Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sunday this and that, oot and aboot!


What a gorgeous day we had again yesterday. Todd measured the temperature in the shade and he said it was 22 as far as he could tell. The temperature measurerer thingie didn't go past that number, so it may even have been warmer! I only know for sure it felt like S-U-M-M-E-R!!  Looks like the sun is out again today as well!

We took ourselves off into the city for a couple of hours.  We thought it would be a great day to do that, what with the nice weather and all . . . plus the races were on, so we knew it would be entertaining as well, and we were not wrong in the least.

I love Chester so very much.  When we lived down South for those 7 years, I often longed to come back here.  I really missed it.  I often said to Todd that if we could take our whole church Ward from Tunbridge Wells back to Chester to live, that would have been nirvana.  However we couldn't and when it came time for us to move back, it was a bit of a wrench to leave them all behind . . . we still miss them . . .but we so love being back up here!!

It was literally bustling yesterday!  I love a city that is alive with colour in all shapes and forms, don't you?

Everywhere we looked there was red, white and blue . . . all in preparation for the upcoming Jubilee, don't you know . . . this is a big week for Chester.  The Olympic Torch is coming through on the 29th, and then of course there are the Jublilee Celebrations at the weekend, it's all go-go-GO!


The shop windows were all decorated with red, white and blue.  I  liked the Marks & Spencers one the best.  They always do their shop windows up so nicely for every occasion and I think they have really done the Queen and the country proud this time!  It is really difficult to get good pictures of shop windows . . . there are always reflections in them, but I thought this turned out pretty good nonetheless.

WE have a really posh hotel in Chester called the Chester Grosvenor.  It also has it's very own shopping precinct . . . for the well-to-do, of course . . . there is usually a really posh doorman standing outside waiting to escorte guests in.  I didn't see him yesterday though . . . he must have been on his tea-break!  I've always told Todd that when we win the lottery, we'll stay there until our posh house is ready for us.  Of course you must buy a ticket to win . . . but the dreams are free are they not?

In any case . . .

Their shop windows were decorated for the Jubilee as well . . . but of course in a much more elegant manner, as you can see.  The other window had an older queen in it and more un-affordable jewelry.

These two lads are often seen in the city singing their hearts out of a Saturday.   They're quite good really.  I think they must do really well.  I think Chester has exemplary buskers.  I really do.

There was bunting and flags everywhere.  That is the Jubilee Clock you can see up on the East Gate of the wall.  It was put there for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, I think.  It's quite beautiful actually and a wonderful focal point of the city.   I think every visitor to Chester has their picture taken under it!  I know I did all those 12 years ago when I came over for my first visit!

I just love the architecture of Chester City . . . with all of it's black and white Tudor buildings . . . tastefully mixed with classic modern bits.  It is a very old city, and that is the feeling you get when you wander it's streets.  Some are still cobbled as well, which, while not all that easy to walk upon . . . do add a bit of charm, to an already completely charming space!


Chester is arguably the richest city in Britain for archaeological and architectural treasures preserved to this day from the time of the Roman occupation. Originally the fortress site of the 20th legion (Valeria Victrix) it was charged with suppressed the uprising of the army led by the warrior queen, Boadicea, the town being known then (c. AD70) as Deva, and soon became a major trading port. Its massive harbour and border position made it one of the finest strategic outposts of the Roman Empire. Long after the Romans had gone, during the Dark Ages, Viking raiders arrived in their long boats along the same route. After the Romans withdrew circa AD400, the prosperous city fell prey to marauding Danes and Saxons and was virtually derelict by 900.


The Normans reached Chester circa 1070 and a revival began, Chester Castle was built, housing Hugh the Wolf, First Earl of Chester, nephew of William the Conqueror. By the Middle Ages, Chester had become an affluent and prosperous port. It was during this time that the famous Rows were built. so that by the 13th century, it had again become a centre of shipping trade, a port serving Scotland, Ireland, France and Spain. In the 14th century began the Mystery Plays and pageants for which the city became famous. Henry VIII granted a charter in 1541 and made Chester a bishopric. By the 15th century, the Dee began to silt up and gradually, the seaborne trade died. Impoverished by this natural action the 1640s brought devastation during the English Civil War, with the city under siege for two years until starvation forced surrender.


But throughout this chequered history, the Roman walls remained virtually intact. The walls extend in a 2 mile circuit and give a vivid reminder of what a medieval fortified town was like. In the Middle Ages, several towers and gates to the walls were made: the most important of these was at Eastgate, now astride a main throughfare and crowned with an anachronistic clock commemorating Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee (1897). By the 1700s, the River Dee had changed course and the port had silted up. The walls were no longer needed for defence and were restyled into the pleasant walkways that we enjoy today. The Industrial Revolution brought canals, railways and roads. It was during this time that many important buildings were restored.

The most distinctive medieval feature of the city is The Rows. These are double-level walkways with a continuous line of balconies and with shops at street and first-floor levels. The Rows are unique and were certainly in existence in the 14th century.  Just another part of Chester's unique charm!

It was very busy in the city yesterday.  everyone was out and about enjoying the sunshine and the races, etc.  I took a short video of this fabulous Busker down near the city hall.  It's only about a minute long, so turn off the music below and have a peek if you want to.  He had sooooo much energy!  He was helping to raise money for the Help for Heroes.  (A charity which helps out Soldiers and their families.)  He wasn't quite Michael Buble, but he sure was entertaining!

All in all we had a fabulous time in the city . . . enjoyed some sun, had a nice lunch, watched some very entertaining Buskers and just plain had a nice couple of hours together.

It's very special to be able to share the things you love with the one you love!

After we came home, Todd did a bit of work in the garden and I did a few more illustrations for my next cookbooklet.  I did this little mini car out and about in the country with a family inside on their way to a picnic.  The quote says:  among the delights of summer were picnics  to the woods

Todd says it's his favourite of all that I've ever done.  I do rather like it myself.  He is always saying I paint too many little girls.  I guess he was glad to see that I had done something completely different I guess!  I might offer this one as a card as well.  We shall see.

I also did this one, which I think may be on the back page of the cookbooklet.  I'm not sure yet.  In any case although it looks very simple, this was far more challenging than the car one!  It's not that easy to keep everything where it's supposed to be and I had a hard time making the crown show up well.  I suppose had I gone to Art College, it would all be a doddle for me!  However I didn't.  Most of the time I'm just  flying by the seat of my pants! Learning and discovering new techniques . . .  things that work, things that don't work . . . what I can and cannot do, etc.  as I go along!

All in all it was a fabulous day yesterday from start to finish . . . We ended the day watching the Eurovison Song Contest until it was time to go to bed.  I don't know who won, or anything . . . but what I did see, was . . . umm . . . errr . . . interesting to say the least!  And yes . . . entertaining!

Here's how we began the day . . . 

Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Breakfast Batter Puddings.  Scrummy with fruit!

“Since the beginning of time, love has been the source of both the highest bliss and the heaviest burdens. At the heart of misery from the days of Adam until today, you will find the love of wrong things. And at the heart of joy, you will find the love of good things."And the greatest of all good things is God.” 
~President Dieter F Uchtdorf

For each of you I wish a very sunny, blessed and soul enriching Sabbath day!  May you be fed with much more than Sunday Lunch.


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