Saturday, June 9, 2012

a six hour adventure - I should have worn thicker socks

I covered most eventualities for my walk round some of London’s gardens today (private gardens that open just once a year) but despite the sensible shoes my feet are sore – I think thicker socks would have helped.

It would also have been a good idea to check which gardens were open today and which tomorrow ....

Nonetheless, I had a lovely afternoon!

My adventure began as I left the Underground station at Gloucester Road. I loved the architecture there. I walked towards Earl’s Court via Hereford Square (which wasn’t open) and Bina Gardens East (which was). A delightful small hidden garden between apartment blocks. The planting was lovely with surprising twists and turns along the pathways. And these roses smelled like roses should – that old ‘Attar of Roses’ scent, something like Turkish Delight. From here I walked towards Earl’s Court, the sun came out for what seems like the first time for ages and I was glad of the small bottle of water I had brought with me. Lovely old buildings along the way, often with their own lovely and well tended gardens to see.

I visited Earl’s Court Square itself and paused for a picnic of pork pie and bread pudding. Then on to the garden of K + K Hotel George – what a gem, a smallish space but so imaginatively used, and (as one fellow visitor remarked) they haven’t mucked it about too much, left it simple. From here to Nevern Square. This was a more formal space, with an interesting history and a nice place to sit in the sun for a while.

I caught the tube to Knightsbridge then. The bit of the Piccadilly line between South Kensington and Knightsbridge feels a bit like a funfair ride! It never ceases to amaze me how many people in London are pulling wheelie cases along. I suppose it’s the same in every city.

I walked the length of Sloane Street – very full of beautiful people it was as well. They are almost like floral creations themselves, fragrant and rosy cheeked, flushed with successful shopping in gorgeous looking shops.

In Cadogan Square I found myself in a garden party with children dancing to a 1950s style band. The 1950s is all the rage at the moment isn’t it? I treated myself to a Pimms and a sit on the lawn to listen to the band. This was one of my three favourite gardens of the day I think. The planting was just gorgeous with some formal open space and some hidden spots as well. I like the way you can strike up conversations as well, like the two ladies who, like me found it hard to find the entrance (errm London Garden organisers: some arrows on your signs would be good next year please).

I was hoping to make it as far as the Chelsea Physic Garden but my watch told me that wasn’t likely so that’s one for another time. Instead I headed to the Victoria and Albert Museum’s courtyard garden (and their wonderful loos – try them if you haven’t ever) and then the finale which I think really stole my heart: the wildlife garden at the Natural History Museum – complete with live bats in a special place for viewing. I love bats. They also had the best value cuppa and slice of carrot cake in London – at £1.50 how could I resist?

I walked back to South Kensington station and thence to Victoria and home. Tired but happy. What a great city – who could ever say London is grey!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

at the seaside

It was actually much sunnier than it looks in the photo! Popped down to Whitstable yesterday and browsed the antique and bric-a-brac shops and stalls. As usual, I wound up on the board-walk, one of my favourite places. I had scampi and chips and a coffee whilst reading a book sitting at the place I pretty well always go to when in town: it's just a beach kiosk really but the people serving there are unfailingly cheerful and very efficient. Plus the food is good and cheap!

Whitstable was done up in red, white and blue for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee weekend and there was a definite festive air laced through with a smashing community feel.

Thanks for a lovely afternoon Whitstable!

PS If anyone can remind me of the name of this seaside plant I'll be grateful.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


oooh ages since I've posted. In reflective mood today. Here's an old holiday snap from Croatia which must have been about 5 years ago.

sorry I can't remember the origin of the quotes