June 19, 2015
I have just looked at my emails and am thrilled to have received a reply from the BBC Antiques Roadshow programme who will be filming an episode at Bowood House in Wiltshire during my visit to England next week. I had enquired if they would have a Silver expert available to advise the provenance of a Christening Mug that was gifted to my family several years ago by An Oxford University Professor and his wife.They are delighted that I will be travelling from Australia to the UK and assured me that there will be an expert to give his advice.
Well wishes from Queensland Government
Within a couple of days of my emailing Queensland Premier Annistacia Palaszczuk to thank her for the RADF Grant, I received a lovely warm and encouraging phone call from Trish Reddy, Arts Department Liaison Officer at the Department of the Premier and Cabinet (Queensland). Trish wanted to congratulate me on receiving the grant and wish me well for the Prendergast family history and Irish Genealogy discovery trip to Ireland.
Because we Australians identify with the Kangaroo as our National Icon, I decided to email Alan Joyce at Qantas to find out if they still sold the Qantas Kangaroo Lapel pins featuring a gold Kangaroo. I told Alan the story of my 5xGrandfather fellow Dubliner John Prendergast and the reason why I was travelling to Ireland. I asked him if I could purchase some Kangaroo Lapel Pins. My story must have touched his heart because within 2 hours he had passed my email to Ashlee Hughes, Excutive Assistant to Andrew McGinnes – VIP Coordination Corporate Affairs and Communications, Qantas Airways Limited, she had emailed me and offered to send me some Qantas gold Kangaroo Lapel pins. Two days later I got a lovely surprise when I opened my mail and there were 19 Qantas Kangaroo Lapel pins. Thank you so much Alan and Ashlee.
June 20, 2015
50 Flash Cards
Being a Travel Consultant from way back, I was always trained to be thorough regarding details of Itineraries. My favourite way to ensure that nothing is overlooked is to have Flash cards. Once the jigsaw puzzle slots together I know that everything is in order. Here are my 50 Flash cards, laid out and checked off.
June 22 and 23, 2015
Up and away
Had a comfortable flight to Brisbane but had to kill time for over 5 hours before boarding the flight to Kuala Lumpur.
Managed to get an upgrade to Business class. “What you might ask?” “How did that happen?” The honest truth is – I don’t know. One minute I was sitting there with my boarding pass waiting to board the Aircraft and the next my name was being called to go to the check in desk. When I got there I was extatic when the ground hostess announced that she had decided to upgrade me to business class.
London and Ireland, here I come.
We landed safely at Heathrow Airport at 5pm on Tuesday and I was exhausted. An early night was needed to recover from the jetlag.
June 24, 2015
Staying at the Radisson blu Edwardian Vanderbilt Hotel is a real treat. It’s location being so close to the British museum, the V & A museum and of course 5 minutes walk from Harrods store. This made for a very pleasant walk in the glorious sunshine that the Londoners are experiencing at present. This hotel is almost a museum in itself. It was the original home of the Vanderbilt family and was fortunate not to sustain any damage during the second world war when London was being heavily bombed. It still has all the original precious art hanging on the walls and I enjoyed looking at the paintings and stunning stained glass windows.
Later, I had a wonderful day spent at Harrods where I bought a couple of items and then visited the magnificent V & A museum. As I walked in, I passed the Curator that I had seen Fiona Bruce interviewing on the Antiques Road Show.
On that note I will say “Good Night” as I have a busy day scheduled for tomorrow. I am travelling by train to Bowood House in Wiltshire to watch the Antiques Roadshow being filmed.
The Antiques Road show
Hitchhiking, Cream Tea served by Lady Edgerton and an invitation to dine with the Mayor off Cardiff Wales.
My being rural based, with every destination being within close proximety, it comes as a huge shock to the system when planning a days outing anywhere out of the city of London. The Metro system is brilliant – quick and efficient.
But not so the country rail system. When I arrived at Paddington my senses were bombarded with the noise and flow of traffic of the thousands of people scurrying from one platform to the next. Signage is poor so if you are ever in the same position allow plenty of time and ask heaps of questions of the guards on duty.Now I know how lost poor Paddington Bear felt!
I travelled by Metro from Gloucester road to Paddington local, crossed the road to Paddington Station and took the First Great Western Rail service to Chippenham via Redding and Swindon. When I arrived at Chippenham I took the town bus number 55 which was a very pleasant ride through the beautiful countryside to Bowood House at Calne – a delightful picturesqe little village.
