All posts filed under: Events

The Hive at Kew Gardens

The Hive: Bee at Kew Gardens

The Hive at Kew Gardens is a magical transformation of a set of giant metal rods and bolts into an amazing, delicate and vibrant structure set down in a bucolic corner of southwest London.  It has to be experienced in person to be fully appreciated. We visited ‘The Hive’ at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew  as part of the ‘Kew Lates’ programme of events.  We arrived just before dusk so were able to see this incredible sculpture as the light was changing.  Very helpful guides were on hand to explain the work and the role of bees in pollination and the work they do at Kew Gardens.  There were also activities and events in the Orangery including silk screen printing and jewellery making. It was a great evening and the weather was marvellous so we enjoyed a glass of wine on the terrace watching the fire jugglers afterwards. The Hive structure  at Kew Gardens is designed to highlight the importance of bees as pollinators. It’s been well documented that in recent years, the world’s bee population …

film review

Film review: Eye in the Sky

More like Cry in the Sky. Emma and I went to see this film, based on some pretty positive reviews. Very good cast including Alan Rickman’s last appearance before his sad departure earlier this year. It is about the moral questions of drone attacks and collateral damage and the chain of command. As a drama it works OK even though it was clearly shot over a couple of weeks on three sets and one location. The interaction between the protagonists is done via an implausible mash-up of military grade Skype, army Snapchat and the MoD’s low spec version of WhatsApp. What doesn’t ring true (sadly) is the degree of moral analysis and high level scrutiny and challenge given to this one operation. From what I have read, operations like this have been happening on an almost daily basis for a decade or more. I doubt whether those involved would give more than a few seconds thought about collateral damage, especially if the strike was on a confirmed target as portrayed here. The reviews have been …

Wildlife photographers

Shooting British Wildlife: Improving my photography skills

Take more photos! I’ve been trying to get to grips with photography over the past few years and I’m getting there bit by bit. I’ve learned there’s a lot more to it than ‘pointing and shooting’  and there are lots of resources out there on the web that will help you get to grips with the basics and the terminology and equipment.  There’s no substitute for actually getting out there and taking pictures though, so I was very lucky to be able to visit the British Wildlife Centre on one of their Wildlife Photography Days, courtesy of Emma who bought me a voucher for the day. The British Wildlife Centre The Centre is in Lingfield in Surrey and is a privately owned organisation which works on breeding programmes, habitat conservation and education.  One of the ways it raises funds is through these wildlife photography days.  Numbers are limited to around a dozen and you have the run of the place, with one of the keepers as a guide. Ours was Tom, a really enthusiastic and …

Light up the night. Don’t miss out!

Drive past Chiswick House in south-west London at night and you may be surprised by the eerie glow coming from the grounds right now. It’s actually the light from hundreds of amazing, giant Chinese lanterns – part of the first festival of its kind in the UK celebrating Chinese New Year. This event offers a magical, illuminated experience as you wander through the gardens of Chiswick House in the dark. Find your astrological sign as a lantern  – Tiger for me, Pig for our friend Gary and Rat for John and Gary’s wife, Jackie. The event is on until 3rd March 2016 so there is still time to get along if you live nearby or are visiting London soon. We got our tickets slightly cheaper buying ahead from the Time Out website. DO wear warm clothing when you go. The walk around the grounds is quite a long one and it can get chilly round the nether regions if you haven’t come prepared. We missed our hats and were thankful for our gloves!   Small children might struggle unless …

Emma Pepys into the past

I admit it, I am a self-confessed Samuel Pepys groupie. Ever since I picked up the ‘Shorter’ version of his Diary about 25 years ago, I’ve been hooked. His lifestyle, his opinions, his experiences are rooted in the 17th century but the voice in this extraordinary diary feels so very contemporary too. Humour, hubris, dalliances, affairs, gossip, greed and jealousy spill from his entries, as well as the every-day, down in the dirt detail of Stuart London. So I was really excited when I heard about the opening of the Samuel Pepys exhibition: Plague, Fire, Revolution. These days without the kids in tow John and I can please ourselves when it comes to indulging our interests. So we booked our tickets and headed off to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. For me, Samuel Pepys diary is the next best thing to a time-machine. It lands you in a London recovering from the turmoil of the English Civil War and the rule of Oliver Cromwell, opening with the triumphant return of Charles II from exile. …