The Annual Hampton Court Mother and Daughter Outing

Only this year had to go over and pick Jill up from her new home – by the time I had dragged myself around there, and dragged her out of her house, and we had been to Lidl and crawled around the M25 we didn’t get there until about 1330.
Phil suggested that we parked in Bushey park – and it was a good idea as there was plenty of free parking and not much further to walk. Also got to see the Diana fountain again which was beautiful against the winter sky.We ate in the Tiltyard Cafe, then went into the Palace. The tree was beautiful – decorated with real lilies so it smelt gorgeous as well – and I managed to photograph some orbs which I am now reliably and disappointingly told by many, many websites and my husband, are nothing more than dust spots.
We caught the last few minutes of the Fools performance in the courtyard – I really must learn how to turn videos the right way up.

We carried on up to the Great Hall to watch the dancing, and joined in, then down to the kitchens to look at the cookery and spent a while talking to one of the cooks. (As usual!)A rather bad photograph of the two cooks who we see every year.

One last farandole – although not led by the fool – so rather a sedate circle of the Great Hall rather than a race through the Palace. (Jill – have found another word to go with ‘tot’ and ‘blaze’ and ‘cash’ – how about ‘romp’? I was almost tempted to use it there, but the red headline warning flashed.) (For anyone else – this is our collection of tabloid speak)
I seem to take the same photographs every year – but the tree with the mistletoe is so beautiful.

So is my daughter!

Hampton Court – Annual Visit 2007

Jill and I made our annual visit to see the re-enactors at Hampton Court – we love going at Christmas. We got there quite early as I had to go into work at midnight to see in the New Year (!) and luckily got there in time to see the Fool. He is brilliant – I don’t know what he does the rest of the year, but when Prince Charles is crowned he should go back to having a King’s Fool and hire him.

He believes in audience participation – he had this poor chap stripped down to his bare chest in 5 minutes – and used children as pillows!

We went up to the Great Hall to see King Henry and Katherine Howard receiving their Christmas presents – the fool tried to grab my bag to give to the King, but I wouldn’t let go, so in the end he picked me up and carried me to the King and put me down at his feet – luckily he was still besotted with Katherine Howard so I escaped with my head intact! No photos allowed in the Great Hall – well, I wasn’t quick enough before the Jobsworth spotted me.
We had lunch in the cafe, then went down to see the cooks.
I could listen all day to these two – they were supposed to be making a wine fountain out of moulded wax – but had got sidetracked here and were making a wax copy of one of their noses.

Hampton Court – Annual Visit 2007

Jill and I made our annual visit to see the re-enactors at Hampton Court – we love going at Christmas. We got there quite early as I had to go into work at midnight to see in the New Year (!) and luckily got there in time to see the Fool. He is brilliant – I don’t know what he does the rest of the year, but when Prince Charles is crowned he should go back to having a King’s Fool and hire him.

He believes in audience participation – he had this poor chap stripped down to his bare chest in 5 minutes – and used children as pillows!

We went up to the Great Hall to see King Henry and Katherine Howard receiving their Christmas presents – the fool tried to grab my bag to give to the King, but I wouldn’t let go, so in the end he picked me up and carried me to the King and put me down at his feet – luckily he was still besotted with Katherine Howard so I escaped with my head intact! No photos allowed in the Great Hall – well, I wasn’t quick enough before the Jobsworth spotted me.
We had lunch in the cafe, then went down to see the cooks.
I could listen all day to these two – they were supposed to be making a wine fountain out of moulded wax – but had got sidetracked here and were making a wax copy of one of their noses.

Wedding and walking

…Dan came home late on Friday night – it was a last minute decision as PGL have written into their contracts that if there are not many children let loose on site, then they can make their staff take annual leave – out of their quota. I think this sucks – but it was good to see Dan. I was working on Friday night – evidently he came in n- shouted ‘Lo (Dan never says the ‘he’) I’m going to a party’ and we didn’t see him until about 2 in the morning.
Saturday Jill and I tried to persuade him to come for a walk with us – no, he did enough exercise at work. Shopping? No – he just wanted to do Nothing and be alone really – had enough exercise and company for the time being. Phil and Jake had gone on a 50 mile bike ride with their club – so Jill and I went shopping.
Mainly for food – but I bought a skirt and top to go to the wedding reception later on.
Phil and I set out for Shepperton where we were staying the night at the Holiday Inn, to go to Steve and Sharons wedding reception. We got halfway down the M26 – definitely past the point of no return – when Phil said ‘I’ve forgotten my shoes!!’
He had the choice of trainers or hiking boots in the car – so had to wear the boots which looked a bit incongruous with a suit.
Holiday Inn had given us an upgrade to an executive suite – very nice. The place was swarming with rugby players – and was also hosting a wedding reception – we thought about staying at the hotel and just going to that one – but had already ordered the taxi.
The reception was held in a very swanky tennis club in St Georges in Weybridge – you had to go through gates with automatic number plate recognition and a security guard just to get onto the estate. It oozed money – huge houses – imaculate gardens – and it’s own tennis club, with a lake and a vast fountain.
Steve looked very dapper

