Another weekend, another historical pile....this time Hampton Court Palace, on the Thames. It's well presented, concentrating on the links with Henry VIII to whom the palace was unwillingly given by Cardinal Wolsey, and with William-an-Mary, who considerably enlarged the place when they moved in.
The buildings are decorated with tudor roses, and with dragons symbolising Henry's Welsh ancestry (Henry VII was born and brought up in Pembrokeshire, and his grandfather was Owain ap Marededd ap Tudur).One of the pictures in the palace is The Embarkation of Henry VIII at Dover, with an idealised Dover Castle in the background and two forts in the foreground. Henry is shown on of the flagships, perhaps the Mary Rose.
He and his huge retinue were going to meet Francis I just across the Channel, where the French had created a Field of Gold Cloth, in one of the relatively infrequent gestures of solidarity between the close neighbours.
The palace has an impressive skyline of chimneys, and a formidable set of kitchens below them. The trees in the area hold plenty of mistletoe, appropriately enough for the king's reputation.
Later, we strolled along another stretch of the Thames by Hammersmith Bridge, which is a work of art from the late Victorian era, ruined by signs from the modern era (don't get me started).
This is becoming a blog of history lessons. Please accept my apologies - the usual blurred snaps of little brown birds will resume shortly.