Tuesday, January 31, 2023

The Syon Lion

Here's another shot from my walk along the Thames Path on Sunday. I had a good view of Syon House, the home of the Duke of Northumberland, across the river. I'd seen it before from the other side, when I walked the Capital Ring a couple of years ago -- that path runs through Syon Park.

What I'd never noticed is that the house has a proud-looking lion perched on the roof:

From the park side you can't really see it, but it's very apparent from the river.

Here's a super zoomed-in version:

Apparently this lion once stood on the roof of Northumberland House, a Jacobean mansion in The Strand in Westminster, overlooking what is now Trafalgar Square. That building was the city home of the Percy family, the Dukes of Northumberland, and when it was demolished in 1874 the lion -- the family symbol -- was moved here.

Dave and I have sorted out our summer vacation plans. We'd talked about traveling to Europe or the USA, but we don't want to leave Olga alone. (I feel guilty enough leaving her for a week in February to go to Florida!) Now that she's getting older she seems less independent and more vulnerable than she used to. So we decided to stay in England and take her with us. We rented a cottage for a week on the beach in Pevensey Bay, near Eastbourne. It looks like quite a swanky little place with a wall of windows that opens entirely onto the water, and pets are welcome. Woo hoo!

This doesn't preclude either of us from traveling to the states on our own -- we just won't do it at the same time. That way, someone is always here with the dog.

In other news, I've been in touch with the landlords about some of our maintenance issues -- mainly the dampness in the hallway, which I think comes from a seeping leak in our shower pipes -- and they're going to come by on Thursday evening to take a look. As much as I'd love a new shower or refitted bathroom, I'm dreading any decision to do a large renovation. In fact I'm not sure we'd stay put if they decide to do that. It might be time for us to move on to greener pastures! Our lease runs until July and I'd hoped to stay here at least one more year -- to enjoy the garden after our tree-trimming -- but anyway, we'll see what they say.

We've been in this flat for nine years, which is longer than I've lived anywhere except my childhood home. I'd like to make it an even ten!


Andrew said...

Your holiday plan sound very good. Hopefully the weather will be kind. Blogger Gattina used to visit Eastbourne annually until her friend there died. It sounds like a good place. I must check where it is.

The Duke of Northumberland has two massive properties it seems. The lion is rather cool.

There were a couple of years where we could not travel as our last dog reached the final years of his life.

The problem with moving from the down trodden area! you live in, close to your work might be you could be hard pressed to find something similar at a reasonable price.

Moving with Mitchell said...

Your week on the beach with Olga sounds like such a great idea. And no stress of air travel. Syon House is such a quaint little place (Northumberand House was, too.)

In less than a month, we'll have been in our place for 9 years. Also longer than I’ve lived anywhere.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Co-incidentally, the lion on the roof is called Steve.

You must have been at Kew Gardens when you took that picture because I recall taking a photo of Syon House from there myself.

Ten years! Good lord, how much money in total have you given the landlady and her husband? A king's ransom!

crafty cat corner said...

I love that lion and the way his tail is out straight.
I have lived in this maisonnette since 1965 and had several different landlords along the way. Now that I will be on my own I think the kids are going to get me a bungalow nearer to them.
A europe holiday sounds good and Pevensey Bay is lovely, there are quite a few places to visit within reach of there. Just down the road from me.

Bob said...

We're feeling the same way as two of our three pets are getting on in age. I'd hate to be away and have something happen.
Your beach cottage sounds like a great plan.

Ms. Moon said...

Oh, I think that Olga will love staying near the beach! What an excellent vacation idea. You won't be beating yourself up with travel arrangements and different accommodations and worry about your girl.
I do love that lion. I think it would look great in my yard.
Have you started "casually" looking at new places to live?

Janie Junebug said...

It's lovely that Olga can go on vacation with you and that you care about her well being. I wish I had a lion on my roof, or at least a dog. Does the duke live in that massive house, or is it open to the public?


The Bug said...

Your vacation plans sound LOVELY. I'm jealous. And I'm a little distracted by that lion's tail - I mean it's amazing that it's still intact after all these years!

Ed said...

What I would give for a concrete lion like that on my home. But then, it would probably increase traffic on our dead end street by a hundred fold so perhaps not.

Sharon said...

I like your vacation plans. That should be very relaxing for all of you. I love the lion. I'm not sure I would have spotted it. It blends in so well with the sky of the same color.

NewRobin13 said...

It is so thoughtful and kind of you and Dave to make your vacation plans to include Olga who needs your loving attention.
The longest I've ever lived in one house is ten years in the suburbs of New Jersey 1960-1970. We're approaching 8 years here in our house in Arcata this year. I'm already thinking about looking for a smaller house.
I love that lion.

