Now as we leave the flower garden with a lovely purple smoke bush and a curling path around the Heather beds, let me show you some of the other wonders of this beautiful place
A bit of a purple Beech, and no, the castle looking house to the right is not part of the Park, it is somebody's home. On the right more of the Beech.
This gorgeous cedar is not in the flower garden, it lives on the edge! Looking down from the edge, this is not the top, just a breathing stop.
Now I have crossed to the west of the park and am at last going down hill. Here is one of the many avenues. On the right is a Japanese maple with sweet Chestnuts behind it. The best time for Chestnuts is October. Beware, the Squirrels like them, plus the park keepers and the Royal Parks Police will get rather upset with you for beating their 400+ year old trees to get the Chestnuts down! The Olympics people are allowed to cut them down for the event, but money speaks, trees can't.
An old friend of mine at the side of the Royal Observatory. This huge fig taught me how to cook them with Stilton and Port! Another wooded area on the right!
On the east side of the park now, I love how most parks always put these benches in for people. Now looking down at the Royal Naval College. This used to be the site of the original Palace. That was knocked down and with Sir Christopher Wren's design the first stone was laid in 1696. Many of the top architects and artists in the world worked on this, till in 1706, the first 42 pensioners (Seamen) moved in. It was then called the Royal Naval Hospital.
Looking back up one of the Avenues. More trees, although you can never have too many trees!
A stunning Irish yew with a holly behind it, on the right another Chestnut Avenue, not for long when the Olympic people have cut them down!
Down to earth again! The last bit of the Herbaceous Border and looking back at another bit and the Queens House.
A bit of the Border outside the Admin block, then some more!
The Queens House and some more of the Border!
There is an awful lot of this Hebaceous Border, and as you can see it desperately needs some rain. Although some plants can thrive in it!
The Victorians had this thing about the European or common lime, Tillia europeas. They discovered that these trees drop a sticky black gum, which kept the dust down on the Carriage tracks. They are not just in parks like here, whole streets are lined with them everywhere. Vehicle drivers hate them as they cannot get the black gum off their cars. Gardeners do not like them, as the reason they drop the sticky gum is Aphids, and also look at the picture on the right, for they sucker everywhere!
The Royal steps at Greenwich. Sad, tragic, heroic and now with the new warning sign up quite amusing! It was from here in 1533 that Anne Boleyn was taken upstream to Westminster Abbey to become Queen of England, she gave birth here to Princess Elizabeth I, later to become Queen Elizabeth I, and it was from here that Queen Anne Boleyn was taken to the Tower of London in the Royal barge, this time through Traitors Gate, four days later to be beheaded on Tower Green for treason (1536). Sir Francis Drake sailed past here to go just upstream a little to Deptford to be knighted by Queen Elizabeth I (1581). After Admiral Lord Nelson's death at the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), he was brought here, and laid in state in the painted Hall, only to be taken up the river again to buried in St. Paul's Cathedral, built by Sir Christoper Wren, who had also built the Royal Naval Hospital here in the first place! In 1967 Sir Francis Chichester was knighted after his solo circumnavigation of the world (sailing, in under 90 days), on the clipper route. Queen Elizabeth II knighted him with the same sword as the one used to knight Sir Francis Drake by Queen Elizabeth I, as he had circumnavigated the world (1577-1580), but not solo.
The other bit of the Royal steps and the Royal gates, never before open to the public.
The Royal Naval College which took over from the then Royal Naval Hospital in 1873. In 1962 "Jason" as he was known, moved into the King William Building. He was a Nuclear Reactor for the training of Naval Personnel, scientists etc., yes a Nuclear Reactor in London. The Royal Naval College finally closed down in 1998 and is now owned by the Greenwich Foundation.
One of the inner courtyards in the Royal Naval College. Nobody was ever allowed in here for obvious reasons, so the only way to see the Royal steps and the gates was to follow the narrow path of the Riverside walk, no tourists knew where it was. To me a glorious sight, to some people not so glorious, leaving here to be taken to the Tower of London. Despite the evil clouds, the Queens House can be seen in the distance and the Royal Observatory at the top of the Hill.
