Echo Weblog

a blog about my daily life, passions and happenings

Queen’s Garden Party

On 10th of May 2016 attended the Queen’s Garden Party. My husband and I were given the opportunity to attend the Royal Garden Party, especially so in this year of the Queen’s 90th birthday. My little boy said we were very lucky! We arrived at Buckingham Palace before 3pm the queue wasn’t long walked through the Grand Hall of the Palace, out onto the terrace, and enjoyed looking around the gardens for an hour.

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Nearly 8,000 guests gathered on the lawns of Buckingham Palace as the Queen arrived to the National Anthem.   Despite the rain the Queen and Prince Philip chatted to a number of guests before taking tea in the Royal Tent.  Other members of the royal family who attended included The Duke of York, The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Alexandra.

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The very British weather did not dampen guests’ spirits, and people from all walks of life mingled in very good humour, many taking the opportunity to explore the 40-acre Palace gardens that normally remain hidden to members of the public, whilst others enjoyed their royal afternoon tea accompanied by an eclectic variety of music played by two military bands.

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As you might imagine, everything was expertly managed by Palace staff, not least the 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake that are served by around 400 staff!”

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Garden parties go a long way did exist in Queen Victoria’s time, but, despite being held in the afternoon, were called ‘Breakfasts’ and only the nobility and officials were invited. When the present Queen came to the throne in 1952, eligible young ladies were presented at Court, as they had been for years. In 1958, these presentations were abolished.

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No doubt a very special event for us both to remember!

 

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My 50th Birthday!

Happy Birthday to me! Now I am old and wise!  I have reached my half century! Couldn’t keep it a secret.

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Personally I’d rather disappear on holiday for a week and pretend it never happened!

As I couldn’t escape I decided to do something special for my 50th birthday! A weekend trip to Worcester, a great birthday Italian meal  at Zizzy’s  shared with family (of course miss my family and friends from Greece)  lots of birthday wishes and lots of presents! Felt spoiled rotten!

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My birthday cake was amazing! A lady (and friend) named Hayley she did my special birthday cake. I’ve seriously never tasted a cake so delicious and she is really creative and talented! Everyone loved it!

I hope the next 50 years to pass more smoothly than the first.

I will always fondly remember. Here is to the next 50 years!

Longleat Safari Park

Early September we visited Longleat and I must say it was a lovely day out. The weather was perfect too. The historic house is magnificnet and the park looks impressive but we were unable to join the tour this time.

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We had a lovely cream team at the café however this was interrupted by the wasps! The boat trip was a cool experience saw the seals, hippos, and the gorilla chilling out in his personal island!

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We loved our safari adventure we drove through the animal enclosures seeing lions, cheeky monkeys (watch out for the wipers and aerial), zebras, tigers, deer, camels, wolves and many more animals.

12037991_10153636029591617_1462856618240272810_n It was an amazing experience to see so many beautiful animals and every animal seem happy.

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Another highlight of our trip were the maze, the meerkats, parrots, lemurs, penguins.

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My son really enjoyed the deadly 60 attraction based on the BBC television show. Steve Backshall sends us on a mission to find deadly animals in the fully themed outdoor challenge arena, The animals aren’t real; we swiped a barcode at kiosks scattered around the challenge area.The game was played under a time limit and we had to complete 10 challenges. When we finished went back to Mission control and collect our own personal score certificate. We were  was pleased with our score.  The game experience has kept us fit too!

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On the whole we had a lovely family day out. Longleat is a wonderful place and we promised we go again even though it is an expensive attraction but it is great for children and parents alike!

Matara Gardens of Wellbeing

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Summer is the perfect time to discover one of the most amazing gardens near Tetbury, Gloucestershire. The Matara Gardens at Kingcote location is a spiritual unique place with beautiful grounds, gardens and buildings.

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There is a Chinese-inspired cloistered garden with its pagoda, pond and waterfall, as well as many woodland and walled gardens, herb gardens and meditation spirals and trails.

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We had fun exploring this magical place and every detail was precious.

Wander through woods and wildflower meadow where was awash with a variety of colourful wild flowers such as buttercups, red clover, poppies, as well as many grass varieties.

The bees and other insects were busy frantically gathered pollen and nectar from the flowers.

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Then we walked further and find the wish tree, maze, ponds, sculptures and the walled garden. It’s all very picturesque and tranquil. Stepping into this beautiful garden you feel immediately a sense of calm.  It has a lovely relaxed, natural feel.

Yes it is that simple!  This garden inspired me and let my imagination and energy roam free.

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It was great to explore somewhere new!

