WPC: Peek

WordPress‘s weekly photo challenge is Peek. They want examples of photos that make you want to see the larger picture, showing just a part or a corner. They say “a photo that reveals just enough of your subject to get us interested. A tantalizing detail. An unusual perspective. ” So here’s my take on it, ,mostly from my favourite city, London.


Houses of Parliament, the old Palace of Westminster. Top of Victoria Tower

Chelsea Royal Hospital Dining Hall

Portion of the dining hall at Chelsea Royal Hospital

St Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul’s Cathedral

Lincoln's Inn, Old Square

Old Square, Lincoln’s Inn (the traditional legal sector of London)

Stealth Ginger

Stealth Ginger. Not London, but I couldn’t resist.

DP Challenge – A Good Match

This week’s Daily Post challenge is to find things that go well together. Cookies and milk. Beach and a book. Gardens and Butterflies. That sort of thing. My idea was to post some photos from three major cities in Europe, Rome, Paris and London, that contain things that I think of when I think of those cities, things that are an  inherent part of the city without being the bleeding obvious, so you will not see photos of the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum or Big Ben here.

First up: Rome.


Gelato and Rome. What better way to enjoy a sunny piazza?

Piazza Republicca fountain

There are no end of fountains in Rome, big ones and small ones. This one is in Piazza Republicca

Here’s some Parisian sights:

Paris Metro - Abbesses (Montmartre)

Paris and the Metro, with many of them having really beautiful old signage and ironwork. This one is in Montmartre, Abbesses

Paris Metro - Odeon (St. Germain)

This Metro sign is in St. Germain (Odeon) on the left bank

Montmartre cafe

What’s more ubiquitious than a sidewalk cafe in Paris?

Then over to my favourite city, London:

Aldwych, London

Aldwych, London: While there are double decker busses all over the UK, the red ones seem so much a London sight. Red phone booths are becoming much less common but they keep them in Central London for the tourists.

Covent Garden taxi

London has thousands of black cabs traversing the streets. These days you will often see them painted bright colours or plastered with advertising but that diesel rattle is distinct.

Spitalfields Market baked goods

London is famed for its markets. Spitalfields market, in this photo, Covent Garden, Camden, Notting Hill’s Portobello Road, East End Brick Lane and Petticoat Lane (not far from Spitalfields), Borough Market (South Bank, near London Bridge) and many more

Traveling through television: Sherlock

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

Occasionally, I write a few lines about a movie or tv show that has great locations, shots that make me really want to visit somewhere. In today’s blog, it’s somewhere I’ve been quite a few times and it’s not so much a case of “I want to go there” but “I want to go back there” and that somewhere is London. I know I’ve featured London before in this series of posts but if you want a really good look at the city, not just the famous landmarks but the streets and neighbourhoods, the BBC series Sherlock is excellent.

We’ve been delving into a box set of Sherlock, the BBC series featuring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Sherlock and Watson. It was filmed on location mostly in London with some locations in Wales that stand in for London. It was apparent right from the start that they were out and about in London itself because London has a distinctive look in spite of having a great many different neighbourhoods. You get a look at all the famous sites such as Trafalgar Square, Houses of Parliament (Westminster) and the Tower Bridge and Tower of London. You get to see the London skyline sometimes from a vantage point across the river to the Southbank. You watch Sherlock and Watson running through the streets of Covent Garden, Picadilly Circus and Soho at night.

Picadilly Circus from above

Picadilly Circus from above

We were part way through the second episode of Series 1 and both remarked at the same time that it was just like being back there. It’s always fun to watch for familiar views when you’ve been somewhere that a tv show or movie has used for filming and you can smugly point and say “I’ve been there”. We are enjoying the series as much for that as for the stories themselves.

Sherlock’s famous home, 221B Baker Street doesn’t actually exist in London. Standing in for it is 187 North Gower street, a bit further east, not far from the British Museum.

221B Baker Street (not really!)

221B Baker Street (not really!)

187 North Gower St.

187 North Gower St.

One of the scenes has Sherlock running through an antiquities museum. It seemed like a large place and I wondered why it wasn’t looking at all familiar. I’ve been in most of the big museums in London but it turns out that location is actually inside the Welsh National Museum in Cardiff. There are a few other spots and buildings in Cardiff they used as well including this one below, taken from the first series.