The famous Trafalgar Tavern outside the side gates of the Royal Naval College and on the River, it has its own rowing club and boat house!
Despite the statue on the top of Nelsons column in London, here is another one outside the Trafalgar, as Admiral Lord Nelson laid in state here across the road in the painted Hall. The magnificent Yacht pub in the back streets of Greenwich!
Look at the date on the left, and I want the pair of these, they would look lovely in the garden. Behind the one on the right is the remains of the famous Cutty Sark. This beautiful Clipper ship sailed the Clipper route to China and back to Greenwich, when she was retired she was put in dry dock at Greenwich in good condition. Unfortunately just recently upon doing some restoration work on her; a workman left a vacum on over the weekend, and it caught fire, so did the ship. Our Nation was horrified, so now they are trying to restore her again.
The Cutty Sark before she was put in dry dock and restored the first time. Now one of our River Buses, used by 6 million Londoners a year. These very fast environmentally friendly boats are gorgeous to travel on. But even with their speed and power they still must abide by the rules and give way to sailing ships and rowers which are still used on the Thames. As a rower myself, I somehow think I would rather get out of the way of one of these. As a matter of interest if you have a bus pass, an elderly person's card or are a War Veteran or War Disabled you get a pass and you can use these for free! They will get you to Westminster from Greenwich in eight minutes, try that by road!
A lovely pub or was until it was done up, named after Sir Francis Chichester's sailing boat that was in dry dock alongside the Cutty Sark until recently. This used to be a shipwright's shop next door to the pub. Now look, enough said!
Now for a real pub it tells you bottom left hand corner when this was established! Behind this pub is Greenwich Market. There has been a market in Greenwich on the same spot since the 1300s and it is still used for a variety of different things nowadays. The pub in the market was a gorgeous pub, then the designers moved in. Gone are the old pub signs, mirrors and furniture and in with the modern, a National Disgrace.
An alleyway in the Market and the Market itself!
I leave you with this statue of General Wolfe (1727-1759), erected by the side of the Royal Observatory in 1930, it states "This monument, a gift of the Canadian people, was unveiled by the Marquis de Montcalm". I wonder why he has his back to what the Olympic people are going to do to this beautiful place.
Did I enjoy my trip back here after fifteen years since I was there? Well, yes and no is the answer. The Royal Park has not changed; the Victorians changed things slightly with their bedding, but how are you going to change something that was enclosed in 1433. The biggest threat is the Olympics as they wish to use the top of the park for the Horse trials. It is more prestige than anything else, but will invole cutting down 400+ year old trees, surely for a two week event that is not right! But again money talks, trees unfortunately can't. We have Blackheath common outside the park which would be ideal for the Horse trials. Thousands of people have signed a petition, not that it will do any good.
Where I worked has changed for the worst; but that is down to a lot of Chiefs and not enough Indians, and the money men have moved in, which is a shame. I think the Planetarium is a big mistake; for to me it looks terrible in that setting, and is very expensive to get in. It is lovely to see new plants and to me new trees being put in, and the old ones restored if they can, full marks for that! But that is the Royal Parks philosphy and always has been, and indeed what you expect in a Royal Park; even though the Olympic people are going to cut a lot down. It was nice to see my old Boss even though he is looking frail now; plus lovely to see the old fig tree. Greenwich has changed for the worst in my belief; gone the traditional pubs, now gastro pubs or whatever they call them, a few still refuse that route, but not many. Gone the old pie & mash shops now every country is in on the act! I may sound old fashioned and realise that things must change; however if you have a beautiful building from the 1660s why ruin it, look after it, treasure it and leave it alone, for future generations to see, you will not be able to build another one. There is one thing they can never change and that is our Parks are free to get in and free to walk around, and in this day and age that is a good thing. Enough of me, I hope you have enjoyed your short visit to Greenwich.