can you identify them?
Tag Archives: travel
Osborne House Itself
I’ve posted a few times about our visit to Osborne House but I have not actually shown anything from inside the house in those previous posts. Finally we have gone inside. When it comes to visiting old houses, I often don’t bother with the inside but this one definitely seemed worth a look since we had come all that way. It is definitely interesting but it is also quite bizarre in places.
Talking to some of the guides in the rooms, we discovered that the whole place was put together rather rapidly. Things that look like marble columns are in fact plaster or concrete and painted to look like marble. I think some of that speedy construction means that there is a lot to do in maintaining things. When Victoria died, the house was handed over the country and was used as a place for sailors recovering – presumably from wounds sustained. Bits of the house were locked off from them including her old bedroom which was treated like a shrine by the family. Only in later years did the place start to get preserved and restored in parts.
There is plenty of art scattered around although I think quite a lot of it is replicas of originals which are elsewhere in the royal collection. Grandiose displays abound but then other areas are a lot more practical. The rooms for the kids (of which they had plenty) are very busy. No individual rooms for the youngsters it seems.
The tour takes you on a route through the building and the final section includes the Durbar Room. This is a seriously over the top space. Decorated in styles reminiscent of India, it is an example of what Britain controlled at the time and could easily been considered gaudy. I was both amazed at it and also rather put off. If you give someone free rein to design something, don’t be surprised if they overdo it!
The house itself is Italianate in design but the interior is a combination of all sorts of things be it traditional English, Indian, Greek or anything else that came to mind. It is an interesting thing to see but not a place that I could ever imagine spending a lot of time.
Unusual Shaped Buildings in Vancouver
There area few buildings in Vancouver where the architects have been a little adventurous. Some of them are visible from the shore as you walk around Stanley Park and I grabbed some photos from a distance. There is one that is near the bridge as you drive towards Granville Island. You can see part of it from the Island but a good view is on the road as you drive by. I asked Nancy to try getting some shots as I was driving. The tapered edge makes the building feel like it is hanging over the road. Very interesting engineering!
Gull’s Crab Lunch Under Threat
As we walked along the shore trail in Stanley Park, we came up on a gull that had just caught a crab. The gull was intent on eating the crab, as well you might imagine. However, its lunch had also caught the attention of a bunch of crows (could hardly call them a murder). Consequently, the gull was trying to find a way to avoid the crows and eat its food. It was not going to escape them, of course. Instead, it had to do the best it could and accept that they were going to get a few scraps.
One Of The Oldest Tornados
The Tornado was entering service in big numbers with the RAF at the same time that I was getting seriously into aviation. I always felt it was the plane I knew the best. When I ended up working on them, it felt like a continuation of my youthful enthusiasm. The Tornado GR1 was my jet. After I moved on to other projects, MLU came along and that became the GR4. Somehow, the GR4 never felt like it was mine. I was a GR1 kid.
When I went to the Boscombe Down Aviation Collection at Old Sarum, there was a Tornado at one end of the hangar. It was a GR1 that had never been updated. Better than that, is was one of the earliest production jets that the RAF received. Some of the test jets at Warton were from this batch so this one really felt like one of the originals for me. The Tornado is long gone from RAF service but, for me, to see one of these earlier jets was really a treat. Camo with black radomes is how the Tornado should look!
A Chilly Place To Be Lying In The Water!
The grounds at Stourhead include some grottos. One of them has a statue of a woman lying in some water. It was not too warm when we were there and, once you go inside the grottos, they are decidedly cold and damp. The idea of lying in water in those conditions does not sound too appealing. However, she was clearly a hardy soul as she has been there for quite a while.
The Royal Navy has a bunch of coastal patrol vessels that are named after rivers around the UK. From what I have read, HMS Severn is one of the first batch of vessels and it is less capable than the later batch. Although originally planned for retirement, it has been kept in service patrolling the UK coastal region. It was heading out of Portsmouth when I saw it. I think it was originally painted grey when it was commissioned but it currently has more of a camo scheme applied. It made me think of the disruptive camouflage used during the First World War. I actually shot a pano of it as it headed out taking advantage of the lack of an immediate background to avoid any issues with the movement between shots.
Osborne House Gardens
We made our visit to Osborne House in October of 2022 and the gardens have since made the news in the UK. One of the older trees fell in some bad weather so, while I don’t know which tree it was, it is possible I got a photo of it shortly before it met its demise. Always a shame when an old tree falls but such is the nature of things. We wandered around the grounds prior to going into the house. It wasn’t clear whether the weather was going to deteriorate so we figured we would do the outside stuff first while we knew it was okay.
It isn’t hard to see how Victoria liked the place. The grounds run down to the sea and the views from the house are really nice. There are trees and plants of all sorts of varieties so, if you know more about that sort of thing, I could quite imagine that you would have much to study. I just like looking at them so a simpler proposition for me.
We took one of the trails down to Osborne Bay. There was a little café down there so we could stop off and have a snack and some refreshments. It wasn’t that warm, but you can always find time for an ice cream if you want to! From the café, it was a straight walk back up to the house. There are some large planters along the path. Not sure how big something could be and survive in one of them, but I imagine a moderately sized tree would be fine!
Once you get close to the house itself, you get to the ornamental gardens. These were actually quite nicely laid out. That sort of thing doesn’t always do it for me, but I quite liked Osborne. However, there were some really odd sculptures scattered around near the house. Not sure what sort of imagery the sculptures of the day had in their heads but the hybrids of various animals and humans that they sculpted were very weird. They also suffered from the same thing of a lot of sculptures of their day- they had never seen the animals that they were recreating. There was a lion that looked more like a goofy character from a comedy based in a high school! We might have laughed at that one for a while!
I had seen photos from the visits people had made to the airport in California City that showed a lot of old business jet airframes in storage. I was curious to see this place myself and so headed up there when I had some time one evening. There is a local business that takes old jets – principally Gulfstreams – and strips them for any components that will be useful in the secondary market. The owner of the place is welcoming to visitors and a friend was actually already there when I arrived. A little while later after sorting out issues with the gate opening, I was inside and free to roam around.
There are so many jets, it is hard to know where to start. Some of them are basically intact while others have had substantial elements removed. Sides of the fuselage might be cut out, gear may have been removed and engines are definitely a valuable commodity. Some of the control surfaces will have found a second life supporting an airworthy jet. Older generation jets like the G-II and G-III are represented but the G-IV is now knocking on a bit and so there are quite a few of those too. Some very old jets are scattered in amongst the carcasses including one that had been used as a military testbed.
The planes are squeezed in to all available spaces. As you walk around, you have to pay a lot of attention to make sure you don’t trip over anything or smack your head on part of an airframe. Also good to try and avoid getting in the shots of other photographers! I didn’t see any hazardous wildlife which helped make the walking around a little easier.
While most airframes were Gulfstreams, there were occasional exceptions. I came across a really old HS125. It was from the days of Viper engines so definitely an old one. It didn’t look to be in great condition but the dry desert air means that they survive pretty well for a long time.
Old Lady Of Threadneedle Street
We did a little wandering through the City while we were staying in Town. My familiarity is more with the west end of London and then City was somewhere I would go periodically but not regularly. Nancy worked there for a while so she knew bits of it but not a large area. We walked up King William Street and ended up coming to the Bank of England. With so many classical buildings in the City, it is easy to see just another one. However, thinking about the vaults underneath this pile and the things that are stored in there makes for a slightly more interesting place!