Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

As with the previous post I don't think I can improve on my Christmas post from last year so here it is again:)

The Night Before Christmas was always my children's bedtime story on Christmas Eve.
So for all of us who still feel the magic of this night......

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night."

May I wish all of you a very Happy Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice


So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!!"

- Susan Cooper, The Shortest Day

I know that I used this poem as part of my Winter Solstice post last year but it is so perfect for the occasion that I make no apology for using it again this year.

Today is the Winter Solstice, for a short time the sun pauses and then gradually, gradually the days begin to lengthen again. There are many long cold days ahead for 'as the days lengthen the cold strengthens' but one day we shall feel the warmth of the sun on our faces again and it will be Spring once more. From today the Oak King begins his reign and we start the long slow journey back to the Earth's reawakening. Happy Winter Solstice!

NB The beautiful image of the Holly King is by Angela Jayne Barnett. The photograph of the sun is taken from the web but I don't know who to give the credit too unfortunately.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Recipes for Gracie and Mrs Nesbitt

Gracie asked for the recipe for cheese and onion tarts, it comes from a little book called Teatime Favourites which I bought from Sainsburys in the early 1980s.

250gm (8oz) shortcrust pastry
150gm (5oz) onion, chopped small
6 tablespoons milk
salt & pepper
275gm (9oz) Lancashire cheese, grated
1 small egg, beaten

I often use mature Cheddar cheese rather than Lancashire - though Lancashire is best if you can get it, it's a wonderful cooking cheese.

Roll out the pastry and use it to line about 20 tartlet tins.
Put the onion in a saucepan, add the milk and season to taste. Bring it to the boil then simmer for 1 minute. Take off the heat and stir in the egg and cheese - I always put the cheese in first so that the hot mixture doesn't start cooking the egg. Leave the mixture until it is cold then spoon into the pastry cases.
Bake in a pre-heated oven 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for about 15 minutes until they are golden brown. They are equally good served warm or cold and freeze well.

For Mrs Nesbitt we have Delia Smith's Truffle Torte.

5 tablespoons liquid glucose
5 tablespoons rum
1lb (45-gm) plain dessert chocolate. This needs to be good quality not just cooking chocolate.
1 pint (570ml) double cream
3oz (75gm) Amaretti biscuits crushed finely

I use a 9in loose bottomed cake tin to make this. Brush bottom and sides lightly with oil (Delia says groundnut oil, I'm afraid I use ordinary vegetable oil) and line the base with a circle of silicone paper. Sprinkle the crushed Amaretti biscuits evenly over the base of the tin.
Break the chocolate into sections and put them in a heatproof bowl along with the rum and liquid glucose. Fit the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and leave the chocolate to melt stirring occasionally to help things along. When all the chocolate is melted give it a final stir, take it off the heat and leave it to cool for 5 minutes or so until it is just warm.
Now in another bowl whip the cream until it is slightly thickened. It's hard to describe the right consistency, it's something you learn from experience. A rule of thumb is to run a fork through it, if there is resistence and you can feel that it has thickened then it's about right. What you do NOT want is whipped cream! On the other hand you don't want it too thin either. Anyway, when you think it's about right fold half of it into the chocolate mixture and then fold this mixture into the rest of the cream until it is smoothly blended - no streaks of cream should be left in it. Spoon or pour it into the prepared tin and tap the tin gently to even the mixture out. Actually I use a broad bladed knife to make sure it's reasonably even. It doesn't matter if it leaves a few marks or swirls as the top will be the bottom when you serve it:) At this point I freeze it still in the tin. Delia's instructions are to cover it with clingfilm and chill overnight in the fridge. You do need to make it the day before you want to use it if you aren't freezing it.
Just before serving run a palette knife round the edge to loosen the torte, put a serving plate on top of the tin (having defrosted it if it's frozen of course)and turn it upside down so that it comes out with the Amareti biscuits on top. Gently remove the silicone paper then serve it with chilled single cream - and serve small portions, it's very,very rich! Those with large appetites and a sweet tooth can always have seconds:) My elder DIL's two brothers absolutely love this and appear to be able to consume unbelievable amounts of it!

Any US readers who want to try either recipe please remember that I am using Imperial measures and US tablespoons are not the same as British ones nor are US pints the same as British pints. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Here We Go Again!

Took this photo of the garden this afternoon covered in a fresh fall of snow. Happily I refilled all the birdfeeders this morning, they'll need it - the temperature now at 10.30pm is 21F and apparently it's going to drop even further during the night. DH says the roads are like a skating rink.

