Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Rome at Virginia Water.

On Monday we went to Virginia Water for a walk, a bittersweet experience.

It's an ornamental lake, dammed for the king in the 1750's. I used to go there and walk the five miles around the lake without thinking about it.

I can't begin to do that these days, so it's quite sad.

We did have a look at 'The Cascade', the artificial waterfall that hides the dam. It was meant to create a romantic atmosphere.....I think it does that quite well;

We took some pictures and some selfies but I didn't realise how bad I look these days until I saw the pictures.

At least one of us looked good;

Then I took Robyn to look at the Roman ruins - warning her that they were fenced off and very neglected.

How wrong I was - they've been restored and the fences altered to allow people in to walk among the stones;

The small stone on the ground is a Roman Altar for sacrifices - we saw some at Bath in 2014.

Of course it's a scandal that these ruins are here - they were removed from Leptis Magna in what is now Libya by the then British Consol as a gift for the king.

It's stolen property;

But as I always wanted to go to Rome and walk amongst the stones of The Forum and wander around The Coleseum......

This is about the best I can manage these days;
And they are very impressive. They were erected to create the sense of an abandoned romantic ruin and, again, it works.

There's no attempt to recreate anything from history it's all about painting a pretty picture. It's a giant rockery built for a king.

How often did he bother to visit it?

I can't say that it's anything other than theft and cultural imperialism. If someone did it today they would be hunted down and the relics returned to where they came from.

They are also suffering in our climate although the restoration has helped things quite a lot.

Some of the stones are just scattered - for effect;

Down at the lake, there are odd stones casually used as part of the jetty that are actually quite important;

I should add that these days the car park is expensive but you can park for free on the street outside!

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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