Henry VIII and Elizabeth I in Enfield

Elsyng Palace was a family home for Henry VIII and his children, probably as large as Hampton Court.  Each summer the Enfield Archaeological Society excavate a bit more and then cover it up to prevent weather damage.  The patience and skill of those who trowel and brush are just amazing.

 

Forty Hall Elsynge roots edit

 

It is lovely to see how roots spread.  Trees connect to each other by their roots using their own internet , Mycorrhiza.  You can read about it in a superbe book “The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben.

 

Forty Hall Elsynge roots 2 edit

One of the local oral histories is that Sir Walter Raleigh laid down his cloak for Queen, Elizabeth I to prevent her getting her feet wet at Maiden’s Bridge. Elizabeth lived in Elsyng Manor from time to time and Raleigh lived in nearby Chase Side so I feel it is a credible story.

Forty Hall Maiden's Bridge 2 edit

 

 

 

This image is of what is probably a Victorian bridge but I like it and,  it is called Maiden’s Bridge.

 

 

Some more images; it is a delightful spot.

 

and one of a tree:

Forty Hall tree edit

All the above are in the Forty Hall Estate which, for a while, was owned by the Parker-Bowles family.  Thinking about it all a poem came to me.

Maiden’s Bridge
Here, five hundred years ago,
Raleigh laid down a cloak for his queen.
It was rich-velvet, patterned with fine jewels.

Half a millennium later,
A son of the family who came to own around here,
Laid down his willing wife for a prince.

Raleigh was beheaded,
The man divorced.

© Anthony Fisher July 2018

About five miles from Forty Hall, just over the boundary in Essex,  is Waltham Abbey.  It has a connection with Elsyng through Henry VIII.  It was the last Abbey to be taken over by Henry during the Reformation which he had planned whilst staying at Elsyng.  The abbot was  a very learned man and Henry enjoyed conversation with him.  I have a tenuous connection too.  The last Saxon king, Harald, was buried there some time after he was killed by William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. One of the Knights that fought with William was Robert-with-a-beard. and of the 850,000 ancestors I have of that time, he is the only one I know!  The U of my initials is for Umfreville which is derived from the village in Normandy he came from.

Enough of that! Waltahm abbey is delightful and we had in interesting visit.  There are faces carved into the exterior stone and this is one most venal:

The ducks are more beautiful on the river near the mill race.  They arranged their pose and waited for me to take the photograph quacking their impatience.

Waltham Abbey Ducks edit

Inside the ceiling is beautiful with Victorian paintings of the zodiac.  The magnificent organ is being restored so there is bright shiny scaffolding as you enter.

 

Waltham Abbey scaffoldng edit

 

 

 

 

 

Waltham Abbey scaffoldng 2 edit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My sign is Capricorn the sea or mergoat. I feel that it is older than Greek mythology and it has its origins in Oannes.  Perhaps, but here is the Capricorn panel.

Waltham Abbey Seagoatc edit

There is a lovely freeze behind the alter and a mediaeval wall painting in the Lady Chapel (I did not photograph the painting).

Waltham Abbey instruction edit

All in all, two good places to visit.

 

Amsterdam – bikes and trams

The first night of our holiday in Europe was in Amsterdam where we had dinner with our niece who is now officially recognised as a Dutch speaker and has Dutch nationality.  She showed us around the university where she works.  What a fabulous place it is!  The Dutch take education seriously – her 14 year old daughter is learning 6 languages -and they treat students extremely well.  During the day we took a tram to Grand Central Station and I was amazed at the barrier reef of bikes!  How can anyone find theirs?

Bikes and Grand Cenrtral Station

 

I find walking in Amsterdam dangerous and scary.  The trams, fabulous to use, are silent, potential assassins of unwary tourists and marauding bikes whiz from every direction!  Amsterdam authorities are considering banning foreign cars as it is so dangerous.  I was glad when we drove away.

 

 

Grand Central Station

 

The poem below came to me as I watched a sexy tram draw away from the station.

 

 

Amsterdam – Grand Central Station

 The tram shakes her hips at me
as she snakes away
from Grand Central Station.

I decide to walk,
cross the small bridge,
past bicycles high tech,
bicycles simple, ancient,
chained to iron railings,
in democratic abandon.

Looking down I see
brightly painted boats
laden with tourists fleeing
the marauding cyclists who,
on their tactically silenced bikes,
attack from behind, the side –
all around.

Next day at the station,
I see bicycles locked
in steel mesh cages.
These are the most murderous
that need to be restrained,
until the tourists have gone.

© Anthony Fisher June 2001

 

Amsterdam is not all bikes and trams, the canals are lovely.

CAnal

We started to walk back to the hotel as we had spotted an interesting group of bronze statues and wanted to have a closer look.  We found them placed in front of a statue of Rembrandt . It proved to be a representation of Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch” ; what an inspired idea!

It is in the featured image above but here is again:

Rembrandts watchmen

and some more shots:

We caught a tram back to the hotel and changed before walking across the park to meet our niece.

The Next night we stayed in Dinant, Southwest Belgium, the home of Aldolphe Sax inventor of the saxophone.  The cathedral there is a magnificent brooding edifice.

 

P1000201

The Belgium owner of the hotel we stayed in knew Enfield as he was a Tottenham Hotspur fan.  He also published illustrated books on football which were displayed in the foyer.  It was a lovely quiet hotel.

The next day we set off for Epron stopping the night in a delightful small hotel near Orleans on the way.