RAF Museum

On our holiday we went to Monkey Forest and Royal Air Force Museum, Cosford. The museum is near an active field, so we saw soldiers and real fighters planes.

We both enjoyed it very much. I didn’t had high expectations, but I found the information very interesting and well presented. We spend around 3 hours without realizing how time passed. The museum is free and the parking is cheap (2.5 pounds for 3 hours).raf_01

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The history of the aviation. It was very nicely presented, the British history comparative to the rest of the world, by decades.
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Fun ‘n’ Flight was a very nice part of the museum. I must admit we played a lot.
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It was pretty hard to keep the helicopter steady.
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The simulator had two pedals too. It was very interesting, but I couldn’t stay too much to play with it because there were children waiting.
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The position of the pilot in the cockpit. It doesn’t look to comfy.
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Here is the cockpit.
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Good-luck charms.
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They had a dentist-van.
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A foldable motorcycle.
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In 2007 the £12.5 million National Cold War Exhibition was opened by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne. The architecture and design of the building are very impressive.
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I was completing a survey for the RAF Museum.
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A very interesting way to present the events of the conflicts with the domino effect. One of the few special rooms with movies.
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There was an Art Gallery with very nice paintings.
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Holiday

We had a small holiday this week. We went to Stafford, Telford and Stoke on Trent. I took some pictures on the motorway, but I put just one on the blog. We were on the 2nd lane (of 5) on M6, to Stafford.h_01

Our holiday started with a visit of Ancient High House. The lovely Tudor building from the center of Stafford, the largest remaining timber framed town house in England, is a free museum. The house was build in 1595.
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St Chad’s Church, viewed from the Ancient High House.
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Henry VIII and his 6 wives.
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The attic hosts Staffordshire Yeomanry Regiment Museum.
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As you can see from the pictures, the city center is very beautiful.
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Near the Ancient High House we saw St. Chad’s church. Unfortunately it was closed, so we weren’t able to visit it.
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Stafford Castle. On this location we took Festus with us.

The Castle was build in 1100 by Robert de Toeni, later known as Robert of Stafford. In the 14th century Ralph became the 1st Earl of Stafford. He ordered the building of a stone keep and was granted a license to crenelate and so constructed the battlements.

By the early 17th century the condition of the castle had deteriorated. During the English Civil War the Parliamentary Committee in Stafford ordered it to be demolished.

It was rebuilt in the Gothic Revival Style, but the castle fell into ruin through this century. Rebuilt by the Jerningham family in the early 19th Century using the same foundations the keep was again a magnificent four stores structure. However, given over to caretakers and then abandoned again in the 1950s it became derelict once more.
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Maybe it’s a pigeon nest. We saw a few near the castle.
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I loved the internal walls.
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David Austin’s Roses. A lovely rose farm. It wasn’t on our list to see, but we pass by it, so we stopped to see the farm. It was very big and impressive.
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The rose gardens. Between the tearoom and the plant centre there are a few themed rose gardens, very beautiful. There are over 700 species of roses there.
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The plant centre was huge. Here is only a small part of it.
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We went to the camping site, we set up the tent and we went to Telford to see the Ironbridge Gorge. There are many museums to visit in Telford and a few circular walks near the bridge. We didn’t have time to visit them, but there are on our “to visit” list.
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In the evening we walked thru Shifnal. I was surprised to see how many restaurants there were in such a small town.
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Near the farm we saw a field with poppies. It looked better in the sunny day.
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This was the landscape we saw from the tent. It looked better when it was sunny. It rained all night, but the tent was waterproof. We got up very early, so the picture is taken around 6.30. I always get up early when I’m in holiday.

It would have been better with some Wellington boots. It’s funny, last year I thought the rubber boots with nice colors (pink, blue) with a fashionable bow are useless and now I want a pair.
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There are many pictures of the last 2 attractions, so I made special posts for them.

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Feeding birds and squirrels

We went in Birkenhead park with Festus a few days ago and we saw squirrels near the lake. I’ve read on a board that it’s not allowed to feed white bread to the wild animals, so, I went shopping and I got a bag of peanuts specially made for wild birds.

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The 1st bird that landed on my hand. I was so surprised.
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Near the lake there are a lot of squirrels.
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This one stayed near me almost all the time, sometimes on my hand.
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In this picture you can see 3 squirrels, but there were so many. The squirrels are afraid of the pigeons, so we left for the moment.
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The pigeons followed us to the lake. It was such a nice feeling to be surrounded by flying birds.

On the lake there were gooses, swans and ducks. All of them were very friendly.
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The birds on hubby’s hand.
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On my hand is room for only 3, but there were 4 trying to make place.
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I hid the rest of the food in my pocket, so the pigeons decided we weren’t so interesting any more and they left us alone. Back to the squirrels.
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They came pretty close, but they were too afraid to take the food from our hands. Maybe if we had some monkey nuts or walnuts. We’ll have to try next time, to see if we can convince them to get closer.
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Birkenhead Priory

I love the Priory and it’s history. We went twice and I want to go back, hopefully the tower will be finished and we’ll be able to climb the 101 stairs.