I alighted the bus at Studly Cross Road and was advised by the bus driver that it was just a short walk from the entrance to Bowood House. I don’t know where he comes, from but two miles along a heavily wooded single lane road with slushy mud either side is not a pleasant walk in the country. I got sick of leaping off the road each time a car passed and into the mud. As you can imagine, there were literally thousands of cars headed to the Antiques Road show so when a kind lady in her Mercedes offered me a lift I did not hesitate. She did not seem like an axe murderer with a whole back seat full of lovely plants that she had just purchased from the Nursery. She was so kind she even walked me right to the door.
Upon arrival I was interviewed by the Registration staff to determine which Expert would be able to offer his advise. I was directed to the Silver Expert. I looked at the several hundred deep queue and decided that I would join the queue, stay for an hour, take a stroll aound the magnificent gardens, take photos of the stunning Manor and leave.
But, once in the queue the sense of excitement and the lovely people who chatted to me took my mind off the length of time that I stood in the queue. Also, it was a beautiful sunny day and the grounds of Bowood are so beautiful that it was delightful just enjoying my surroundings.
The compere Fiona Bruce passed close by me – too close to politely take a photo of her. Later however I managed to get a lovely photo of two experts Alastair Dickenson and the very elegant Bunny Campion.
When it was my turn to be interviewed,
I found Alistair to be very interesting to listen to. He has a wealth of knowledge that dates back 40 years. But even he is stumped with the Christening Mug that I showed him the photo of and has now advised me to see the Curator of the British Museum which I will do today. What he has said though is that the Christening Mug is not 500 years old as we thought but 700 – 800 years old, extremely rare and very valuable. shame we don’t own it any more. still, I will enjoy finding out it’s provenance today. So watch this space for more details.
At tea time I decided to join another nice lady that I had been chatting with for tea. We entered the Marque that was serving delicious looking scones and cakes. I started chatting to a charming lady who seemed to be the organiser. She recommended that I try the Elderberry Flower cordial that had been made to her mother’s recipe and in the family for hundreds of years
At the cash register I noticed a sign calling the tea rooms “Lady Edgerton’s Tea rooms and commented to my new friend Meryl that I thought that was a lovely name for a Tea room. Meryl said “No, they do belong to Lady Edgerton who does a lot of fund raising in the area” We were invited to sit with a couple who had the only two spare chairs available. As we sat down the Gentleman said “I couldn’t help overhearing you talking about Lady Edgerton’s name being used to help support local charities. In fact that was Lady Edgerton who served you and you might be interested to know that I am the Mayor of Cardiff. My wife and I are visiting for our 15th Wedding Anniversary. Perhaps I shouldn’t have asked Lady Edgerton for her family’s secret Elderberry flower Cordial recipe!
After tea Meryl kindly drove me to Chippenham to catch my train to Paddington. this was a much easier journey because I now knew the way. what an enjoyable day I had. There really are some lovely people in this world!
Last day of London holiday.
Jetlag has finally caught up with me and I have felt very tired today. I decided to take it easy and just ride on the hop on -hop off bus that tours around London. There turned out to be 3 routes with different points of interest to view/visit. From where I was staying in South Kensington I started on the blue route that took me to Buckingham palace and provided no commentary. Then I decided to take the yellow bus because it had live commentary and took me through the original heart of the old city of London. The commentary described how the great Fire of London burned down 1500 houses and famous places like Saint Paul’s Cathedral. Our guide also told us about the great plague that killed thousands of people. We drove past several little alley ways including the one in Whitechapel where Jack the ripper murdered all those poor victims. We drove over tower bridge, past the tower of London, past Westminster Abbey and many famous land marks. I could have got off at any stage and later re-joined the bus after taking a look around.
I started chatting to a lovely lady by the name of Emily and by the time we got to Kensington gardens we decided to alight to go and see if I could buy a ticket at the Royal Albert hall for a concert tonight. When we got there the desk attendant thought that all the tickets had been sold. I looked so disappointed that he checked and found that there was one seat left! I was so pleased and last night thoroughly enjoyed a concert that is performed just once a year. Music from the Movies is played by the fabulous Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. There were 6000 people present and the atmosphere was buzzing.
Prior to going to the concert, my new friend Emily from Adelaide and another Emily from Florida who we had asked directions from to get to the Orongerie, joined us as well, as she was headed that way and on her own. The walk was well worth the effort. We all enjoyed a delicious High tea in the stunningly beautiful tea rooms of the Oronerie situated in the grounds of the palace where the beautiful Princess Di once lived.
For those of you who are interested in finding out more about the Christening Mug, the British Museum Curator has been contacted and he has forwarded our enquiry to the appropriate department and we should hear something shortly.