Tag Archives: park

Isabella Plantation Richmond Park

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An area of the Royal Park of Richmond Park waits to be discovered, a fenced-off garden, full of trees, plants, shrubs, colour, clearings, streams and ponds.

Originally fenced off in the 1700’s to grow trees, this area was transformed in the 1950’s by George Thomson and the head gardener at the time, Wally Miller. They cleared areas of plants to be replaced by rhododendrons and azaleas and other exotic shrubs and trees. Over the years since, streams and ponds have been added, including heathers, camellias and magnolias to name just a few.
So much bird life can be found within Isabella Plantation.
In April and May, Isabella Plantation is so full of colour, and I have tried to capture it on a short video.
I hope you enjoy.

Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 Sparviero Update

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Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 Sparviero

In the past I have written about the Italian Second World War aircraft, the Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 Sparviero, or Sparrow Hawk.

It was my privilege to talk to Gianni Golfera’s Grandfather, who had flown this aircraft during the war, and how he had shot down two British Hurricanes.
It was on one of my trips to research my interests, that I visited Bletchley Park, once home in the Second War World to the Code Breakers that were able to break the secret Enigma Codes of the Germans, plus the home of the world’s first electronic computer, Colossus.
In Bletchley Park’s many displays, there are models of many aircraft that flew and fought in WWII, but one aircraft that was missing was the Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 Sparviero, and as I had found as in my articles on Part of My History is Missing, I wanted other visitors to be aware of more of the WWII history.
Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 Sparviero

Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 Sparviero

So, to honour a great man, I donated my little plastic aircraft to the museum. I hope others will see it and wonder what has been missing from their learnings.

The Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms

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English Afternoon Tea

In my article “I am still learning more on history” I mentioned the Cabinet War Rooms in Central London.

My interest in visiting the Cabinet War Rooms came about by reading R.V. Jones book Most Secret War, because in his writing, Jones reported his various meetings in this secret underground bunker with the Chiefs of Staff and the Prime Minister of Great Britain during WWII, Winston Churchill. I wanted to verify the information he was giving, and experience what had taken place some 70 years previously. His whole writings seemed to imply he was the most important person in the Second World War apart from Churchill.

I was not to be disappointed in what I learnt and saw, although gained no reference or mention when asking guides to R.V. Jones having worked there.

Located near Horse Guards Parade, opposite St Jame’s Park, and under what is now The Treasury Building, it was decided in 1930’s, because of the impending war with Germany and the probability of aerial bombardment, to build a central emergency working space for the War Cabinet and Chiefs of Staff of the military. One week before the outbreak of the Second World War, on 27th August 1939, the secret bunker was opened, and was in continuous until the end of the war in 1945.

At the end of the war in 1945, staff left their desks, control rooms and living quarters and returned to their normal working places, leaving the secret underground bunker as is, to be used as stores. But in the late 1970’s the Imperial War Museum was tasked with preserving this historic site, and to open the site to the public. From 2005 this site was fully open and included the Churchill Museum dedicated to the life and work of this great British Prime Minister.

A new entrance was opened allowing public access to the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms, the old access being in what is now The Treasury Building.

To protect the people working in the bunker, (it is stated that over 500 people worked at any one time in the facilities), extra wooden and steel girder reinforcements were built into the bunker, and a steel and concrete two-metre deep slab lain in the void above the bunker.

Cabinet War Rooms Churchill Museum

Cabinet War Rooms Churchill Museum

Cabinet War Rooms Churchill Museum



Among the many rooms and facilities is a room called the Map Room, it is said to be in the same state as it was left in 1945, with the original maps on the walls. One wall shows the Atlantic Ocean, and was used to chart the progress of the merchant shipping, more often being in convoys, still showing the tiny pin holes marking the ships positions. This room was staffed 24 hours a day by officers of the navy, army and airforce, to keep track of the war.

A link from the Cabinet War Rooms Map Room was back to another famed wartime site I have visited, The Battle of Britain Operations Room, at RAF Uxbridge. (click to see article). It was from this Ops room, that information would be fed to the Cabinet War Rooms. as can be seen by a board giving details of flights during the Battle of Britain.

RAF Uxbridge, The Battle of Britain Control Room

RAF Uxbridge, The Battle of Britain Control Room

Links would also be to other war time facilities, including Bletchley Park. The German encrypted messages made on the Enigma Machine would be decoded in Bletchley Park, which helped the Navy plan and fight the Battle of the Atlantic, against the German naval fleet and submarines.

The museum also contains as stated the Churchill Museum, more on that later.

I spent about four hours in the Cabinet War Rooms, so I was somewhat hungry and thirsty, and had an English Afternoon Tea, in the Switchroom Café. Finger sandwiches, (I eat one before taking this picture), made of cheese and cucumber and smoked salmon, a cup of English Breakfast tea with milk, and a piece of cake just like my mother used to make, with strawberry and cream filling, not like mass made factory cake. Paradise.

