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Tuesday 30 May 2017

Kingsman & Huntsman

The first thing every gentleman needs is a good suit.  By which I mean a bespoke suit.

Location: London, England
Address: 11 Saville Row
Date: August 2015
Website: www.huntsmansavilerow.com

  Saville Row has been the place for bespoke tailoring in London since the early 1800s.  Bespoke tailoring is a custom made suit that is cut to perfectly fit the individual.  Usually you buy a suit and they will take it in or let it out to make it fit better.  Bespoke is the high end of tailoring.  We visited one of the shops on a drizzly evening as we headed out for dinner.  We visited a shop called Huntsman, not for a good fitting suit, but for a different reason altogether.

Huntsman & Sons.

  The Hunstman shop at 11 Seville Row made an appearance in the movie Kingsman: The Secret Service.  In the movie the tailor shop is called Kingsman and houses a secret spy headquarters filled with gadgets and hidden rooms.  Harry Hart (Colin Firth) is a spy who wants to train a young lad called Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and brings him to the tailor shop.  Hunstman provided not just the location, but the suits for the fictional Kingsman.  Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Cane also get to dress in style as part of the cast.  Real life clients include the Royal family, Clark Gable, David Bowie and Ronald Reagan.

I Spy.

  The shop was closed when we visited or we may have attempted to venture inside.  We didn't see any obvious spy activity, except for the car (above) that turned on with no driver inside.  What will they think of next? 

Map of Our World
Huntsman & Sons
Post # 178

Saturday 20 May 2017

The Safety Dance

A place where they will never find.

Location: West Kington, England
Address: Drifton Hill
Date: September 2015
Website: www.menwithouthats.com

  "We can go where we want to. A place where they will never find."  It may seem like an unlikely place for Canadian band Men Without Hats to film their Safety Dance video, but thanks to some internet research and a very informative blog, we paid a visit to this special place.

S...H...E...E...P...Y  Sheepy Dance.

  West Kington is a small village that is located north of Bath and east of Bristol.  We were traveling along the M4 highway and had a plan mapped out before we left.  We made a few wrong turns but eventually reached our first sheep filled destination.

Cause your sheep don't dance and if they don't dance, well they're no sheep of mine.

  Ebbdown Farm is in the background of the opening scenes of the video.  We don't recall seeing any sheep in the video, but when we visited they were everywhere.  If we walked close to a fence we would hear some baa-ing as they ran away on the other side.  The farm is located just a short drive from West Kington.

Sheep Without Hats.

  We drove our car up to a cattle guard at the gate of the farm.  Cattle guards also work at preventing sheep from crossing them as they have similar feet. Anyway, enough about the sheep let's get back to the video locations. 

We can dance.

  The video starts off with lead singer Ivan running through a field with a little court jester.  They go past this wall and then run down to the road that leads to the farm.

We can act like we come from out of this world.

  It is here that they are joined by a dancing girl and come to a crossroads.  You can't see the other road as it is hidden behind the hill and tree, but they choose the one on the left.  The action then moves to West Kington.

Watersweet Post Box.

   The jester and girl dance along beside Ivan as he walks past some houses.  The home above still had the same red post box in front of it.

It's The Safety Dance.
Everybody look at your hands.

  Next we come across the gate where they do The Safety Dance.  The utility pole in the background helped us know that this was the place.  To do The Safety Dance you use both of your arms.  Your left arm goes right over your head and your right arm goes left across your waist in a jerky motion.  Now look at your hands.  If you are doing it right it will appear like you just formed an S.

We can leave your friends behind.  Or maybe they should come party with us.

  A crowd of people dressed in costumes head across the little bridge and march down the street.  They were all dressed real neat from their hats to their feet.  They would be heading towards the photographer in the photo above.

Everything's out of control.

  They all seem to be going to a May Day festival which takes place in the courtyard of this building.  There are people dressed as barnyard animals (but not sheep), there is a Punch & Judy puppet show and lots of dancing.  We can dance!

They're doing it from pole to pole.

  A group of people are dancing around a May pole as Ivan continues to sing.  The party continues for the rest of the video.  The Safety Dance came out in 1983 and was one of the more memorable videos and songs from the 80's.  Thirty years ago we were wondering what those strange people in the video were doing.  Today we know first hand exactly where they did it, but we still have no idea what The Safety Dance really is.  Oh well! They can dance if they want to.

And we can dance. It's the Safety Dance.

Map of Our World
Ebbdown Farm , West Kington

Post # 177

Monday 15 May 2017

The Blue Door (Notting Hill)

The Famous Blue Door.

Location: London, England
Address: 280 Westbourne Park Rd.
Date: September 2015
Website: www.visitlondon.com

  There is a famous film location which can be found on Westbourne Park Road in London, England.  It is located in the Notting Hill area and is from a film of the same name.  In Notting Hill, William (Hugh Grant) is a bookstore owner who lives in a flat with a blue painted door.  He lives there with his roommate Spike (Rhys Ifrans).  In the movie the door and pillars in the photo above are all painted blue.  At least when we arrived to check out this location the door was still blue.
  In the film, William meets movie star Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) in his bookstore and they start a relationship.  Things don't work out until suddenly one day Anna is there at the blue door.  She is looking for a place to hide out since some nude photos of her have surfaced in the press.  Will agrees to let her stay and they spend the night together.  The next morning the press has figured out where Anna is hiding and when Will goes to open the front door he is met with the flash of many cameras.  Anna comes to the door and is horrified to realize they know she is there.  Despite receiving a warning from William, Spike also ventures out in his underwear.  He loves all the attention and strikes a few poses before returning inside very pleased with himself.
  We played the part of the paparazzi and snapped a few photos ourselves in order to remember these movie moments.

