Walking past Houses of Parliament at night the history of all the politicians that made an impact on history hangs in the air.
No matter what time of day it is a scuffle to get past the photographers stood opposite Westminster Abbey with their cameras facing Big Ben. Even with Downing Street, The Changing of the Guards and the Abbey just a minute away I always find the biggest crowd gathered near Big Ben for the iconic London photo.
The memorabilia around London tourist shops make more sense to me now. They are making a valid point with their predictable snow globes. These familiar landmarks are what gives people joy. Long may red buses, telephone boxes and Big Ben define our capital!
It is fascinating to enjoy the history of plants. There is an original London Plane tree in the Botanic Garden of Oxford that gave rise to the common tree species that line many of London's roads today. By shedding it's bark continually this species is not affected by the pollution of the road traffic.
Other plants that linger in the gardens of old churches are often the remains of the monasteries that once stood on the site. Henry VIII famously dissolved many of the monasteries. The ones that were still standing had much potential for other uses beyond the banned worship they were once designed for.
Benefactors turned many old monasteries into hospitals and under Edward VI reign this Greyfriars monastery became a part of the Christ's hospital school. These old plants...
As a child school trips always made me buy a kodak film with 26 exposures to load into an instamatic camera and then plan each portrait well. Sometimes the exposures had been completely been used up before we had got on the bus. The power of friendships we shared as classmates made us want to capture the coolest people laughing or making silly faces or showing off their new jacket.
Using a digital camera whilst walking through London the need to get a shot perfect, so as not to waste the film, is of course zero. The weather is the only thing to play a key part in whether I take the shot or not.
The ruins look better without friends in the picture so the history of the old church can speak for itself. But the fun of following the school pal with the loudest laughter and...
Oxford's Botanic Garden was founded in 1621 with a mission "To promote the furtherance of learning and to glorify nature". The oldest tree in the Garden is an English Yew planted in 1645. Although at the time they were not planted for their medicinal properties, yew trees now provide the raw material for two important cancer drugs, paclitaxel (taxol) and docetaxel (taxotere).
The magic of trees can be enjoyed in many images and also from the fact that the oldest species in the garden also offers life saving remedies.
James Sadler, a science technician at Oxford University took the first hot air balloon from Christ Church and the second from the Botanic Garden.
James Sadler was the son of James Sadler senior, an Oxford pastry cook, and his wife Elizabeth. James Sadler began experimenting with small gas-filled balloons while working as a laboratory technician in the University’s chemistry laboratory.
On 12 November 1784, Sadler’s second flight (this time from the Botanic Garden, and in a hydrogen balloon) reached Aylesbury after about twenty minutes.
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