The Priory is the oldest standing building in Merseyside. It was build in 1150. The monks followed the Rule of St. Benedict. The Prior and the 16 monk had to be self-sufficient and they grew their own food, brewed beer, kept livestock.bp_01

King Edward I visited the Priory in 1275 and 1277. 40 years later, in 1317, the King granted them the right to build lodgings and sell food. In 1330 they received the sole rights to ferry passengers to Liverpool and charge tolls.

They lived like this for the next 200 years. In 1536 the Priory was closed down and all the property seized in the name of Henry VIII and let to became a ruin. In 1544 Ralph Worsley bought the estate for the sum of 568 pounds.

In 1710 the mayor John Cleveland bought the land. By 1801 the area was sparsely populated by 110 people in only 16 houses. But the population begin to grow in 1819 and Francis Price build St. Mary’s church, the first parish church of the town.

In 80 years Birkenhead experienced an extraordinary growth and reached a population of around 85,000. Between 1913 and 1919 the church authorities were responsible for the renovation of the Norman Chapter House and Scriptorium. It was reopened for use as a Chapel at a Dedication Service held on the 26th July 1919. A bomb destroyed the Scriptorium in 1941.

St. Mary’s church it survives now as only a tower and spire, having been demolished in 1975. There are 101 stairs in the tower, but right now it’s under renovation and it’s not open to the public. The tower is dedicated as a memorial to the 99 men lost in the 1939 disaster aboard the Laird’s built submarine HMS Thetis.
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The Chapter House is consecrated as an Anglican church and there is above a chapel dedicated to the training ship HMS Conway which formerly stood in the River Mersey off Rock Ferry. The door on the right is the entrance.
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The North wall contains a 15th century five-light window depicting the Adoration.
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A panorama of the Church. Click on it to see it bigger.
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The east wall, the one facing the door is a 15th century five-light window which contains a 20th century glass by Ninian Comper.
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I didn’t like history when I was in high school, but now I love to learn about things that happened in the past. I love the fact I can actually touch a piece of history, like this 860 years old wall.
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After the Chapel we visited the Museum.
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The monks daily program.
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The foundation sacrifice.

In 1896 the incomplete skeleton of a small wild adult sheep was found under the south-west buttress of the prior’s lodgings, in a carefully made tomb featuring plain roll moublding and enclosed by a slab.

Dating from the late 13th or early 14th century it has been suggested that the sheep, deliberately immured within the prepared recess, was a sacrificial offering made during the laying of foundations of this part of the priory.

If this was the case, it indicates a cross-over of beliefs with a pagan sacrifice made for a Christian building.
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It’s such a lovely place, nice views, you can learn a lot of history. There is a free parking and the curators are very helpful and very enthusiastic, so don’t miss it if you visit Wirral.

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Olive Grove

Yesterday we went in Heswall and I loved the place from the start. It’s very clean and the landscape is very beautiful. Unfortunately I couldn’t take pictures because there aren’t parking lots near the most beautiful places.

After hubby finished a meeting, we had a great time at the Olive Grove.
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The weather was very nice, so we decided to stay outside. I just love the British weather (even if right now is raining).

For starters I had garlic mushrooms, like usual in a Greek restaurant. I was very happy with them, creamy and nice. Hubby had fish, he enjoyed it as well. For mains, I decided to have Briami (or Briam in other restaurants) and hubby ordered his usual lamb kebab. The food was very good.
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Continue reading Olive Grove

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The Edmund Gardner

Hubby booked a tour of Edmund Gardner, the largest piece in Liverpool Museum. It was lovely, we both enjoyed it very much. He took a lot of photographs, so there is an overload of pictures from our visit.

We’ve met the curator in the Museum of Liverpool and then we went on the Canning dock to see the ship. Canning docks are the oldest graving docks on Merseyside. This dock was build in the 18th century and was a center for ship repairs. Canning docks were closed in 1965.

Edmund Gardner worked for almost 30 years and now it has a great historical value. National Historic Ships Committee recognized her importance by including the vessel in its National Core Collection of Historic Ships.

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The Merseyside Maritime Museum purchased her in 1982, after she finished her work in 1981, and she is now conserved in dry dock. Having been bought straight from service, Edmund Gardner is entirely in original condition and is one of the only two large pilot boat preserved worldwide (the other one is in Australia).

The ship is open to the public for a few months during the summer.

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The pot where they used to heat up the tar used to refurbish the old wooden ships.

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The tar was poured thru the gutter for the men repairing the ships.

