Corfe Castle, Wareham, Dorset, UK

corfe castle panorama

The dramatic ruins of Corfe Castle stand on a natural hill guarding the principal route through the Purbeck Hills. As you can see it guards the gap between the south of Purbeck, where Purbeck marble was once quarried, and the rest of England. Nothing could pass in or out without going past the Castle.

Corfe CastleCorfe castle is one of Britain’s most majestic ruins. It’s history can be tracked back to 6000 BC. Of course back then it was not a castle but a village. The oldest surviving structure on the castle site dates back to the XI century.The fortification of the castle was initiated by William the Concqueror to insure its durability for use as a royal fortress. In the end it was destroyed from within by a “turncoat” during the civil war, who gave entry into the castle allowing Cromwell’s army to enter the castle to destroy everything in their path.Corfe Castle ruins

Cromwell’s army fought the most remarkable Lady Bankes, a Royalist, who cared for the castle while her husband, Sir John was called away by Charles I, earning her the name “Brave Dame Mary” as well as the respect of the Parliamentary commander; who was so impressed with her courage that he allowed her to leave the castle with her garrison and the keys to the castle once the Roundheads finally persuaded her to surrender.  She was betrayed by one of her own garrison, who allowed Parliamentary soldiers to gain possession of the building, whereupon they set about destroying the edifice. The Bankes family still preserves the keys at their family home, which is protected by the National Trust.Cementary Corfe Castle Some say that probably more damage was done by the locals than by the troops as they looted the site for its limestone masonry. It was used to rebuild the pretty local village which had also suffered at the hands of the destructive parliamentarian troops.

There is also a legend which Tomas Hardy recorded concerning the disappearance of an entire Roman legion, with of course, only its ghost remaining leading to the conclusion that a massive battle must have taken place between the Celts and the Romans.The Fox Inn

Corfe castle has had a lot of reported ghost sightings that has made the BBC (Corfe Castle Murder Walks). A ghostly white lady and a weeping child are just two of the ghosts that haunt the castle. They say you can come across the headless white lady, whose shimmering shade chills the blood of those who chance upon her, and they find themselves shivering and shaking until she turns and drifts slowly away, fading into nothingness as she goes. The spirit is thought to be that of a young woman who betrayed the castle to Cromwell’s troops during the Civil War.The village

The castle was also the scene of the assassination of King Edward (Edward the Martyr) on the 18th March 978, on the orders of his scheming stepmother Queen Alfthryth. He was stabbed while still on horseback, then dragged along to his death by his horse.

There is a Legend of the pelican at Corfe castle. In 2008, there was great excitement when a stone carving of a pelican was discovered high on the keep at Corfe Castle. To the castle’s Norman builders, the pelican was a powerful religious symbol and its presence here underlines Corfe’s importance as a royal stronghold.

Back: Lady and a henchman
Back: Lady and a henchman

A pelican’s breast plumage has a reddish tinge and its beak a red tip. In ancient times, it was wrongly assumed that the pelican was pecking its chest with its bill and giving its own blood to its chicks. The pelican feeds its chicks with small fish. As the chick reaches up for the food, it was thought they were attacking the parent. When – full of food – the chicks snuggled down into the nest, it was thought the parent pelican had killed them. After three days the pelican was said to peck its own breast and spray blood on the chicks, thus bringing them back to life.

Early Christians, familiar with the legend of the pelican’s

Front: Lady and a henchman
Front: Lady and a henchman

apparent self-sacrifice, saw this as an appropriate symbol to represent Christ the Redeemer. The pelican is usually portrayed with its wings back and head down – a representation of the cross.

You may see another birds in Corfe Castle – the resident ravens, which have recently returned to nest at Corfe Castle. It was believed that if the ravens left the castle it would fall, and according to local legend in 1638 the ravens disappeared and the castle was largely destroyed in 1646.There is the same prophecy for Tower in London, so they keep breeding ravens there just in case.

Corfe Castle’s history continues to be celebrated by the National Trust with court jester days, castle quest activities and living history events. You can see my friends wearing the court clothes on the right.

Swanage RailwayThere is one more attraction nearby: the award-winning Swanage Railway currently operates on the six miles of track between Swanage and Norden, through the beautiful Isle of Purbeck, passing the magnificent ruins of Corfe Castle. The Isle covers approximately 100 square miles but it is not a true island even though the English Channel, Poole Harbour and the River Frome almost surround it.