Actually a college in Cardiff

Actually a college in Cardiff

If you like London or want to go there, Sherlock is a great series to feast your eyes on the city’s streets and monuments. There are three series and only three 90 minute episodes in each. The stories are great, they’ve updated it really well. And then, there’s Benedict Cumberbatch! Arguments? Thought not.



Fangirlquest’s Sherlock location page

Britmovietours does a Sherlock location tour

There’s going to be a fourth series!

WordPress challenge: Face

This week, the WordPress weekly challenge is “Face”. This was the first photo that came to mind from those in my archives. It’s a little out of focus, taken through an exhibit glass case. We were touring through the Tower of London in the main White Tower where the armory is. It’s really chock full of interesting things, beautifully detailed and decorative armour for knights, kings and horses, too. You’ll also see weapons, a big sculpture of a dragon made of various weapons and shields, cannon, and other items gleaned from centuries of the iconic fortress.

This was a particularly creepy item. It’s an executioner’s mask. I don’t know if all of them wore masks, but one of them certainly did and I can’t imagine seeing that looming over you as you were about to hang or have your head removed. That’s even worse than seeing a man with a hood over his face!

Executioner's Mask. Seen at the Tower of London

Executioner’s Mask. Seen at the Tower of London


Traveling through the movies: London (Burnt)

BurntLondon is my favourite city and I really love watching movies that are shot there. In many cases you get the usual shots of famous landmarks but often you also get scenes filmed on London streets and markets, too. I watched a 2015 movie over the weekened called Burnt starring Bradley Cooper and enjoyed watching the exterior shots quite a bit.

The movie is about a top chef, Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) who worked in Paris for a mentor, attaining two Michelin stars but ruined both his own career, the restaurant and a restaurant of one of his friends due to his addictions and diva-like temper. He cleaned up, shucked oysters in New Orleans and then came to London to get his career back. He persuades Tony (Daniel Brühl) who is running his father’s posh restaurant in a hotel to hire him back and gathers several other former coworkers as well to be on his kitchen team along with an up and coming female chef, Helene (Sienna Miller) who’s also a single mother. Emma Thompson has a small role as a psychiatrist that Adam must check in with on a weekly basis for drug tests as a requirement of his employment, due to mistrust and wariness Tony and his father hold for Adam.

In his quest for a third star, Adam proves to be as volatile as ever and since he still owes money to an old drug dealer, he’s kept on his toes trying to avoid a confrontation there as well. There is romance, sabotage and a lot of both arrogance and self pity and of course he learns a valuable lesson in the end. That’s not spoiling, that’s predictable. The movie isn’t bad and if you love food, it will really appeal.BurntLondon2I loved the exterior shots, and particularly a few of the night shots that really showed off London’s lights (though I couldn’t for certain say they were real or cgi, they did seem and feel real. I hate that about modern movies, you never really know at times if the background shots are the real thing).

London at night in the film Burnt

London at night in the film Burnt

There are some street shots that are typically London.  I try to identify streets and in this first one, the number 24 bus winds through Pimlico and Victoria station and up through Charing Cross Rd, Tottenham Court Rd and up through Camden. I think this section is probably Charing Cross/Tottenham Court area unless it’s north of Camden.


London streets with the number 24 bus


Emma Thompson and Bradley Cooper in Burnt, likely West End London

Then there are the typical shots of the landmarks. Billingsgate Market is integral to any story featuring a restaurant since buyers will go there at the crack of dawn to get the fresh fish for that day’s menu and we see exterior and interior shots.


Billingsgate Market, London

This shot seems to be taken just under or near London Bridge, with the view of Tower Bridge and the HMS Belfast. Looking at the map and using Google Street view, it seems like it’s probably “Hanseatic Walk”.


Tower Bridge

And two more shots, just for placement so you know where you are. The movie plays out a few minutes before the opening credits which happen when Adam arrives in London.