I was hoping for a light dusting of snow on the sledge piled with holly but this isn't quite what I had in mind. The poor red ribbon looks very disconsolate. Shall have to try a spot of first aid in the morning!

This is what I spent most of this afternoon making and I'm quite pleased with it. I've done a simpler one for the back door too but it was too dark to take a photograph by the time I finished it.

Today's other achievement was a chocolate truffle torte which is now in the freezer. This is not for those who are counting calories! It consists of chocolate, cream, rum and liquid glucose, you turn it out of the tin so that the base of crushed amaretti biscuits becomes the top. Heaven on a plate:)

I did summon sufficient energy to make the cheese and onion tarts mentioned in the previous post and here they are. I tested one and they're good!

My favourite little mouse is waiting in his stocking.......

......and the Christmas Goose is in his place. We're nearly there!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Frozen North

You will need to click on the photos to enlarge them to see them properly. The river looked amazing this morning. The outdoor thermometer was registering 11.4F when B Baggins and I went out so I thought it might be worth taking the camera. In the 33 years I've lived here I've never seen Old Hay Brook frozen over to this extent. There have been icy borders at the edges once or twice in the past but nothing like this. It was even more frozen when we went this afternoon but I didn't take the camera thinking there would be less ice not more!

Each of the little weirs looked like a scene from The Snow Queen, there were tiny areas where the water was still flowing over but most of it must have been getting through underneath the ice.

This is a close up of the previous photo, you can see the blocks of ice and the small frozen waterfall with frozen foam at the base. I know this is a common sight in Canada and other countries in the northern latitudes but it isn't very common here I can assure you!

While the weather has been so cold I've been busy indoors. I made the Christmas cake two weeks ago and here I've unwrapped itso I can give it two more tablespoons of sherry. It's now back on top of the cupboard and will sit there until around the 16th December when I shall make the marzipan and put it on. Then that has to dry out for a few days before the final layer of fondant icing goes on. It's beautifully moist and smells wonderful!

I've started knitting again, this is the first thing I've made since I broke my wrist. It will be going in the post for George tomorrow. I'm now knitting a second rabbit also for George.

Some of you may remember seeing this one that I made for him earlier this year. He apparently loves it so much that Cesca can't get it off him to wash it so she's asked me to make another one in the hope that he'll accept the substitute on a temporary basis. Personally I wouldn't count on it:)

It will be a quiet Christmas for us this year so I'm not doing quite as much baking and cooking as usual. However this morning I did a batch of tiny cheese scones.....

......and a fruit scone round which have joined the Yule Log and the Lemon Cream pies that are already in the freezer. Now I'm going to go and make a big pan of leek and potato soup and maybe a batch of cheese and onion tarts - the soup is for my meal this evening but the tarts are destined for the freezer - if I get round to making them anyway:)

Friday, December 03, 2010

All's Well That Ends Well

Here is my personal entry for the Idiot of the Year contest! (Not B Baggins, that's just his 'this woman is absolutely nothing to do with me' look !)
It's Friday evening, cleaning week has been brought to a succcessful conclusion and the house is like a new pin. 8.30pm and it's time for B Baggins and I to go for our short evening constitutional before I relax in a contented and virtous glow of achievement. I gear up, this takes a good five minutes then off we go, half an hour later we are back and we go into the garage to disrobe - yak traks, boots, waterproof trousers, hat,coat, gloves and, in B Baggins' case, his lead. Then disaster strikes! I can't find my keys! Extensive searching reveals nothing so on goes all the gear again and leaving B Baggins shut in the garage I retrace my steps. Nothing {:(
As I get back neighbour out with his own dogs enquires if I'm OK so I tell my sad tale. He puts his dogs in the house and says he'll walk round again with me. Still nothing{:(
Not to worry says neighbour, he can break in for me and then make all secure for the night. By this time it's 10.30pm so we go into the garage to reassure B Baggins that he hasn't been abandoned before starting on the breaking and entering bit. 'What are these?' enquires neighbour picking up a bunch of keys from the table. He got a very big hug and while I get the award for Idiot of the Year Paul gets my award for World's Most Brilliant Neighbour.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Winter Wonderland

This was the sight that greeted me when I looked out of the window this morning. I knew it was going to snow during the night but I wasn't expecting this!