Map of Our World
The Blue Door

Post # 176

Wednesday 10 May 2017

The Ritz London

Puttin' On The Ritz.

Location: London, England
Address: 150 Piccadily Street
Date: August 2015
Website: www.theritzlondon.com

  The Ritz Hotel in London, England is a high end hotel which opened in 1906.  The term, "Puttin' on the Ritz" was inspired by the hotel and refers to surrounding yourself with luxury.  While it wasn't quite in our budget to stay or dine at The Ritz, we did walk past it on our way to dine elsewhere.

  We enjoyed a nice dinner at Rextail which was only a short walk away. 

Piccadilly Street.

  The Ritz Hotel is located on Piccadilly Street which is home to an interesting variety of architecture.  The building above is one of the Ritz's across the street neighbours.

I'm with Horse & Hound magazine.

  The hotel has hosted members of high society along with actors and actresses who would come to indulge and socialize.  In the movie Notting Hill, Julia Roberts plays a popular Hollywood actress named Anna.  She meets William (Hugh Grant) in the bookstore that he owns.  She invites him to come and visit her at her Ritz Hotel suite.  To William's surprise he is there along with a group of reporters ready to interview Anna about her latest sci-fi film.  After pretending to be a reporter from Horse & Hound magazine, William and Anna finally go out and spend a nice evening together.  

The Ritz corridor.

  They go out for dinner again and then return to The Ritz.  As they walk along the corridor above, Anna invites Will up to her room.  Unfortunately, her American boyfriend is there and Will leaves the hotel confused and sad.

If you're blue and you don't know where to go to.  Why don't you go where fashion sits.?

Map of Our World
The Ritz Hotel

Post # 175

Friday 5 May 2017

The Tip of Point Pelee

Welcome To The Tip Of Canada.

Location: Leamington, Ontario, Canada
Address: 1118 Point Pelee Drive
Date: April 2017
Website: www.pc.gc.ca

  As Canada celebrates it's 150th year, admission to national parks is free with a Discovery Pass.  We decided that this was a good time for us to visit Point Pelee National Park.  It is a long, thin peninsula that reaches down into Lake Erie.  The tip of Point Pelee is the lowest point of mainland Canada. 

Five-Lined Skink on Tram.
Tip La Pointe.

  We were welcomed at the main gate of the park and headed south until we arrived at the Visitor Centre.  From the Visitor Centre we took a tram (above) which then transported us the next 2.5 km to the tip.

Having Fun...nel at Point Pelee.

  The first thing we encountered was an open air building with information about Point Pelee.  It explained that the peninsula is a migration funnel.  It literaly has a funnel shape and points from north to south into Lake Erie.  As a result it is the first piece of land that many migrating birds encounter after returning from their winter holiday.

Barn Swallow.

  It was only April, but the birds were already everywhere.  May marks the Festival of Birds and is when the majority of song birds arrive back in the park.  Inside the tip information building a few barn swallows had made their nests already and were flying back and forth over our heads.  Barn swallows like to build their nests in the top corners of buildings that have access so they can fly in and out.  The swallows in the information building arrived on the tip and made the first place they found their home.

South of the 42nd.

  We walked a little further and a big 42 appeared.  This sign was letting us know that we were just south of the 42nd parallel north.  Where we stood now we were on the same circle of lattitude as Rome, Italy or Barcelona, Spain.

East Beach of Point Pelee.

  We headed further south and took a pathway which led us to a beach.  We walked along this beach on the east side of the national park.

A Trip To The Tip.

  Finally we arrived at a pile of uprooted trees and rocks.  This was the tip. 

  There were a few birds floating just off the shore and swallows took turns swooping up and down near the water's edge.  We took a closer look and realized that we were surrounded by many species of birds.

Tree Swallows.

  There were the tree swallows eating bugs from just above the lake's surface.

Horned Grebe.

There was a horned grebe.  Grebe have unusual feet because they have three lobed toes instead of the usual webbed feet of most other sea birds.

Bonaparte's Gull.

There was a Bonaparte's gull.

Red-Breasted Merganser Couple.

There was a Red-Breasted Merganser couple.


Lastly, there was this brown swallow who we have determined is either a juvenile swallow that does not have its colour yet or a northern rough-winged swallow.  Our best guess is northern rough-winged swallow.

Dutchman's Breeches.

After spending some time enjoying the birds and the view at the tip we took a different pathway back through a wooded area.  Along the way we noticed these unusual little white flowers.  They are called dutchman's breeches.  We guess this is because they look like little pairs of pants hung out to dry.

The Tip Line.

  As we reached the building where we waited for the tram we noticed a pay phone.  It stated that "You are at the tip".  We felt like calling someone and giving them this advice.  Here's a tip.  Why not make a point of visiting one of Canada's National Parks this year to celebrate Canada 150.

Map of Our World
Point Pelee (The Tip Exhibit)
Point Pelee (The Tip)

Post # 174