BurntLondon3 BurntLondon1

Go inside the British Museum with Google

Closeup of an Egyptian Sarcophegus, British Museum, London

Closeup of an Egyptian Sarcophegus, British Museum, London

Google has done it again. They’ve sent the Google camera inside the British Museum and now you can use the Street View feature in Google Maps to visit the museum without leaving your house. It’s pretty cool, too. You can “walk” through the rooms or jump from floor to floor.  I think it would help if you had a map from the British Museum’s website, though. You can drop the little gold “man” onto a place on the museum map and there’s a series of numbers on your right that says what level you are on. If you click a different level, you find your self in a different room or gallery but you might also find yourself in a hallway or in a staircase, in which case, that map might prove useful.

Google map of the British Museum, London

Google map of the British Museum, London

It’s also possible to read a lot of the large information signs on the walls by the various displays. I think this is a great thing. I hope a lot of the major museums and sites in the world will be mapped out like this. They’ve done Machu Picchu as well. I think a site like Pompeii would be another good one to do with Street View and please, Google, do some more of the major museums and galleries in the world like the Smithsonian, the Vatican, and the Louvre.

This first photo is a screen grab from Google Street view of the Egyptian gallery with the mummies and sarcophegi. Below that are a few photos I’ve taken in the museum on visits in the past. (The photo at the top of this post is also mine, a closup of one of a sarcophegus)

British Museum Egyptian Mummies, London

British Museum Egyptian Mummies, London

Neried Monument, British Museum, London

Neried Monument, British Museum, London

Greek Helmet, British Museum, London

Greek Helmet, British Museum, London

Travel theme: Luminous

The weekly travel theme at Where’s My Backpack this week is “Luminous”. Most of what I’ve chosen are photos of various locations at night but there are a few others mixed in. It’s not always easy taking photos in low light without a tripod so most of the ones I take dn’t often come out very well. . I do have one of those little tripods with bendy legs, called a Gorillapod that I’ve used on occasion and try to balance the camera on something steady.

The first photo was taken in the Roman Baths in the city of Bath, in the plunge pool. You can see that the minerals in the water glow with the light.

Plunge pool, Roman Baths, Bath, UK

Plunge pool, Roman Baths, Bath, UK

Stadhuis tower, Brussels

Eiffel Tower at Night. Paris

Here’s we’re in London, with the setting sun illuminating the buildings and the street lighting coming on.

The Strand at dusk, London, UK

The Victoria Apollo theatre was showing Wicked and of course you can’t take pictures during the performance but I took a quick shot of the stage decor which was lit up prior to the show.

The Victoria Apollo theatre, London, waiting for Wicked

Thrownback Thursday: London 2004

Good heavens, I haven’t posted anything for nearly a month. I’ve been away and got my travelogue finally all sorted out and will be starting to post bits and pieces over the next few weeks. In the meantime, here’s a photo I took in London on a trip in July 2004, of the chapel at the Chelsea Royal Hospital.

WordPress Weekly: Symmetry

This week’s WordPress challenge is “symmetry”. This is one of my favourite photos, taken at the Royal Chelsea Hospital in London. The Royal Chelsea Hospital was founded by King Charles II to house war veterans. It is still a retirement home for veterans to this day. The vets must have no other family and they sleep in a very small chamber, just big enough for a single bed, small bedside table and clothes dresser. They are in fact a bit larger than when the hospital was built (late 17th century). There is this beautiful chapel on the grounds and there’s a large dining hall that’s equally lovely. The men and women, the Chelsea Royal Pensioners,  dress in navy blue uniforms if they are on the grounds but wear brilliant scarlet for “dress” which is what you usually see them wearing in photos.  This is still a working chapel and there is a regular congregation that worship here.  This was the late Margaret Thatcher’s normal Sunday church.

Cheslea Royal Hospital Chapel, London

Travel Theme: Detail

This week the travel theme from Where’s My Backpack is Detail. I visited the Tower of London last year and we spent most of our time in the Armoury museum. It’s more than just suits of armour for men and horses, there is a whole cache of weaponry as well. Some of the details on the armour and other items was extremely intricate and I always enjoy taking photos of details as well as overall photos.

Spanish helmet

Closeup on Henry Stuart’s armour

Dragon made of armour

German saddle