B Baggins and I set out for our morning walk regardless and we were rewarded by some really beautiful scenes. The snow was several inches deep so walking was quite hard work so we just went a short walk to some fields near home. It's a very ordinary field really but the snow transformed it into something truly beautiful. Thank you for all the concern re me and falling over - hopefully a combination of my trusty hazel staff and my Yak Traks will see me safely through! As for staying in Diane - one dog plus no DH = 3 walks a day for B Baggins and me I'm afraid!

Happily someone else had been there before us so that made it a bit easier to walk round - not that B Baggins has any trouble getting around in it, he absolutely loves the snow.

A magical entrance to the realm of the ice fairies.

Behind the high wall is Grove House built in the mid 1800s on the site of one of Totley's old water powered mills which was used for scythe making.

The dam that powered the mill was here, you can't see it in the photograph but Old Hay Brook runs along the line of the trees.

The kissing gate that leads onto an old pack horse bridge.

Well done chaps - home and breakfast!

Monday, November 29, 2010


Winter is come in earnest and the snow
In dazzling splendour—crumpling underfoot
Spreads a white world all calm and where we go
By hedge or wood trees shine from top to root
In feathered foliage flashing light and shade
Of strangest contrast—fancys pliant eye
Delighted sees a vast romance displayed
And fairy halls descended from the sky

The smallest twig its snowy burthen wears
And woods oer head the dullest eyes engage
To shape strange things—where arch and pillar bears
A roof of grains fantastic arched and high
And little shed beside the spinney wears
The grotesque zemblance of an hermitage

Part of a poem by John Clare which seems appropriate at the moment. The photos are actually from January 2006 so I don't know quite why they are so blue - maybe I used flash? Who knows! We haven't had that much snow so far, just an inch or so here but I know that other parts of the UK have a good deal more. I feel as though it ought to be January as we don't normally have much in the way of snow in November and we certainly don't get the low temperatures, it was 14F here on Saturday night - decidedly chilly! The sort of weather for hot chocolate, a warm blanket and a good book. Not my destiny this week I'm afraid as I've sent DH over to our other house for the week so that I can do a proper deep clean of the house ready for Yule. Last time I sent him over there so that I could 'get on with things' I managed to break my wrist so I'm hoping hard that history isn't going to repeat itself!

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Morning Walk

Just a short post to get me back into the swing of blogging again. I've been really busy catching up on a huge pile of letters, doing some Christmas baking for the freezer, trying to make a bit of impact on the disaster that is my garden and a good many other items from my  'to do' list. I'm back on track again and will hopefully be putting in more regular appearances from now on. These photos are from a walk on Blackamoor on Wednesday morning, there had been quite a hard frost which  B Baggins loves, it seems to give him an extra injection of energy. I know how he feels, I love bright,frosty mornings.

There are still little splashes of colour here and there from various berries, these rosehips looked lovely in the sunlight.

A moss covered dry stone wall - always a favourite of mine, they seem so atmospheric somehow.

Even in late November there are flowers to be found, this is the flower of the ivy which appears between September and November and provides a valuable source of nectar for bees, butterflies and insects late in the year. Each little flower will become a black berry and will provide another source of food for birds all through the cold winter months.

The Blacka Dyke tumbling downthrough the woodland to join up eventually with Old Hay Brook and then on to become part of the River Sheaf which is one of Sheffield's five major rivers.

Another bit of stone wall with frosted moss, dead leaves and bracken. These have their own quiet beauty.

The moon setting in the western sky above the beautiful autumn colours of the moors.

The frost accentuates every detail of the bracken fronds and leaves especially the thistle which looks really beautiful. Winter brings out a beauty in some things which isn't as obvious in the summer.

More frost rimed leaves, I must admit that I never tire of looking at the work of Jack Frost:) It's now late on Friday afternoon and B Baggins and I have just come back from walking up on Blackamoor with my friend J and her dog Martha. We've been higher up than the area where these photos were taken and everywhere was white with frost and the boggy pools of water were frozen hard even in mid-afternoon. I banged one of them hard with my hazel staff and it didn't even crack! No staying in where it's warm for me tonight though, DH and I are off to see 'Improbable Fiction' the latest offering from our local amateur dramatic society.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Pte Albert Pinder 1891-1917 17th Battalion Welbeck Rangers.
Died of wounds received during the Battle of Messines Ridge and buried in Mendinghem Military Cemetery.

Sgt Herbert Allan Hill 1888-1917 4th(Hallamshire)Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment.
Died of wounds received during the Battle of Bullecourt and buried in Tournai Military Cemetery Allied Extension.

These are two of the men named on our village War Memorial, they were brothers-in-law. Ella Pinder lost both her husband and her brother in June 1917.

