Saturday, 16 May 2015

Adam Delivers and Windsor Castle

That mine of information; Adam from nb Briar Rose left a comment on yesterday’s post regarding the photo I thought had a link to the Astor family.  The building is actually the Star & Garter Home in Richmond with no link whatsoever to the Astors (except they might have attended functions in the original hotel).

The first recorded building on the site was in 1738 when an inn was constructed.  In 1888 a fire destroyed almost all of the original expanded structure and a new Star & Garter Hotel was built.  During WW1 the hotel was purchased and then donated to Queen Mary who wanted a home for permanently paralysed and disabled servicemen.  After the war the hotel was demolished and the current building constructed as a purpose built home with the same purpose.  The building was subsequently sold to developers in 2013 and is being converted into apartments. 

There is a link to Australia and NZ.  Nancy Wake, The White Mouse lived at the home from 2003 until her death in 2011.  Nancy was born in Wellington, NZ before moving to Sydney, Australia with her family.  At 16 she ran away from home eventually settling in France where she married a frenchman. During WW2 she worked with the French Resistance and was the most sought after member.  The Nazi’s placed a 5 million franc reward for information leading to her capture.  She escaped to England and joined the SOE before parachuting back into occupied France.  Apparently she landed in a tree and when the french commander found her he called out “I hope that all the trees in France bear such beautiful fruit this year," to which she replied, "Don't give me that French shit."  She obviously hadn’t lost that antipodean attitude.

After the war Nancy returned to Australia where she unsuccessfully stood for Federal Parliament before retiring to northern NSW with her second husband.  On his death she returned to England, eventually moving to the Star and Garter Home.

Yesterday afternoon we visited Windsor Castle.  Our last visit was 25 years ago and much has changed.  The visitor entrance is now the exit and the new entrance includes security screening (metal detectors and x-ray machines).  I though the cost was over priced and there was less on display than the visit to the Royal Armouries in Leeds.  25 years ago we took a photo of the following scene which we repeated during this visit.

He was only 10 when he last posed by the cannon!

As you can see, it rained throughout the visit. 

OK, I cheated… The above photo was taken as we left this morning.

The ceiling in the Royal Apartments looked rather new.  Then I remembered the Queen had that horrible year which included a major fire in the castle (1992).  The roof was destroyed and significant damage occurred to the walls and some of the timber flooring.  The door to the private apartments was open and we briefly considered popping in to have tea and scones with Liz and Phil.  But we realised we were running out of time.  They will have to eagerly wait for another occasion.  Before leaving I had my ticket annotated.  This allows me to visit any number of times during the next 12 months at no cost.  We wandered back to Waiouru in the rain.

This morning we topped up the water tank and then winded the boat, before heading back towards London.  The Horse Show in the grounds of the Royal Estate were still in progress.  Plenty of advertising for Land Rover so we assumed they are the major sponsor.  I decided against taking photos of horses and instead concentrated on carriages.

The plan is to head back to the junction of the Thames and Wey Navigation.


Adam said...

I don't know how long a licence you're planning to get for the Wey, but licences sold after 2pm get that afternoon free. So if you buy a three day licence, you get that afternoon, and then the following three days. The lock keeper has a lunch break between 1 and 2pm.

It's a lovely waterway -- but the entrance is very badly signed, and you'll almost certainly think it can't possibly be up this narrow, overgrown channel.

The locks have a very strong pull forward when you're going up. Tie a stern line to the yellow peg by the bottom gates, and you'll be fine.

Tom and Jan said...


I walked to the Thames Lock last night and spoke to the lock keeper before walking further along the towpath. It looks rather lovely. Finding the entrance won't be a problem as Paul's excellent gps maps will provide directions.

Carol said...

Get up to the Anchor pub at Pyrford on your first day. It looks a posh place, but the moorings are good, the food is good, beer is good and prices are good. I don’t often give four goods for a pub!

Tom and Jan said...

To late! We passed it this morning. But the moorings were full. Perhaps on the way back.