Cecil Day-Lewis’s Tree

Posted by Colin

Where: Corner of Crooms Hill and Burney Street, Greenwich, SE10

Daniel Day-Lewis is currently starring in cinemas as former US president Abraham Lincoln in Speilberg’s epic biopic. And it would be a real shock if he didn’t pick up his third Best Actor Oscar for the portrayal. Back in November I read a fascinating article in the Evening Standard where his sister, Tamasin, recounts their childhood together and their relationship with their father, Cecil, who became Poet Laureate in 1968.

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It is lesser known that the children spent their early childhood in Greenwich and that Cecil was the first President of the Greenwich Society. In recognition of his work for them, the Society planted a tree in his honour in 1973 (a year after his death from pancreatic cancer in May 1972).

And yet, you could easily hurry past the tree and miss the plaque at its base – especially in the months when leaves carpet the land around it. If you’re in and around Greenwich – perhaps heading to the Park – then spare a second to find the tree planted for a national poet whose son is favourite to soon add to his collection of golden statuettes.

Cutty Sark Tavern

Posted by Colin

Where: 4-6 Ballast Quay, SE10
Cost: Mains approx £10 per person
Website: www.cuttysarkse10.co.uk
Twitter: @CuttySarkPub
Rating:

I miss Summer. With the weather getting ever colder I long for the longer days when you can stroll down by the Thames without wearing countless layers. On such balmy occasions there is hardly a finer place in London to sit and watch the world go by than at the Cutty Sark Tavern slightly downstream from Greenwich.

A firm favourite of ours, we had never actually been along during the dark months of winter. So when the pub suggested via Twitter that we should come along and try their new venison pie, how could we resist?

Sunset from the Cutty Sark Tavern last year

Sunset from the Cutty Sark Tavern last year

Whilst we normally sit outside in the summer, winter brings a chance to soak in the beautiful dark wood interior.

Sitting upstairs also allows you to gaze out of the window across the water in the same way you can from the benches outside.

We decided to go for two starters to split between us: salt & pepper squid, coriander, chilli & lime along with Gressingham smoked duck, heritage beetroot, walnuts and watercress. The starters were nice enough, but didn’t set the world on fire.

However, our mains of venison pie were divine. They came out in their own individuals pots complete with lids. Lifting the lid revealed a gorgeous shepherd’s pie but with venison mince instead of lamb. The potato was creamy and smooth and the venison the perfect hearty antedote to the winter blues.

I am pretty sure there were even little bits of dark chocolate hidden amongst the filling. My only criticism was that it was a little over seasoned, with the pepper taste a tad too strong.

Verdict:

A pub for all seasons. In summer make sure you’re there to sip a cool glass of wine as the sun sets behind Canary Wharf. In the winter move inside to take advantage of the beautiful Georgian interior and their hearty selection of beautifully cooked fare.

St. Paul’s and Tower Bridge seen through a telescope from the Royal Observatory Greenwich

Posted by Colin

St. Paul’s Cathedral and Tower Bridge must be two of the most photographed landmarks in London. But chances are they haven’t been snapped like this before…

On Wednesday night I was leading a telescope viewing session at the Royal Observatory Greenwich as part of their annual Evening With The Stars season. At the start of the night our view of the Moon and Jupiter was obscured by cloud and so I turned the telescope’s attention to something a little more terrestrial: Central London.

If you’ve ever been up on Greenwich Hill you’ll know what a spectacular view of the Capital it provides. I was able to centre the telescope on the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is beautifully bracketed by Tower Bridge from the vantage point up on the hill.

Being such a cold night the view was pin sharp and I was able to stick my iPhone at the eye piece and capture this unique view of the two famous landmarks (click image for larger version).

You can spot the coat of arms of the City of London sitting on the gantry of the bridge on the far left of the picture. The glowing “ropes” are also clearly visible.

The telescope eyepiece with Wren’s St. Paul’s in view, and another of his creations in the background

It was even possible to see the flag of St. George fluttering atop the bridge (look closely, and perhaps zoom in and you’ll see it. It is a little dark due to being in shadow but you can definitely see the cross on the flag!) We could even tell the time by the cathedral clock.

Such a gorgeous view was particularly apt as the cathedral’s architect, Sir Christopher Wren, was also responsible for designing Flamsteed House – the Observatory’s flagship building.

So from a distance of 5 miles (as the crow flies) I was able to unite two of Wren’s most stunning creations. We got to see Jupiter and the Moon once the clouds had lifted, but sometimes London can be just as beautiful as the heavens.

Related Posts:

There is more than one St. Paul’s Cathedral in London…

A photo of London from space

The Shard, The Moon and Jupiter