Wednesday, 8 July 2015

A touch of Royalty

Monday 6th July 2015

I decided to have a very rare day off work today - I have been building up the hours and needed to bring the excess down and besides that we had a big day out planned.

First on the cards was a quick shopping trip to Sainsbury's - yes, you guessed it, we were getting low on milk and being a good day and a half before we could get anymore and only just over 2 litres left it was a foregone conclusion that we would be getting more (I sense a serious whack around the ears once Diane reads this).

Once everything was stored away and we had had visit inside Mary H with Linda and Richard to see the new kitchen and other changes - all of which we really liked - we were ready for the long and gruelling cruise around the corner and hopefully (fingers all crossed) a mooring spot at Hampton Court Palace.

It is all in the timing and luckily today it was in our favour - there looked like there was a spot further along but we just couldn't see past a widebeam, but on the near end was nb Rosie, whom we had seen briefly in Kingston were just moving off, so quickly throwing it into reverse we claimed the still warm empty spot.
They had recognised our Welsh connection; they themselves were sporting the Welsh flag and gladly welcomed us to where they were leaving.

So a prime position, we didn't take long at all to lock up the boat and head up to our next tourist stop - Hampton Court Palace - a long-time inclusion on our must-do list.
Impressive when you arrive

We are always happy when there is an audio tour included - it means that you can do it at your own pace and go back over things that you might have missed along the way.
Inside Base Court

There are 6 different tours of the palace and given the size of the place it is just so diverse and in need of being placed into bite-sized chunks. It also allows for a chance to have a bit of a rest between the sections - and that is a must as you get older.

Firstly it was a walkaround the King's Kitchen - seeing and hearing about how the royal cookhouse managed to feed the vast numbers who were invited to visit and eat with the King.
Through this gate arrived all of the food and the window above was where those
responsible for the costs of all the food worked

This was just one of 6 great fireplaces used for roasting of beef - there were
two joints being done when we visited

More cooking - the equivalent of modern day hobs

Who ate all the pies? Interestingly the pie case was originally
only a means of cooking the meat inside and was not eaten.

The Royal apartments, including the Great Hall, were a show in some of the opulence of the day; some of the grandeur; and some of the everyday things that needed attending to.

The Great Hall

The Guards Room (next door)

Around the palace were a number of actors playing figures from the past

The iconic image that we all have of HenryVIII

Diane just relaxing 

A large part of Hampton Court was almost completely rebuit and renovated under the regency of William III and Mary II. It created a separate palace to the old one - the difference still remains and contrasts with the original of Cardinal Wolsey.
The Fountain Court created during the time of William and Mary
The Colonnade Gallery

Always impressive

The Guards Room inside the new extensions - the items on the walls are all
weaponry in full working order

The Orangery - this part was severely damaged by fire in 1986 but was
restored and opened again in 1992

We saw a display of the early part of Henry VIII's reign when he was married to Katherine of Aragon and relied upon Wolsey for much of his power.

Other royals including the Georges and the Charles had little impact; probably the last major impact was from Victoria who allowed the common people into Hampton Court to see the palace - from that time it became a major tourist attraction for all to see.

Another significant part of the palace of old was the fountain that was erected in the inner court which dispensed wine for all (at no cost) - a tradition that is carried on to this day - well at least for the first 100 people who get there after 4 pm - we made it with a lot of time to spare and along with our fellow patrons enjoyed the wine, the day and the palace.

Queueing for wine

Refilling from the fountain

Making sure that she doesn't spill a drop

Drinking with friends...

...especially those who won't drink yours

Almost totally exhausted after our 15000 steps we went to seek out the Real Tennis Court, but alas it was closed as there was remedial action taking so a bit of a disappointment there. It is hard with a building of this size and stature not to have work taking place somewhere within its confines almost year round, so we settled for the relaxation of the deck chairs in the sun; I think that I managed to doze off, but awoke in time to effect an exit before we were locked in.
Just a small part of the extensive gardens - this one is outside the Orangery

...and viewing from inside the Orangery

The end of a lovely day

Back on the boat it was a pleasing end to a busy day - we both slept very well and very peacefully.

3 Miles
YTD: 523 Miles, 310 Locks, 12 Tunnels, 2 Lift Bridges, 13 Swing Bridges

Totals: 3417 Miles, 2431 Locks, 110 Tunnels, 36 Lift Bridges, 164 Swing Bridges

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