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Canary Wharf London UK

Canary Wharf London

I still remember that before I went to London I spoke to one of my friends who worked in Canary Work and he told me it’s like a modern version of Amsterdam with canals and steel buildings everywhere. Well maybe not quite like Amsterdam but…

Canary Wharf stationI remember the first time I arrived in Canary Wharf. Taking DLR from Britannia Village I arrived underground in the tube station and took an escalator to the ground level. The wind hit me. The concrete choked me. The people jostled me. The station was full of people in well tailored suits and dresses. Everyone was in a hurry. Everyone was indifferent. Everyone was cold and grave.

The atmosphere put me down straight away. Overwhelmed I walked around and observed. I felt quite sad instead of being excited. I guess this was not the best beginning to me living in London. Thomson Reuters Canary Wharf LondonI guess I was more overwhelmed than I expected and than I wanted to admit. Not impressed, overwhelmed. I remember my friend A. from New Zeland remarking everyone looks like robots no smiles, no eye contact, just going about one’s own business. This is the first impression. It lasts unless you make your own circle of friends and walk around with them.

Canary Wharf is very windy all year round so definatley I don’t recommend it in winter. With time I became used to its ambience but never felt comfortable there.

Clocks Canary Wharf LondonI remember insane moments when planes approaching City Airport seemed to fly right into One Canada Square building or the wonderful setting sun reflected in the glass of skyscrapers. I remember I liked to sit in a restaurat/pub in the West India Quay after dark with panorama of Canary Wharf, lights in some offices creating a chaotic maze.

One Canada Square building was used in the last two episodes of the second season of the popular British science fiction television series Doctor Who – Army of Ghosts and Doomsday. According to the action series it housed the secret alien technology research institute called Torchwood.

If you like movies like I do check out this Canary Wharf movie map before you go over.

My favourite places:Morgan Stanley Canary Wharf London

Gaucho – Argentinian restaurant. The best steak in Europe (that I tried) besides Restaurante Parilla or Caballito in Madrid, Spain. I looked up the one in Madrid on Google maps and street view name is the first while Google map gives the second. Anyway we went there when I was on Dukan diet and couldn’t eat any fat or sugar, only protein. I was eating meat for quite some time and then encoutered this heaven on Earth, mouth watering, full of flavour with no oli steak. Canary Wharf LondonOhhh I still dream of it. The service was excellent. Our waitress showed us a wooden board of meats. Explained which is which, which part of the cow it comes from and then how it’s best served. We had to change table in the middle of the meal which wasn’t a problem. I was really impressed. I recommend it if you have a few quid to spare.

During the same diet I used to be a frquent customer of Caffe Nero in Jubilee Place. I spoiled myself with Classic Frappѐ Latte with sugar free caramel syroup yum (you can forget the sugar free option in Poland, there is no demand for it, as well as for sugar free low fat yogurts… can’t really blame Polish people). Canary Wharf LondonBut the biggest temptation for me there was always White & Dark Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake. Rich, creamy, baked layers of white and dark chocolate truffle cheesecake, on a crispy chocolate biscuit base, topped with swirls of white and dark chocolate. Very sweet, my friend couldn’t finish it, but also very chocolaty yum yum. I just want a recipe so I can make it myself!

Canary Wharf LondonLa Tasca – Spanish restaurant, crowded but cozy with warm interior. You can choose from wide selection of tapas. House wine is nice but you might have to wait for the service. From my experience also it’s better to book in advance. Don’t take it the wrong way, it’s not the best place I have been to in London but I find it comfortable and full of joyful live instead of fast and minimalist modernity if you know what I mean. You probably don’t though.

Rum and Sugar – the cheapest place to eat in Canary Wharf with best pub hamburger and fries. Most of the time full. Funny toilets. I liked to eat sushi in Itsu Jubilee Place. I have a friend in that. Isn’t that right K.?Cabot Place Canary Wharf London

I was refused an account in HSBC. I had a job but I have been in London less than six months. They wanted to force me into Passport Account which is expensive. I just wanted a regular account with no overdraft option. The refusal was too much for me, I felt humiliated and burst. I don’t think I was ever so rude for a Sales Assistant before or since.