As always I remember also our two family members who gave their lives

Pte Harry Hindley Simpson, 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers killed in action August 1916

AC2 Harold Harrison RAF buried in Jakarta War Cemetery, Indonesia 1942

"When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today"

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


"Come said the wind to the leaves one day,
Come o'er the meadows and we will play.
Put on your dresses of scarlet and gold,
for summer is gone and the days grow cold."

The photograph was taken about this time last year at Canterbury Shaker Village in New Hampshire. It's always a wonderful place to visit but on this beautiful golden autumn day it was perfect.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

The Square Mile - Sunday Morning

I'm finally getting round to writing more about my visit to London earlier this year - as you can see from the cloudless blue skies and brilliant sunshine I managed to time my visit to coincide with wonderful weather:) The photo above shows the statue of a dragon that marks the boundary between the City of London and the City of Westminster on Fleet St. The dragon is the emblem of London and ten of them stand guard at various points on the City boundaries. As always clicking on the photos will enlarge them.

I decided that on Sunday morning I would join one of the 2 hour guided tours run by London Walks. You just turn up outside Monument Underground station at 10am and pay the guide, there's no need to book in advance. I'm not normally a guided tour enthusiast but I thought that I might see a few things that I wouldn't find on my own and then I would have the afternoon to make my own discoveries. I set off early and got off the Underground at Bank so that I could walk slowly down to the Monument. The station at Bank is, of course, named for the Old Lady of Threadneedle St otherwise known as the Bank of England. The Bank was established in 1694 to raise money for a war against France. Quite a large part of our history over the last 1000 years or so has involved wars against France! Some chap called William the Conqueror started it all I think:)

Across the road from the Bank of England is Mansion House which has been the official residence of the Lord Mayors of London since 1753. There has been a Lord Mayor of London since 1189 but the one whose name nearly everyone knows is Dick Whittington. Most people think of him as a character in a fairy story or pantomime but Richard Whittington was a real person who lived from around 1354 to 1423. He was the younger son of minor Gloucestershire gentry and was sent to London as an apprentice to the Mercer's Company. He became a wealthy cloth merchant and was four times Lord Mayor of London. He died childless and left his fortune to The Charity of Sir Richard Whittington which is still in existence today. Was Richard Whittington leaving London with his cat when he heard Bow Bells ringing out the message 'Turn again Whittington, thrice Lord Mayor of London' ? We shall never know but he certainly married a girl called Alice and it's a nice story isn't it?

This blue plaque is on the wall of Mansion House - the Stocks Market has nothing to do with the Stock Exchange, it was a livestock market built in the reign of Edward I. The new market got its name from the stocks that had previously stood on this site.

Tucked away behind Mansion House is St Stephen Walbrook which was built by Sir Christopher Wren after the 15th century church was destroyed during the Great Fire of London.
The street is called simply Walbrook and it marks the east bank of one of London's many lost rivers. The River Walbrook was culverted and built over in the late 1400s but it still runs underground and flows into the River Thames near Cannon St Railway Station.

Almost all the City churches are closed on Sunday so I returned on Monday to take one or two pictures of the interior. It is very simple inside but absolutely flooded with light. The church was badly damaged by bombing in WW2 but Wren's original 17th century wooden pulpit survives. In the centre is the controversial altar by sculptor Henry Moore. It is very plain and simple but in my opinion rather beautiful.

The dome was the forerunner of the great dome of St Pauls. St Stephen Walbrook is considered to be Wren's finest City church and is well worth a visit if you in the area.

Walking down Lombard St one passes this rather unprepossessing branch of Sainsburys which is built on the site of Edward Lloyd's coffee house. It became a popular place for sailors, merchants, and ship owners to meet, and Lloyd provided them with reliable shipping news. He opened his first coffee house in 1688 in Tower Street, London but in 1691 it was relocated to Lombard Street where it remained until 1795. The shipping merchants met here to discuss insurance deals among themselves and from these informal beginnings grew the world's leading insurance market - Lloyds of London.

The blue plaque on the wall by the entrance is the only reminder of what once stood here. If you look around as you walk you will find these plaques all over London marking the places where historic buildings once stood and linking them with the famous figures from the past who lived or worked there.

The sign of the grasshopper appears a good deal in the City, it is the emblem of the Gresham family. This one at 68 Lombard St marks the site where Sir Thomas Gresham (c1519 -1579) lived. He was an English merchant and financier who was a trusted agent of Queen Elizabeth I and founder of the Royal Exchange. The Royal Exchange building that stands near the Bank of England now is the third one on the site, Gresham's original building was destroyed in the Fire of London.