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A fiberglass replica of the boats used to transport pilots onto the ships.

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The Edmund Gardner was built in 1953 in Dartmouth by Philip and Sons. The Mersey Docks and Harbour Board had her built as the second of a new generation of large diesel-electric powered cutters to replace the pre-war steam cutters. The Edmund Gardner and her two sister ships were all designed by naval architects Graham and Woolnough of Liverpool. Following tradition, all three were named after chairmen of the Board, the other two were the Sir Thomas Brocklebank (No 1) and Arnet Robinson (No 3).

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The master’s accommodation.

There were 2 masters, each with his own room, below the bridge deck. The masters were 1st class pilots (the classes were achieved in time from 3 to 1 and it was a reflection of the size of the ship they had the authority to bring in). Even if they were on top of the hierarchy, their rooms are not the largest on the ship.

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The bridge was so nice. There are many interesting things to see and the curators told a lot of stories about the crew, the controls and their need of communication. On the ship there were so many ways to communicate, in Morse code, with light, radio and many others.

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This was a state of the art radar at that time.

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Lounge area. The tables and chairs were bolted in the ground. The wind is very strong on the Mersey, so, sometimes, they had to put some guardrails on the table to stop things to fall down.

This area was dedicated to the masters and pilots. The apprentices and engineers had another lounge. In that time the hierarchy was very important for them.

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Some old pictures with The Edmund Gardner. I love the 1st one, with the Liver building in the back.

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The pilots were transported from the Edmund Gardner to the ships they needed to get in the docks. The pilot was accompanied by 2 apprentices.

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The windows have protecting shields for bad weather.

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The TV room, previously known as smoking room. Another recreational area for masters and pilots. They were talking about problems that appeared when they brought ships in the docks and this way, the lesser experienced pilots could learn form the more experienced ones.

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The pilot rooms. There were 32 pilots on board of the Edmund Gardner and only 11 cabins, but they were for a few hours on the ship, so they didn’t need a lot of space.

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Galley and pantry. The galley staff were the only people in contact with everybody on board, as the rest of the crew were separated into different rooms and accommodations and worked varying shifts, so they were an important source of news and gossip.

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The cook had 2 helpers and he was cooking on a coal cooker. That cooker was replaced by a gas cooker in the mid 1970s, which was later replaced by an electric oven. The pantry was staffed by the steward and mess boy. It contains an electric oven to keep meals warm, an electric water boiler and plenty of storage space for cutlery, cups and plates.

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The pilots went thru this door when they boarded the boat for transportation.

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The engine room. The Edmund Gardner is a diesel electric ship, with two 640bhp National diesel engines. Using both engines would give the ship a top speed of 14 knots (16 miles per hour). Generally on station only one engine would be required. An engineer would be on watch at all times in the engine room, with a greaser to assist him.

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One of the engines.

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The engineer’s accommodation. He had the largest room because the engineer practically lived on the ship.

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The decks.

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It was a lovely experience. We learned a lot and had a great time. I definitely recommend it.

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A panoramic view of Birkenhead. Click on it to see it larger.

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5 year anniversary

Saturday was a very important day for us, our 5 year anniversary from our 2nd wedding (the religious one). So we decided to go see the seals from Hilbre Islands, within the Dee Estuary. The starting point was West Kirby beach, as you can see, the last time we went there the tide was high and the islands were unreachable by foot.

Rain was the first thing we saw. Pretty nice to watch, less nicely if you want to go on the river bay. But, fortunately, it didn’t rained to much. We started the 2 miles walk to the islands. On Festus’s blog I put more pictures of him at the Islands.

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Hubby played with Festus, just to get him a little tired.

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While I was carrying Festus’s backpack.

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The first island, Little Eye.

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The sand was a little wet, but I managed to cross to the Islands fine with my running shoes. But if you want to cross the river bay and you have some Wellingtons, wear them.

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Festus was waiting to see if I find something interesting, to play with, in the cave.

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The 3rd island, the biggest, named Hilbre Island. From there we were able to see the seals.

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In the background is Wales.

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The Seals. I didn’t knew we needed binoculars to see the seals, so we only get a glimpse of them. They were lovely, very curious.

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The seagulls were on the less windy side of the islands. In the direction of Hoylake.

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The Wirral Windfarm. I’ve read in the newspaper there is a plan to double the size of the wind farm. I think this is a very good idea, considering how windy it was.

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Back on the 2nd island, Middle Eye.

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It was an amazing trip and we all loved it. A perfect way to spend our anniversary.

We were on the Islands for a few hours, so we didn’t had time to prepare a cake (and we had already a lot of muffins). So, we kept it simple: stuffed eggs, aubergine and mayonnaise salad, grilled halumi with apache potatoes (they look different, but they are very tasty), baked with olive oil and salt.

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A diary of my travels, events, my thougths, blogging, craft projects and my home.