Views of Brussels from a Taxi Cab and other waffle

Dear reader, being a business sensation I was summoned to make a presentation in Brussels this week.  Well I would be, wouldn't I!  It's obvious to you, I'm sure, that my views on Brexit and Bremain plus Br...don't know, must be heard, or perhaps not!  As I sat not five minutes into my journey I realised that I hadn't packed a blusher brush.  Then I darn well realised I hadn't packed blusher.  Off to a grand start.  With memories of my mascaraless meeting last year running through my brain I hyperventilated for a bit and then devised a back up plan.  I'd use a lip pencil as my blusher. 

I was travelling with seven others to talk at a seminar.  Four of the team were organisers and we other four speakers from a selection of companies. We knew each other well as we often work together.

On the Eurostar I rallied my 4 fellow speakers  to the bar coach where we glided across England,  France and Belgium drinking alcoholic beverages. 

drinks on the Euorstar

 Into the umpteenth beer for them and second wine for me  we had decided Tai Chi at 6 am in the gym was a mighty fine idea.  Once the men moved onto their umpteenth plus a few it was decided that the workshops the next day should begin with the Birdie Song. (if you don't know it, Youtube it, you must)

(For full disclosure the alcohol was not on expenses, nor were the Pringles.)

We arrived and eight of us squeezed into a taxi.  'Shall I go in the front?,' I said helpfully  opening a door.  A quick, 'not that side you're not ' from a panicked speaker, as I realised I was hopping into the driver's seat. Flipping left hand driving. It caught me every taxi ride and each time my fellow speakers were adamant that I was not driving them through Brussels. I can't imagine why!

views of Brussels from a taxi

Our hotel

we had arrived

After a quick turnaround in our rooms we met for our evening meal.  I accompanied mine with water but the men had beer by the gigabyte. Look at the glasses.  They were heavy even when empty!  Apparently they were giving their arms a workout.

Mighty gigabyte glass 

We had had a long day with a hard day ahead and decided it was a night.  Making my way to my room I passed a shoe-shine machine.  A glance along the corridor confirmed I was alone so I decided to play.  Just as I was holding my foot out under the brushes
a fellow speaker came along.  I explained what I was doing but  it clearly wasn't convincing as the following morning he told my fellow speakers at breakfast that I was clearly stressed by the presentation as he saw me 'giving the wall a kicking. '  My reputation dissolved before me.

Once again we piled into one cab for eight people. Once again I tried to drive the cab.  Once again I was removed from such endeavour by my fellow speakers. On arrival at the venue seriousness ensued as we all became professional. Competence was worn as a girdle around our silliness only to be released at 5.30 that evening as we set back off for the Eurostar once again and once again I led the way to the bar coach. 

Heading back to the Eurostar and we notice Brussels outskirts also has a rush hour

Leaving Brussels on the Eurostar

Belgian countryside

A blurred Belgian countryside

It was a hard couple of days work,  intense but fun.  As well as giving a presentation I also ran 3 workshops.  On Wednesday night I arrived home at 11.30 at night and was very glad to climb into my own bed. 

Guildford Castle

Today I'm getting around to posting pics of Guildford castle for you . Somewhat older than Hampton Court being Norman.  This little room was labelled as being the King's bedroom.  The ceiling is low and Henry wouldn't have fit his height or girth in this box.

This castle was built on a hill being typical of castles whereas Hampton Court was confidently flaunting itself  on flat land.

The castle would have been surrounded by a water but the ditch now contains a spring floral display.

loved this couple dozing in the sun

It's thought this castle was first built soon after the Norman invasion after William's march to Canterbury. It's built along the route of the Pilgrim's Way.  The castle underwent improvements under Henry 111. 
It was later used as a gaol until 1487 when the gaol was moved to Lewes, (where it remains today as a holding prison for Sussex convicts until they are relocated. )

Some ducks made themselves at home along the ruins.

Guildford is now a thriving market and business town.  There's a huge contrast between the views the ducks have and the other side of the castle.

The Cackle and the DNA

Dear reader, on Sunday Mr Him and I left our home for a day trip to Guildford. We were visiting a Finnish friend who wanted to feed us his homemade Salmon soup.  We fed him two bottles of White in return.  However the purpose of this post is to tell you what happened at home in the meantime.