I finally arrived at the Monument and joined up with the other people waiting to do the walk. Our guide spent some time giving us an outline of London's history but eventually we set off. The photos from this part of the day are poor as I had to snap them quickly and then race after the tour party again. There were a couple of occasions when I nearly lost them as they disappeared round corners and down narrow medieval lanes! Our guide took us up a little alley off Eastcheap to show us these mice carved on the wall of one of the buildings. When it was being constructed many years ago an argument broke out when one of the workman accused another of stealing the cheese from his sandwich. During the row one of the men fell to his death. It was later found that the thieves were actually mice and these two mice eating cheese were added to the wall as a kind of memorial. If you want to see it for yourself the alley is called Philpott Lane - it's one of the old medieval streets and is mentioned in Samuel Pepys' Diary.

Leadenhall Market is built on the site of the Roman Forum - did I say that London's history goes back to Roman times? This was the most important medieval market in London though it looked very different then, the present building is Victorian.

One of the many dragons that greet you at every turn.

The Lamb Tavern dates back to 1780 and is a favourite lunch place for City workers. Fans of Harry Potter might recognize Leadenhall Market - it was used as the location of Diagon Alley in one of the films! If you need a new wand, a cloak or The Standard Book of Spells then this is the place to go - though unfortunately if you are a Muggle it will just look like Leadenhall Market! Only wizards can see the entrance to Diagon Alley:)

Down another medieval alley off Lombard St stands The George and Vulture built in 1746. It is mentioned many times in The Pickwick Papers and Charles Dickens drank here regularly. There has been an inn on the site since 1268. We carried on to the Bank of England and Royal Exchange which I'd already visited earlier but I hadn't noticed that right on top of the Royal Exchange is.......

.....the beautiful golden grasshopper of the Gresham family. Tradition says that it is the same one that graced the top of the original Royal Exchange.

Here is one of the things I would certainly never have noticed if I hadn't done this guided walk. Although I've been familiar with the name Poultry for a large part of my life I'd never really thought about why this London street has such an odd name. The answer is obvious really - this area was once the poultry market. The stone figure of a child holding a goose sits high above the street on No 36 Poultry as a reminder of this.

Of course it's only a reminder if you actually see it! The reason that Poultry is so familiar to me is that No 36 Poultry was, until recently, the Head Office of Midland Bank which is now part of HSBC and my husband worked there for several years when we were first married. He says that until I showed him this photograph he had never seen the sculpture!

This bronze statue, The Cordwainer, stands outside St Mary Aldermanbury church on Watling Street which was the area where the cordwainers (leatherworkers) lived and worked. Watling Street is considered to be the oldest street in London – it was the Saxon Athalingestrate and is also the only remaining section in the City of the old Roman road that ran from Wroxeter through London to Dover.

The Olde Watling stands on the corner of Watling Street and Bow Lane. It was re built in 1668 on the site of its predecessor which was burnt down during  the Great Fire of London. It acted as a hostel for the men who were building the new St Pauls cathedral which stands at the end of Watling Street.

By now we were running late so this part of the walk was done at some speed  as we dashed down Bow Lane, across Cheapside and down King St to the Guildhall. This has been the administrative centre of the City of London for over 800 years. The line of black paving stones that you can see in the photograph(you'll need to click on this one) marks the outline of the Roman amphitheatre which lies below the Guildhall. Unfortunately time didn't allow us to visit the remains which lie beneath the Guildhall Art Gallery.

We were fortunate enough to be allowed inside to see the magnificent medieval Great  Hall though. This is where royalty and important visitors from overseas have been entertained for centuries and The Lord Mayor's Banquet is held here every year. It was one of the few buildings to survive the Fire of London and WW2 but the roof was badly damaged in the Blitz and was restored in the 1950s.

Among the features of the Great Hall are the statues of the legendary giants Gog and Magog. The original Elizabethan figures were made of papier mache and were destroyed in the Great Fire. In 1708 they were replaced by 14 foot high ones made by Richard Saunders in oak. These,too, were destroyed by fire in the Blitz and were replaced in 1955 by two 9 foot high figures made of limewood. The one in the photo is Magog. It would have been nice to have more time to look round Guildhall but that will have to be for a future trip.

We said goodbye to our guide opposite St Paul's Cathedral. Happily, after walking a fair distance on a very hot day, I found myself right outside Haz restaurant on the corner of Foster Lane so in I went for a long cold drink and some lunch.