When in Rome …” Exhibition at Corinium Museum, Cirencester

Calligraphy is a kind of music not for the ears, but for the eyes. (V. Lazursky)

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The Corinium  museum open its doors to the Gloucestershire Lettering Arts (GLA) exhibition “When in Rome..” from 14 Feb 15 to 15 Mar 15). The main goal of the GLA Society is  to raise the level of awareness of calligraphy, lettering and the book arts. The exhibition ‘When in Rome’  presents a variety of calligraphy and lettering arts.

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The word Calligraphy (comes from the Greek καλλιγραφία — “beautiful handwriting”) — is the art of beautiful and clear writing.

I took a calligraphy class years 14 years ago to learn how to do this. I started with foundational hand which is the key to other forms of lettering learned about the history of the development of calligraphy about materials and methods of use, writing patterns, decorations. It was a magical experience and I found the course fascinating.  You can see an example of my lettering work here:

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Foxglove

Calligraphy is a magical skill that demands time and focus allow us to express ourselves creatively, teach us determination and patience, and elevates the soul.

Seeing the most recent exhibition at the Corinium museum I have re-discover my love for calligraphy.

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Visiting the exhibition you can see on display the four volumes of contemporary work done in response to the Lindisfarne Gospels in 2013 by just over 200 contributors from around the UK, including 6 from GLA, and some from Japan and Portugal.

 

The calligraphers were asked by the International Research Centre for Calligraphy at the University of Sunderland to contribute original work in a fusion of styles to bring together old and new, with a balance of planned direction and freedom to use their own skills and enjoy making the book together. And this was achieved in a remarkably short period.

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The finished pages were displayed in the Cathedral during the Writing 2013 Calligraphy Symposium at Durham while the original Lindisfarne Gospels were exhibited there. These pages were later bound in 4 volumes, called “Letters after Lindisfarne”, and presented to Durham Cathedral Library to be used as a lasting educational resource alongside their medieval manuscripts.

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People should go along to see the exhibition what the modern calligraphers have achieved, taking the medieval manuscripts of the Lindisfarne Gospels as their inspiration for the books and the Roman theme for the exhibition.

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Calligraphy is a unique art is a skill worth preserving for the future generations!

 

www.coriniummuseum.org

A glimpse of beautiful Dumfries and Galloway!

This Summer we explored the Dumfries and Galloway in South West of Scotland.

Threave castle

Threave castle

Scotland and its borders is a lovely region known for its gentle hills, beautiful river valleys, stunning landscape and has a natural beauty. My husband has lived and worked there as a teacher for 10 years and he wanted to return after 20years and to share with us his past memories from this area!

Garwald rivers and waterfalls

Garwald rivers and waterfalls

The South-West is home to Dumfries and Galloway, has an incredibly rich history all of its own, and areas of outstanding natural beauty, from sandy beaches and rolling hills to craggy mountains and vast forests, are home to a plethora of amazing wildlife. Our summer adventure started with our first stop at Lancaster and the visit to the Williamson Park and the Ashton Memorial, and next stop was at Carlisle castle and the museum.

St. Mary's Loch

St. Mary’s Loch

We have explored old buildings, ruins and museums, but Dumfries and Galloway also has much to offer in the great outdoors! The Grey Mare’s Tail National Nature Reserve it was an excellent day out and we enjoyed the steep climb, the walk and the picnic by the lake and we were very so happy to experience the peace and tranquility of this special place.

Grey's Mare Tail

Grey’s Mare Tail

Eskdale prehistoric trail it is an interesting historic place in the Eskdalemuir valley with many prehistoric remains. Some of the sites we visited with prehistoric significance were: Bessie’s Hill Fort, Castle O’er a spectacular fort with a great view up and down the valley, the Lupin and Girdle Stanes by the river Esk very impressive too. It is still a mystery what these stones, forts and enclosures meant to our ancestors?

Kagyu Saye-ling is a large Tibetan Buddhist monastery. The gardens and the temple is really beautiful. There is a shop and a café where we spent lots of time and met some of my husband’s friends. We also enjoyed our walk to Garwald and saw impressive waterfalls.

Kagyu Samye Ling, Eskdalemuir

Kagyu Samye Ling, Eskdalemuir

Other places which caught our attention were: Traquair House one of the Scot’s favourite haunts, St Mary’s Loch, Threave castle, MacLellan’s Castle in the town of Kirkcudbright, Heritage castle.We also have explored the spectacular landscape and discover the history of Langholm and Newcastleton Hills.