Miss 21 and automotive engineer went for a walk in the woods.  They heard creepy whistles followed by a cackle.  'A cackle like you've never heard a cackle', said Miss 21 later. 'Worse than your cackle mum, and Mr Him's come to that.'

Mr Him and I arrived home to find splatters of blood up a wall in the lounge and on the settee. We went a bit forensic and decided it was, well splatters of blood.  I rang Miss 21 to enquire about what had happened whilst we were out. She had no knowledge of the splatters and became creeped out.  'We've just heard a Witch in the woods. This is spooky.'

She went on to tell us we need to call the police and insist on a DNA test on the blood.  'You think they'll test for Witch', I exclaimed.  'How on earth do I ask them to test for Witch.'  They'd think I was nuts. 'I doubt they'll have Witch in their database,' I went on to explain to Miss 21. 

As I was pondering how to approach the police on the matter of the Witch and DNA Mr Him noticed the dog had a gash on his ear. 
Phew problem solved. 

The Gardens and the Vines

Thank you for your comments on the 'Manners.' I'm glad you enjoyed them.  For my part I am ensuring they are closely observed at home.

Back to Hampton Court Palace and today I am showing you the gardens.  I wanted to give you a few days to digest the 'Manners'!  I assume are now ready for the pretty pictures.

When I saw the gardens I was whisked to Versailles.  Flat open landscape and fountains.

The Wisteria was in full bloom

The trees (Yew I think) are shaped like toadstools. I don't know the significance.

Spring blooms, tulips. 

Hampton Court homes the largest vine in the world. It dates to 1768 and is still bearing fruit. 

The Palace and the Manners

My hectic weekend of walking continued at a pace on Sunday with a visit to Hampton Court Palace where I sat in the 'Queen's' spot in the Great Hall.  I'm glad it ended there!

The weekend antics were due to a colleague from Kenya visiting our office and after offering to show him sights he selected Henry Viii's little abode.  Well, Henry followed by subsequent royalty.  It was a glorious day and my phone told me I'd walked 13000 odd steps.  I got home and fainted!

Today's blog shows you the Palace and the 'manners.'  

The Palace

The chimneys

The stained glass window in the Great Hall

The Great Hall where Henry and wives presided over meals

Tapestries that have hung for 500 years

Actors portrayed Georgian scenes within the Georgian section

The Manners

It was important to have table manners in Henry's company.  My Kenyan colleague pointed out that he'd be too afraid to eat

Pics of London from a London Black Cab and Ripper Walk

Its been a hectic weekend.  Too hectic to write to you. So hectic I left Mr Him behind at home. I had a meeting in London early Saturday morning and took the opportunity to take some photos for you as I traveled across London in an iconic black cab.  I hadn't been in one in London for twenty years so it was  a treat seeing London this way. Ironically the 'black' cab is now seen in quantity in my own town nowadays.  

For those wondering what the inside of a London cab looks like, well here is an example.

Inside of the London cab

Leaving the area of Victoria station

In the vicinity of Victoria
where streets are named after Dukes, or Dukes are named after streets. 

One needs a Gloucester when talking of London

And a Grosvenor

The blossom is out as we head to Hyde Park Corner.

Not to mention a Hyde Park Corner

I wanted to capture pictures of those iconic buses for you.  What better then framed by the window of the cab.
and iconic London red buses

and a bit of spring greenery

Then later in the day I  abandoned wheels and used my feet.  With friends I went on a walking tour of Whitechapel and the Ripper Tour.  This tour took in the locations associated with the Jack the Ripper murders.  Yes, a bit grim I know but a very popular excursion.  It starts outside Tower Hill tube station, near the Tower of London

Tower of London and Tower Bridge basking in the evening sun 
 One of the suspects had a father who lived in an apartment in this building.  One of the murders took place where I was standing to take this photo.  

Another location of a murder.  The prostitutes worked this area so as they could run to the sacred ground of the church if they saw police.  They could not be arrested on church ground. Hence it was a prime location for Jack to strike. 

We walked under this modern building, known as the Gherkin, for obvious reasons. 

In contrast we also walked along this street of run down houses and shop fronts dating from the era of the murders.  It's like time stood still. 

The sun set and dusk arrived as we walked.  This alley is the site of a further murder and is still much as it was in the era.  

Our tour finished in Spittlefield Market

Making of Rhubarb Gin

How I made Rhubarb Gin and Mr Him does a BBQ See he's still being sensible. Maybe I should pour the gin down him! No. That would be a...