Later on just before I moved back to Poland I used to be a Lettings Negotiator in Canary Wharf. Yes, I did go into those fancy top floor aparments, but also the less fancy ones. I be honest, it’s just not me at all. I prefer nice cottages or mansions with big gardens in rustic style. But well I had many clients very impressed. The medium expensive places (as for CW) were small or even less than small, the bright ones were always expensive. Most of them are not stackable. But well whatever makes you feel good.

Top floor apartment Canary Wharf London

I think the biggest disappointment for me was the apartment I saw in Port East. Pan Peninsula studio apartments are just insane for the same price you can get far more spacious option. Altough I have to say you get a inhome cinema for residents, amazing pool and gym as well as top floor bar which will impress all your friends surely. Let’s not forget about Spa. Still the stuios are awful.

Canary Wharf panoramaThe above view is from my favourite apartment to let we had. It’s top floor in small apartment block in the south part of Isle of Dogs. It has a narrow balcony and panoramic window overlooking Millwall Park and Canary Wharf. I will write another post on Isle of Dogs separatley. Now a bit of history and additional pictures in slideshow. New Providence WharfHahhaa before that, one more picture from an apartment in New Providence Wharf. Look at this magnificent view! Picture on the left.

Let’s start with that Canary Wharf is a major business district one of London’s two main financial centres. The West India Docks where it’s located, once formed part of the busiest port in the world. It was closed in 1980. Canary Wharf itself takes its name from No. 32 berth of the West Wood Quay of the Import Dock. This was built in 1936 for Fruit Lines Ltd, a subsidiary of Fred Olsen Lines for the Mediterranean and Canary Islands fruit trade. At their request, the quay and warehouse were given the name Canary Wharf. The recovery began with Credit Suisse wanting to build here their back office. The idea was then sold and developed into a bigger project involving creating new business district. First buildings were completed in 1991. Canary Wharf in progressThere is a picture above escalator showing the construction in progress. have a look on the right. One Canada Square became the UK’s tallest building and a symbol of the regeneration of Docklands.

The area is full of people during working hours and during the time of after work drinks on Thursdays and Fridays. It tends to be deserted over the weekends. I suppose everyone just hangs around their homes not where they work. There are many events in Canary Wharf trying to make it more sociable and alive. This include fashion shows, food festival, ice rink, operas, movies under the sky, exhibitions and others.

The Idea Shop in Canary Wharf is poorly stocked and therefore I appeal for more books!

Two more remarks: if you take photos in CW be prpared a policeman can come over and ask you to show them to him. If he thinks it’s a threat to security he will ask you to delete them. Second there is a statue of a man in W India Ave. I think he is happy and free cos he quit working in a corp.

[slideshow]

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Canary Wharf London UK

Canary Wharf London

I still remember that before I went to London I spoke to one of my friends who worked in Canary Work and he told me it’s like a modern version of Amsterdam with canals and steel buildings everywhere. Well maybe not quite like Amsterdam but…

Canary Wharf stationI remember the first time I arrived in Canary Wharf. Taking DLR from Britannia Village I arrived underground in the tube station and took an escalator to the ground level. The wind hit me. The concrete choked me. The people jostled me. The station was full of people in well tailored suits and dresses. Everyone was in a hurry. Everyone was indifferent. Everyone was cold and grave.

The atmosphere put me down straight away. Overwhelmed I walked around and observed. I felt quite sad instead of being excited. I guess this was not the best beginning to me living in London. Thomson Reuters Canary Wharf LondonI guess I was more overwhelmed than I expected and than I wanted to admit. Not impressed, overwhelmed. I remember my friend A. from New Zeland remarking everyone looks like robots no smiles, no eye contact, just going about one’s own business. This is the first impression. It lasts unless you make your own circle of friends and walk around with them.

Canary Wharf is very windy all year round so definatley I don’t recommend it in winter. With time I became used to its ambience but never felt comfortable there.

Clocks Canary Wharf LondonI remember insane moments when planes approaching City Airport seemed to fly right into One Canada Square building or the wonderful setting sun reflected in the glass of skyscrapers. I remember I liked to sit in a restaurat/pub in the West India Quay after dark with panorama of Canary Wharf, lights in some offices creating a chaotic maze.

One Canada Square building was used in the last two episodes of the second season of the popular British science fiction television series Doctor Who – Army of Ghosts and Doomsday. According to the action series it housed the secret alien technology research institute called Torchwood.

