The Wonders of London. Part 3

So, there I was, in the very centre of the great capital, near the Tower of London.

While strolling around a small place called the Trinity Square I stumble upon this little memorial on the ground, just a cobbled square, really, with some shrubbery around and several plaques.

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I came closer. Blimay! I happened upon the Tower Hill scaffold site!

 

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It looked very peaceful and even serene, but this place is where a permanent scaffold was located for many years. This permanent scaffold was erected in 1485 for public executions (before that the scaffolding had  been temporary? – because the first deaths indicated on the tablets at the memorial was dated earlier  the that – 1381)

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It  looks like at those times even the executions could be either private or public (don’t know how they allocated the status). High profile people such as Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, Jane Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey all had their heads chopped off within the Tower walls, but  others – perhaps not so much privileged? – met their end here.

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There were several plaques with the names of famous people executed here – Thomas More, John Fisher, Thomas Cromwell, Edward Seymour, Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger, Thomas Howard (4th Duke of Norfolk)…  A Lord Lovat was the last man to be beheaded in England in 1747 on this very spot.

Hmmm… Who was this Lord Lovatt anyway and why was he beheaded?

Ok, I looked him up.

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He was born Simon Fraser and was not really entitled to this title (ha!) by birth, but rather got it by an unusual way. He kidnapped and married the widow of the previous Lord Lovat, but her poweful family , angered obviously, prosecuted him. He had to flee the country.  Fraser was convicted in absentia, attained  and sentenced to death. But later he was pardoned for some service to the crown.He still wasn’t the Lord Lovat though!

Now, he kind of applied for the confirmation of this title (?!) and got it! Wow! Was he good or what?

But our restless Simon didn’t enjoy his newly obtained title for long. In 15 years took part in some Scottish uprising against the Crown and was sentenced to death. He met his end here on this very spot. He was 80 years old.

By the way, his titles were forfeit.

Anyway, there were over 100 people beheaded on this spot, but now it is just a little cobbled square in the Trinity gardens and try as you might you won’t see all the blood that was streaming under these cobbles so many years ago,

Sobering thought…

The wonders of London. Part 2

When I was in London last Saturday I made a very brief but wonderful visit to the Roman Wall. Right in the center of London, in the City, near the Tower.

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The Romans built the wall when they invaded the British Isles – hold it - in the 2ND CENTURY AD!

 

 

It is still there.

The wall was surrounding Londinium, the Roman settlement which later became you know what.

Just think – these  very stones were laid almost 2000 years ago!

And now I was looking at THE VERY SAME WALL.

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I admit – I touched it. It was like touching History itself

The Wonders of London. Again.

I have been very busy lately painting a big commission of six cats portrait. But last weekend I went to London again to explore more of it’s many wonderful secrets.

My first visit was to the Tower of London to see the poppies installation of which I heard so much and many photographs of which I saw everywhere.

But I HAD to see it for myself.

And I did.

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Wow!!! Just wow! I have to say that no photo would ever convey the true magnificence of that sight.

It was unforgettable!

Scarlet carpet of flowers was covering the vast moat of the ancient castle, flowing over the steps, looking endless and eternal…

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The whole installation was made to commemorate the fallen British soldiers who gave their lives during the First World War (a red poppy traditionally  represents the War’s heroes here). Earlier this year the world was remembering the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the WW1 and here was another great monument to the brave people who fought valiantly and paid the highest price – their lives.

 

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888,246 British soldiers perished at the battlefields of the war. For each of the fallen soldiers a hand-made ceramic poppy was installed near the Tower of London.

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I thought it was very poignant and moving and… – “LEST WE FORGET”

Yin and Yang Cats – more pillows from me

I just finished another pair of handmade appliqued cushions, this time playing on the contrasting colors, black and white.

And I just had to call them Yin and Yang cats, didn’t I?

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Yin and Yang Cats pillows/cushions

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Yin cat

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Yang cat

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Black cat detail

 

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Yin Cat cushion – detail

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Yang cushion – detail

If you’d like to look at and/or buy my other works, please go here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/NaturelandsAndCo

Little Dissapointment of London

When I go to London I never usually feel let down by it’s many wonders.

I was a little bit today.

When I was on the train I saw this very intriguing sign:

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“Wow!” – thought I – “I wonder what hides behind this board? A Willy Wonka style confectionery sweat shop? An  old fashioned sweets heaven for Big City kiddies?” How exciting! How mysterious!

Of course, when I returned home, I just had to look it up.

It looks like it was just an advert for a London theater. Here what it really looks like:

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It is not even close to the location of the sign!

Admittedly, the theater is in the building of the former French  chocolate company called Menier which was opened between 1865 and 1874 and had been derelict since the 1980s, then was re-born as the theater in 2004. Which is wonderful in itself, of course!

But this is not what I expected…

The real Menier Chocolate Factory building is undoubtedly sumptuous and magnificent, but for me  suddenly gone was some enigmatic charm of anticipation of a mystery…

It was just an advertising sign, nothing else…

A bit sad…