Monday, 18 July 2011

Olympics in Greenwich and a right royal time in Hampton Court

Three weeks ago I took my daughter Kate to the Olympic equestrian trials in Greenwich Park.  Kate was very excited when I told her that lots of her heroes from the equestrian world would be there.  Although I do not have a horsey bone in my body I have been to lots of stuff with her – exams and competitions – that are out in the country.  It seemed so bizarre to have these country events taking place in a city park with the backdrop- of the University Maritime Campus, Canary Wharf and the city.  We went on Tuesday fro the eventing  where a course was set up through the park with jumps, ditches and a water pools.  There were lots of school children positioned around thevarious jumps and it was lovely these city kids enjoying an event usually attended by thoroughlycountry folk!  Most people were sitting around the pond bit where Kate informed me that riders are most likely to fall off in the water, making quite a splash!
Here are the pick of my pics: 
Jumping in the arena
Making the different jumps for an eventing course is an art in itself and these little fake country cottage houses make up the  part of the course that goes though the arena. They look so strange with Queen Anne’s House and the university behind!

Jumping in the arena
This shot shows the wonderful domes of the Maritime Campus designed by Christopher Wren.  Is this horse aware of jumping near such esteemed architecture?

Picnic Table
This is known as the ‘picnic table’. And up close it is like a giant’s table, being about six feet high and five feet wide with equally giant hampers for the horses to jump between.

Over the Picnic Table
Luckily this horse didn’t find it too difficult though!

Water jumps
This bit of the course was built through the boating pond.  We wanted to get a good view and so ducked under the ropes and wandered into this corner.  It seemed odd because the only other people in this area had special ‘Press’ vests.  As we wandered out a security man commented “Well I hope you enjoyed yourself but I’m not sure how you got there!” This is the jump most popular with the primary school children but I hope they weren’t too disappointed when no one fell off!

Jump and Ditch
This looks really difficult as the horses have to come round a corner, jump the fence, go down a little slope,, then over the ditch and then up a hill.  The competitors made it look so easy but having been to so many trainings and events with my daughter I know what commitment and hours of practice is involved.

The country comes to Greenwich
At the end of the day we were able to walk the whole course and it is only when you get up really close you realise how big they are! This one is called the ‘brush fence’.

By the time we had walked from Hither Green to Greenwich and then up and down the course several times, my feet were aching and my bum muscles tingling! It’s staggering to think that all this work to get this up and running is only there for a week as it is all taken down until next year when the real Olympics begins. We had a wonderful day out and such fun to spend the day with my gorgeous daughter who go to see some of her riding heroes.
Luckily I had two days break before my next adventure that involved lots more walking – the Hampton Court Flower Show.  This is our extra special yearly treat.  We went with friends and were so disappointed when the rain began belting down on our train journey and didn’t stop for about four hours. Being quite tall I have an absolute loathing of umbrellas because generally they are just at the right level to poke me in the eyes with their prongs.  I am contemplating setting up a campaign to ban them from the show.  As the rain pelted down all we could see was a sea of the blasted things! The rain suddenly cleared after lunch and we had a gorgeous afternoon.  Here are some of my favourite bits:
Flower Sculpture
Sculpture detail
A lovely flower  and insect sculpture.  It has a sort of vintage feel to it.

Lizards and frogs
My faves!  I have a real thing for lizards – they are so wonderfully curly and frogs are such fun!  We have loads of them in our tiny garden.

We found a special display entitled ‘The Swinging Sixties’.  This was a floral art competition for college students.  The Beatles featured very prominently:
The Beatles

The Beatles - Detail

I love these leafy beatles!

Look carefully and you’ll see the guitar is made entirely of flowers – brilliant!

Below is our own Hadlow College entry.  It was inpired by the title of a popular 60’s song ‘She’s like a rainbow’.

More Beatles with Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

Yellow Submarine
This yellow submarine was a superb piece of floral art.  Each corner of the display table had a ‘love’ display in a different colour scheme.

With Love
I liked this one the best – all my favourite colours!

Positive & Negative
I loved this display garden.  The water appeared black – probably achieved with a black pool liner.  The black contrasted beautifully with the green grass of the positive and negative 3D-ness.

This horse covered with plants reminded me of Kate so I had to include it!
A horse for Kate

Monty Don
While we were there the BBC was filming Gardener’s World and Monty Don was presenting.  I am quite a fan so I couldn’t resist snapping away!!  It was fun to watch him again on TV the next night and ‘revisiting’ all the highlights with him.
…so, dear reader, my holidays are over  for the next two months as the clearing adventure unfolds….

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