If you like movies like I do check out this Canary Wharf movie map before you go over.

My favourite places:Morgan Stanley Canary Wharf London

Gaucho – Argentinian restaurant. The best steak in Europe (that I tried) besides Restaurante Parilla or Caballito in Madrid, Spain. I looked up the one in Madrid on Google maps and street view name is the first while Google map gives the second. Anyway we went there when I was on Dukan diet and couldn’t eat any fat or sugar, only protein. I was eating meat for quite some time and then encoutered this heaven on Earth, mouth watering, full of flavour with no oli steak. Canary Wharf LondonOhhh I still dream of it. The service was excellent. Our waitress showed us a wooden board of meats. Explained which is which, which part of the cow it comes from and then how it’s best served. We had to change table in the middle of the meal which wasn’t a problem. I was really impressed. I recommend it if you have a few quid to spare.

During the same diet I used to be a frquent customer of Caffe Nero in Jubilee Place. I spoiled myself with Classic Frappѐ Latte with sugar free caramel syroup yum (you can forget the sugar free option in Poland, there is no demand for it, as well as for sugar free low fat yogurts… can’t really blame Polish people). Canary Wharf LondonBut the biggest temptation for me there was always White & Dark Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake. Rich, creamy, baked layers of white and dark chocolate truffle cheesecake, on a crispy chocolate biscuit base, topped with swirls of white and dark chocolate. Very sweet, my friend couldn’t finish it, but also very chocolaty yum yum. I just want a recipe so I can make it myself!

Canary Wharf LondonLa Tasca – Spanish restaurant, crowded but cozy with warm interior. You can choose from wide selection of tapas. House wine is nice but you might have to wait for the service. From my experience also it’s better to book in advance. Don’t take it the wrong way, it’s not the best place I have been to in London but I find it comfortable and full of joyful live instead of fast and minimalist modernity if you know what I mean. You probably don’t though.

Rum and Sugar – the cheapest place to eat in Canary Wharf with best pub hamburger and fries. Most of the time full. Funny toilets. I liked to eat sushi in Itsu Jubilee Place. I have a friend in that. Isn’t that right K.?Cabot Place Canary Wharf London

I was refused an account in HSBC. I had a job but I have been in London less than six months. They wanted to force me into Passport Account which is expensive. I just wanted a regular account with no overdraft option. The refusal was too much for me, I felt humiliated and burst. I don’t think I was ever so rude for a Sales Assistant before or since.

Later on just before I moved back to Poland I used to be a Lettings Negotiator in Canary Wharf. Yes, I did go into those fancy top floor aparments, but also the less fancy ones. I be honest, it’s just not me at all. I prefer nice cottages or mansions with big gardens in rustic style. But well I had many clients very impressed. The medium expensive places (as for CW) were small or even less than small, the bright ones were always expensive. Most of them are not stackable. But well whatever makes you feel good.

Top floor apartment Canary Wharf London

I think the biggest disappointment for me was the apartment I saw in Port East. Pan Peninsula studio apartments are just insane for the same price you can get far more spacious option. Altough I have to say you get a inhome cinema for residents, amazing pool and gym as well as top floor bar which will impress all your friends surely. Let’s not forget about Spa. Still the stuios are awful.

Canary Wharf panoramaThe above view is from my favourite apartment to let we had. It’s top floor in small apartment block in the south part of Isle of Dogs. It has a narrow balcony and panoramic window overlooking Millwall Park and Canary Wharf. I will write another post on Isle of Dogs separatley. Now a bit of history and additional pictures in slideshow. New Providence WharfHahhaa before that, one more picture from an apartment in New Providence Wharf. Look at this magnificent view! Picture on the left.

Let’s start with that Canary Wharf is a major business district one of London’s two main financial centres. The West India Docks where it’s located, once formed part of the busiest port in the world. It was closed in 1980. Canary Wharf itself takes its name from No. 32 berth of the West Wood Quay of the Import Dock. This was built in 1936 for Fruit Lines Ltd, a subsidiary of Fred Olsen Lines for the Mediterranean and Canary Islands fruit trade. At their request, the quay and warehouse were given the name Canary Wharf. The recovery began with Credit Suisse wanting to build here their back office. The idea was then sold and developed into a bigger project involving creating new business district. First buildings were completed in 1991. Canary Wharf in progressThere is a picture above escalator showing the construction in progress. have a look on the right. One Canada Square became the UK’s tallest building and a symbol of the regeneration of Docklands.