John Going Gently said...

Wasnt the bake off filmed there

Ellen D. said...

Have you already been checking out areas to live while out on your walks? Is it easy to find a nice place with a garden which I am sure you would want? That does seem to be the best thing about your current home. Good luck flat hunting!

Red said...

It's a very drab part of the winter with everything brown. You need some snow to brighten things up. Good on you for making sure that Olga is well looked after.

Beth Reed said...

Hi Steve,
I have enjoyed catching up with your blog and just love your adventures. It's nice that you get out and walk around and see so many different and interesting sites.
I miss walking and taking in the sights and sounds of the unbeaten paths. One never knows what they will see. At least Olga seemed content in the photos of her and the badger.

I am glad that your taking her on vacation with her. She will enjoy the get a way to a degree I am sure. New scents to explore lol.

Have a great day and I hope that you and Dave can stay at least one more year where you are at. It is always sad to have to say goodbye to a place that holds so many special memories. TTYL

Allison said...

Are there showers at your school? When we had our one and only bathroom remodeled in Seattle, we showered at work. It was sort of a pain, but doable.

Margaret said...

I love that lion! Moving is such a grueling endeavor and you never know how it will turn out. I would try to stay another year unless it's going to be renovation hell in your place.

James and Brigitta said...

Had to look up Pevensey (Bay), besides a beautiful stretch of beach, it's the start point of the 1066 Country Walk, a 50 mile footpath covering many historical sites in the area. Sounds like you found the perfect spot to vacation!

Catalyst said...

We lived in one house in Phoenix for over ten years, I think. Our landlords lived next door and in all that time they never raised the rent. Unbelievable then and even more unbelievable today.

Kelly said...

That lion is impressive! I'm surprised the tail wasn't broken off at some point in time.

The summer plan sound good - for all of you! Sweet Olga.

River said...

A wall of windows opening onto the water! Sounds fabulous.
Your lease runs until July which gives you five months to look around and see if anything else can be found.
I like the lion on the building.

Steve Reed said...

Andrew: I doubt we could find something with such a large garden, which is what has kept us here all this time.

Mitchell: I do feel a bit antsy about being in one place for so long! But on the other hand it's nice to feel settled.

YP: But we've purchased a sense of freedom and lack of responsibility for property, which is no small thing. We don't need insurance. We don't need to make roof repairs or worry about the foundation or re-pointing the bricks or rebuilding the front steps. We've spent a lot but we've gained something for all that.

Briony: That will be a big change after living in one place for so long! But maybe a change will be welcome.

Bob: Yeah, I'm worried about leaving her over February break, even though it's just for a week!

Ms Moon: Yeah, the idea of going somewhere on vacation and then staying put, rather than moving around, is very appealing! We have casually looked at some other flats online but not IRL.

Janie: I'm not sure! I think parts of it might be open to the public but it is still the family home.

Bug: I know! And it's so long. Surely no real lion has a tail like that!

Ed: Ha! The neighbors might complain. :)

Sharon: It's always so hard to photograph things against that white/gray sky at this time of year.

Robin: My mom lived in our family home for almost 50 years! It's mind-boggling.

John: Was it?! I thought that was somewhere in Essex.

Ellen D: Well, everyone daydreams as they walk through new areas, don't they? I always imagine what it would be like to live there, no matter where I am.

Red: Yeah, we are in the depths of winter dreariness, especially on cloudy days.

Beth: We may stay longer than that! Who knows?!

Allison: Yeah, we have showers at school and I guess that's an option. Not one I would relish!

Margaret: Yeah, we'll see what the landlords decide.

James and Brigitta: Yeah, there are great walks in that area and really all over the south of England. Hopefully I'll get some walking in!

Catalyst: If a landlord likes you they have an incentive to want to keep you! Our landlords raised the rent just once, which in London is pretty remarkable.

Kelly: I know -- that tail looks so vulnerable. Maybe it's stronger than it looks!

River: Yeah, or more likely we'll just think about it and then renew for one more year. I don't think we'll move unless the landlords are going to tear the place apart.

Jeanie said...

Makes some sense, hanging closer to home. Our trip to Europe in 2012 was scheduled long before we knew Gypsy would be at end of life period. Our wonderful house sitter kept him going till we returned but only two weeks later he was gone. I don't regret the trip to Europe but so wish we'd had more time with him. Olga still is fit but she needs her people.

Syon House looks quite beautiful but boy, I'd hate to be having that lion fall on my head. Very Agatha Christie...