Traquair House

Traquair House

And to finally wrap up, we explored Abbotsford the historic home of Sir Walter Scott in the Socttish borders. He was the most famous poet, novelist and man of letters in Scottish literature and a keen antiquarian. His library and the collection of books about magic was really fascinating.

Abbotsford - Sir Walter's Scott house

Abbotsford – Sir Walter’s Scott house

I am glad I visited this part of bonnie land Scotland, a hidden gem of tranquil countryside and left a bit of my soul and heart there. Would go back again in a minute. Wonderful!

Heritage House

Heritage House

I hope this overview of what we have seen and experienced in Dumfries and Galloway has been a true inspiration for you and you will be able to pay a visit one day.

To say the least – It was a wonderful experience !!

Upton Blues Festival 2014!

Attended Upton blues festival on Sunday 20/7/14 while celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary!!

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Upton blues festival is a very popular festival, and probably one of the biggest free blues festivals around in UK.  Set in the beautiful Worcestershire riverside town of Upton upon Severn.  The festival celebrated its 13th anniversary – featured the Best of British Blues plus some from US and Netherlands too.

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Bands and musicians played at pubs, bars and other venues throughout the town and down on the waterfront.  The event attracted many people and the town had such a great vibe, 100 gigs over the three days (18/7-20/7, 2014)!  Some of the bands which performed  included : Groovy Head, TroubleShooters, Doctors Order,The Real Raj, The SpikeDrivers, Henry’s Funeral Shoe.                                  

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Real Raj!

We came in 2011 and had a fabulous time. It was a brilliant atmosphere!! This year was fantastic too!  We love Upton blues festival – it really is special event.

We had a fabulous time and the music was great!

Cigar box guitars

Cigar box guitars

More information can be found on the http://uptonbluesfestival.org.uk/

Bradford on Avon!

I’ve been very quiet for a while and didn’t post anything…..but recently, we paid a visit to historic wool town Bradford on Avon. Bradford-on-Avon is lovely – been there a few times. It’s such a charming town!

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Eastnor Castle and Ledbury

I am fortunate enough to have seen few fascinating castles until I started living in UK.

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Eastnor castle in Herefordshire is another one which we have explored and I have to put it on my “done” list. It is a mock castle, built between 1812-24 and remains the home of the Hervey-Bathurst family. The interior of the stately home has magnificent collections of armour, Italian furniture, Flemish tapestries, paintings, lots of old books, antiques and a chapel.

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The setting of the castle is amazing surrounded by a lush arboretum, beautiful grounds and lake.

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Eastnor castle organizes often exciting events and activities for all ages. So if you want to take a peek here is http://eastnorcastle.com/.

My son had fun in the adventure playground , and all we loved the lakeside and woodland walk and our picnic.

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On the way back we stopped in Ledbury, an attractive market town with narrow cobbled streets and lots of timber-framed buildings, quaint-looking little shops and pubs. We wandered around a bit and we went to see the amazing 16th century painted room in the Registry office. Remarkable fresco paintings were found under layers of plaster in 1989, which show Tudor knot gardens and fruit full of vibrant colours and contain also biblical texts and proverbs.

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One of the texts says

“That in his heart regardeth not, malicious, wicked men: but those that love and fear the Lord”

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I do love castles they look so mysterious and impressive….still to see more and enjoy.

An amazing trip to Lille (Rijsel) in France!

Every Easter we travell somewhere. This time we decided to visit Lille in north of France where my husband’s brother live. We reached Lille in just one hour from London on the Eurostar (my son and us were really excited), so it is really accessible for another getaway trip perhaps.

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Lille (or Rijsel in Dutch) is a beautiful European city with a rich history. Lille is situated on the Deûle River, near France’s border with Belgium. It looks picturesque and the architecture is stunning. I know very little about France and I’m glad I came to visit Lille and learn a bit more about. My wish is to visit many more European cities like Copenhagen, Budapest, Brussels, Croatia and many others.

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We visited also one of the best places in Lille the Citadel.

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The Citadel is a huge park built in the shape of a pentagon and it’s surrounded by a moat. The weather was lovely we had a very relaxing spring walk and we absolutely loved the area around the Citadelle.

We took a stroll through the old town and we saw that it has many charming narrow 17th century cobble streets filled with antiques and elegant shops , trendy cafes, patisseries and restaurants .

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Wazzemes market is one one of the best known and most popular markets in Lille. We went to the market and bought fresh fish, olives and vegetables . Being Greek myself I appreciate and enjoy a taste of a good and authentic of food but this time I did experience it in French style.

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Lille offers an alternative experience and is the perfect place to travel.

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