English Afternoon Tea

English Afternoon Tea in the Switchroom, Cabinet War Rooms.

I am still learning more on history

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In the past I have had to admit that there is much missing from my knowledge, my history.

I realised how much is missing from my family history, when after getting together recently with my daughter Vanessa in Southampton, and I was relating what knowledge I had to her, how little I really did know. I had heard stories from my father and mother, uncles and aunties, but this information was limited and nothing had been written down, and now knowing what I do know now about human memory systems, there was much missing.

Visiting so many countries, and listening to their understanding of their history, I realise that it differs from my understanding of the same history from a British point of view. My experience of talking to Gianni Golfera’s Grandfather as a WWII Italian Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 Sparviero (SM.79) bomber pilot and his recollections of fighting the British Hurricane fighter planes, gave a different point of view to my reading of British history of that time.

Having an inquiring mind, trying to understand the background of information, and often asking “why“, I sometimes need and search for information, for example, looking at the history of the WWII British fight plane, the Hurricane and its’ connect to Kingston upon Thames where I have a home.

Part of my research has been through reading, thank goodness I know PhotoReading, part of my research through talking to people, and part of research has been through visiting museums and actual sites the history took place.

My recent interest has taken me to Bletchley Park, north of London, home of and historic site of secret British codebreaking activities during WWII and birthplace of the modern computer, Colosus. This led me to reading many books on the history of Bletchley Park, and to a book by R.V. Jones called Most Secret War. Reading this book led me to wanting to find more about the history of the Cabinet War Rooms, Britain’s secret underground shelter for the War Cabinet and Chiefs of Staff, in Central London.

A tour guide at Bletchley Park when informing us of the work initially undertaken by Polish scientists on the secret encoding of the messages by the Germans and the Enigma Machines, was that once a year a special visit was taken by Polish nationals to the park, and that their guides tell a different story than he does.

Now I have found so much more insight into my own and others history, that I have had to completely rewrite some my understanding of my knowledge, also reaffirming my realisation that we are only told by higher authorities and others what they want us to know.

I also realise that I should have asked my relatives who are now no longer with us more about their history and thus Vanessa’s and mine.

Push Me Pull Me

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push me pull me Phillip Holt

I recently went for a walk in the wonderful Richmond Park, which is only a small walk from my home in the UK, Norbiton Hall in Kingston upon Thames.

There are some beautiful sights, sounds and smells as you walk in the countryside so near to the heart of London, and it seems strange that in the distance you can see the City of London, the towering office blocks with people crammed into a small area, yet you are with wild animals, fantastic gardens like the Isabella Plantation, and strange sights.

Here is the Push Me, Pull Me animal. It is an animal that sometimes reflects life.

push me pull me Phillip Holt

The Push Me Pull Me Animal 

I have often had clients who have had a relationship problem, and recently it was a couple who from appearances loved each other a lot, but they could not become one, a couple.

They were both giving the right signals to each other, they helped each other through difficulties, but that is where it stayed.

When I listened to their individual stories, I could begin to understand.

The lady was making signals that said to the man, I am available, come and get me, I want you, contact me, help me, and the man responded. She was pulling him towards her.

When the man responded, there was the feedback, I am not available, I am out tonight, etc, from her. She was pushing him away.

Just like the Push Me Pull Me animal, she did not know which direction to go.

Now I could not tell either of them which direction to go. It would be incorrect for me to do so as a Coach. It is a coach’s duty to get the party or parties to come to their own answers, yes to be a guide, but for them to resolve the issues.

I had a friend John, who was married, and unfortunately there was a medical problem with the wife, which meant she lost her womanhood. The psychological problems that caused her, meant that she had to lay blame for her loss, and in her mind it was the husband, who had no responsibility for what happened.

The wife hated the husband for what had happened to her, and yet she could not let him go, there was a love hate relationship with her. He stood by her until he became ill, he did not know what to do, should he continue in the marriage or divorce for the sake of both their sanities.

She did not know if she loved or hated the husband, he did not know whether to end the relationship or continue. Push Me, Pull Me.

Sometimes it is good just to talk the issues through with a coach or councilor, or to talk honestly with each other, to tell ones feelings thoughts, not to be a Push Me Pull Me, leaving the other partner not knowing what direction the other wants to go.

In NLP there are techniques to coach people through the Push Me Pull Me situation. Perhaps the best one Perceptual Positions. Seeing the situation from others point of view.

If the Push Me Pull Me is not resolved there will be conflict, and that leads to misunderstanding, mistrust and unhappiness.

Firstly, try talking.