It has been grey all day today. I'm glad I made the river trip yesterday.
This morning I decided to take a closer look at the house I had noticed across the bridge with the cluttered balcony garden. On closer examination it turned out to be the home and business of a dealer in old wares. The balcony, while it does have some plants, is packed with statues and bird=baths.
The little corner yard and the front window are also packed with objects. A notice on the door tells you not to knock, but to phone for an appointment.
I didn't notice any garden gnomes.
I walked around the block and back to Bridge Street, since I had another mission at the Quilting shop.
On the way I noticed some Arabia ware in a window. I still have one of these coffee cups and a dinner plate that Jim bought in the 70s. I seem to remember Deirdre and Alan buying a complete set in Finland.
Nestled amongst the shops on Bridge Street is this lovely cottage. I'm wondering if the stylish car parked outside belongs to the house.
My visit to the Quilting Shop was because I can't find my travel scissors - the tiny rounded blade ones that I carry to use on planes. I had them on the journey over, but seem to have lost them somewhere. I was hoping to replace them before I leave on Sunday so I can use them on the flight home. I could always pre-cut my threads, but it's more convenient to have a cutter.
I was out of luck. I settled for an expensive Clover thread-cutter. I already have one of these at home as well. I hesitated but went with it. 31 hours is a long time to be without a cutter!
My other goal today was to walk along the river away from Hampton Court and take a look at the Molesey Lock and Weir. This means crossing the river and walking along the other bank back past the hotel.
It looks much larger from the other side of the river.
This one has the tower I can see so clearly in my sunset photos.
The Molesey (or Moulsey as it was originally) Lock was initiated by and Act of Parliament in 1812 because, in times of drought, the river level fell so low that barges were held up for weeks at a time, waiting for river flow. The distribution of coal, bricks and manufactured goods in one direction, and agricultural produce and timber in the other, was largely by river barges, and Molesey was a distribution point.
The Lock was built in 1814 of wooden piles and panels. Like other Locks and also bridges, it was maintained from money raised by tolls.
With the coming of the railways, the locks were put to leisure pursuits and became integral to Edwardian recreation.
The Lock was refurbished in 1905 and the lock house rebuilt in the 1920s.
The Lock was completely restored and modernised in 1959 with electronic controls.
It was completely rebuilt between 2012 and 2015
From the lock I returned to the hotel to recharge my phone. Photography drains the battery and I usually carry a back-up charger, but had forgotten this morning. While it charged I had lunch - the whitebait starter that I had been wanting to try. It was delicious - breaded (or crumbed, as I would say in Australia). The whitebait were slightly larger than I get in Australia but not quite sardine size, For once I ate the dipping sauce - Mayonnaise based with gherkin.
After lunch I walked next door to the Gardenarium - a much praised boutique shop - and bought myself a top I have had my eye on for several days. They have some great gifts for little kids - I have to keep reminding myself that my grandchildren really do not want soft bunnies, marbles, wind-up torches shaped like cows, nor fold-out models of English villages.
Last night I finished the stitching on my last Robin panel. It is a very heavily stitched piece and I have done it without a hoop while travelling. I couldn't resist the urge to block it, so, before I went to bed I pinned it out and dampened it. I awoke to find it much straighter. I can now leave it aside until I get home. I will block it again at home but I now know it will be fine. I could live with it as it is and the quilt would work. whew! I'll post a full account of this in my embroidery blog in a day or two.
Tonight's sunset was grey and gentle - a bit like the day.
For several days I have been trying unsuccessfully to photograph a spiderweb on the dining room window.
Tonight I had success of sorts. I couldn't avoid the reflection of my phone, but I captured (photographically!) both the web and the spider.
It is, at least, an interesting image.
No plans as yet for tomorrow. I may venture to Kingston again on the ferry.