Phil used to work with Steve – so there were quite a few people there we have known for years but don’t see very often.Some of them had been there for quite some time and had been enjoying themselves Mightily!

Here is Colin – young handsome and single – all requests for his phone number will be vetted by myself.

To finish – here are the gorgeous couple having the first dance of their marriage.

The next day we had a huge breakfast and decided to leave the car at the hotel car park and go for a walk along the Thames. It was a gorgeous sunny day – and on being told by a local that it was about an hours walk to Hampton Court thought that we would go there. Slight under estimation – think it took us about two hours – not including the obligatory pub stop.


The camera died halfway there – too late to stop Phil taking a picture of a badly tied parcel on a seat with a rubbish bin as a hat – or these pictures of boats – but too early to take interesting pictures of Hampton Court

We had lunch in Ziggis, there was a long wait once we had ordered, because they had run out of cucumber and some minion had been dispatched to go and buy one. Literally a fruitless expedition. We spent the time people watching – we were sat right opposite the steps down to the river. The prize went to ‘man at C&A’ – despite the hot weather dressed in purple roll neck, tweed jacket and jeans – with moustache and hair cut he had stepped right out of the seventies. He even had the poses!
Then there was a man who was stuffing bags into a skip – we decided that he was a rival restauranteur who had bought up all the cucumbers in Hampton Court in a bid to destroy Ziggis. Last but not least – abandoned Granny. We saw her first with a couple – then she was alone sitting on a wall. She then got up and wandered a little aimlessly. When we left the restaurant she was standing at the side of the road looking slightly hopeful, as if waiting for a lift somewhere.
After lunch we went over the river to Hampton Court and walked through the gardens to Bushy Park. I was flagging a bit by now – but we had to go and see the Diana Fountain (no, not that Diana – the goddess Diana).

(picture thanks to the wonderful internet)

Phil had worked on it when he worked for the Fountain workshop, and had been inside looking for rare spiders (don’t ask) and to see the feasibility of getting it working again. It was made in the seventeenth century and had originally been in Somerset House. Hampton Court scuppered the idea as both this and the Hampton Court fountains are gravity fed from the same river, the Diana Fountain would have got the water first, leaving the Hampton Court fountains to dribble instead of spurt triumphantly.

I had a further little grumble about my legs being tired and having sand in my shoes and wanting to go howowome when we spotted a sign saying ‘Home Park 300m’, but gave it up as a bad job when I realised that I was going to see all the fountains that he had worked on in the Hampton Court area that could be seen for free whether I liked it or not.

The Long Water is aptly named, and the fountains weren’t working anyway – but we had to walk all the way round it to get back to the Thames path.

The Abandoned Granny wasn’t there any more – Phil did say that he thought he saw a pair of feet sticking out of the skip but we reckoned that she would be able to survive on the cucumbers so didn’t investigate further.

We were both a bit tired – and by the time we got to the obligatory pub stop were looking forward to seeing the cool drops of condensation on the outside of the glass…..

The pub was heaving – almost every table packed and a queue outside the door for the bar. So we cheekily sat down at one of the tables and drank from our water bottle, and carried on. The next pub was too close to the end of the walk to bother with, and the sun was setting so we carried on to the Holiday Inn. As the bar was still teeming with rugby players we went and sat outside (I was with my husband!!) in the gardens landscaped by someone who had been to the lego school of landscaping. (Pergola – here – in middle of grass for no apparent reason – tables and chairs – here – next to conference rooms and far away from the picturesque river)

The birds were singing, and there were distant noises of merriment from the river, and we passed a diverting few moments wondering whether the scampering thing in the grass was a weasel or a rat. It was a rat.