The area is full of people during working hours and during the time of after work drinks on Thursdays and Fridays. It tends to be deserted over the weekends. I suppose everyone just hangs around their homes not where they work. There are many events in Canary Wharf trying to make it more sociable and alive. This include fashion shows, food festival, ice rink, operas, movies under the sky, exhibitions and others.

The Idea Shop in Canary Wharf is poorly stocked and therefore I appeal for more books!

Two more remarks: if you take photos in CW be prpared a policeman can come over and ask you to show them to him. If he thinks it’s a threat to security he will ask you to delete them. Second there is a statue of a man in W India Ave. I think he is happy and free cos he quit working in a corp.

[slideshow]

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London Introduction

London February 2009I arrived to live in London straight from sunny Mexico. Well maybe not that straight as I had aflight from mexico City to Madrid then Dublin and then London. It was the winter at the beginning of 2009. If you remember it many flights over Europe were cancelled because of the snow. So was mine.

I got stuck in Dublin airport with luggage containg all the things I gathered during the time I was living in Ireland. Yes I took it all with me to Mexico. So one 80l backpack and small backpack for hand luggage. I have saved some money and after a long consideration decided to try my luck in London.London cranes Britannia Village

So there I was tired with the journey from another side of the World waiting for information on my budget flight to London. As usual not much was known as the situation was dependent of weather conditions. In the end my flight was postponed untill the next day. I decided to rent a room in a hotel €50 if I remember correctly. I didn’t want to waste money but decided to spoil myself nontheless.

It was snowing all the time. Big flakes of snow in the street light looked like a big adventure. I was restless. Excited, afraid and still thinking if I’m making the right choice. And so I went to visit my friends who then lived in Dublin City center. We always had a good laugh together. So was this time. I couldn’t stay long as I wanted to get to my hotel before they shut the public transport. It felt so weird thinking I might as well never be coming back to Ireland. I suppose to appreciate how big decision it was for me you should know I love the green island implicitly. This doesn’t mean I don’t see the faults it’s just that I take them along.

Royal Docks LondonIf I had to choose a decision that changed my life the most it was the one to move to London.

Let’s skip the night, the morning departure and let’s just arrive in London on a sunny and frosty morning. My boyfriend found us a room in Britannia Village, Royal Docks near London City Airport. Wonderful view on plans taking off and landing as well as Canary Wharf. As this is first post on London of many I will just write a bit about Royal Docks and Britannia Village. The apartment building we were living in was quite new and clean, tall but narrow. It had 3 storeys. Ground floor – entrance, utility room, micro bathroom and garage (converted into a room in our house), first floor – box room, living room and kitchen, second floor two rooms and a bathroom. All that know living conditions in London will appreciate we actually had a living room. Everything was cramped and small. I was used to living in one family houses with big kitchen containing dining area and separate large living room. My single room was the only a bit smaller than the room I had to share now with P. It was quite difficult as you can imagine.Britannia Village London

The most distinguish feature of Royal Docks area is a high foot bridge above the dock just opposite to the London City’s runway. You get a beautiful panorama view when you climb it. Long after those first days I used to visit my friend in Britannia Village we would walk around the dock and then sit on the bridge observing the sunset and talk about life. I miss it even though I don’t miss London.

Next to the Royal Victoria Dock ExCeL Center is located. It’s the international exhibition and convention centre. I was once inside to use the toilet I think and wanting to get something to eat. I think in the end P. treated me to something sweet but I know he visited an exhibition and was happy about it. So was my friend M. after sightseeing the sailing boats fair. I think there are plans to revive the area and recently a Cable Car was build. i think in time for the Olympics. I have to say thanks to the Olympic village the whole East London was revived.

Bridge the Royal Docks LondonThe Royal Docks comprise three docks in east London – the Royal Albert Dock the Royal Victoria Dock and the King George V Dock built on riverside marshes. They were built for large vessels that could not be accommodated further upriver. What else I can say that there a a couple of restaurants worth recommendation among them Thai restaurant – Nakhon Thai (there’s another on the Isle of Dogs) and Caribbean – Caribbean Scene Royale, the second I never visited. Shame on me. Also that the windows prevent pretty much the noise of the airport of intruding the houses. The problem emerges when you want to open the window.

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