December 31, 2007

LOW with Simon - Canterbury

The afternoon stop on the London Original Walks tour with Simon was to Canterbury on the River Stour.

We admired the city gate and other sites of interest along the way. Simon pointed out a dunking stool, a famous hospital (really an inn), a "Queen Elizabeth slept here" building that now houses a Nero coffee bar, and old A2 hiway signs to Dover / Chatham above a pedestrian street.
Simon told us we could view the gate (refurbished fairly recently) to the Canterbury Cathedral but the only way we could see the interior was to attend the Evensong service. Simon led the others to see more sights of the city while I attended my first (and possibly last) Church of England service in this very special cathedral.

LOW with Simon - Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle was the morning stop on the London Original Walks day trip led by Simon. Leeds Castle is sometimes called the "loveliest castle in the world" and it was very pretty. Leeds Castle traces its roots to a 9th century manor house and King Edward I made it into a royal palace in 1278. King Henry V accused his stepmother, Queen Joan, of witchcraft and imprisoned her there. King Henry VIII upgraded the castle for Catherine of Aragon. The American heiress, Lady Baillie decorated the home beautifully which is why Simon said the castle has more of a "stately home" feel than a castle. She loved her dogs and buried 3 near the lake.

After touring the castle, I visited the aviary with a great selection of birds, although I marvelled that they did not seem to mind the very cold day as much as I did.

Time was running out and I had to choose between getting lost in the maze or visiting the quirky and world's only "Dog Collar" museum - of course, I chose the museum. The collars looked too wide to be comfortable but I learned that they were to protect the necks of the dogs from bears, wolves, wild boar and other predators.

December 29, 2007

Shell Wildlife Photography Exhibit 2007

My favorite annual exhibition is the Shell sponsored Wildlife Photography Competition in the Natural History Museum in London. The photos are amazing and always energise us! Here are a few of my favorites (I loved them all) from the website: Stoat with Toast, Water Vole, Penguins (porpoising and climbing), Breaching Great White Shark, Kilauea Dawn.