Published: July 23rd 2011July 23rd 2011
The day dawned bright and sunny. I hadn’t planned anything in particular so decided to take a ride on the river to Kew Gardens. The boat was a converted 1890’s barge and left from Westminster. Big Ben ringing twelve noon announced our scheduled departure. Since the weather was fine I rode the open top deck and had great views of the passing scene. We road passed the Houses of Parliament and the HQ of MI5 and MI6 and the sight of the new US embassy next to a trash recycling plant. Does anyone else find that strange? The old Embassy has been sold to the Saudis.
Luxury flats and million dollar houseboats have replaced the warehouses and barge docks. Our guide pointed out the “Homes of Rich and Famous” but I am so out of it that the only name I recognized was Michael Caine. Some of the buildings were “traditional boxes” but others were very innovative taking advantage of every river view. My favorite was a huge complex, each building resembling a ship, with views from the front and sides. My least favorite was a small group of buildings with balconies hanging off the side like lifeboats.
bridges across the Thames are each interesting in it’s own way and there are lots of them. As we passed out of London Center, the luxury flats gave way to boating and sailing clubs lining the banks. Further on willows draped down and birds fished. There were gulls, terns, cormorants and even herons. Watched a cormorant try and succeed in swallowing a freshly caught fish.
After a couple of hours we arrived at Kew. The gardens comprise about 300 acres. Most of the conservatories were constructed in the med 1800’s. It is a park like setting and all specimen trees are identified. One thing that struck me was the absence of wildlife. I never saw a squirrel or a chipmunk. Surprisingly the most prolific bird was the ………………. Canada Goose! There were magpies and pigeons but no songbirds. I took the tram and then strolled the grounds. I especially enjoyed the secluded garden, the rock garden and the Dukes garden. Then it was time for tea and a scone before heading back to the boat for the return trip.
The Thames is a tidal estuary and we travel up river on the ebb tide. Coming back we fought
Just plain weird!
the high tide. The tidal bore is about twenty-one feet and it is very swift moving. This results in very brown water, as the silt never has a chance to settle. There are two strange vessels on the river. One is an oxygenator and the other is a debris collector. Both are employed to keep the river healthy.
After a glass of chardonnay at the hotel I walked down the street to a Greek restaurant. I enjoyed lamb prepared three ways; grilled, kabob and minced. Actually my favorite was the minced as the others were too well done for me. Hot flat bread and yoghurt dipping sauce made a tasty, filling meal.
Today’s discovery is that I don’t bake my scones nearly enough. The ones I have had are rock hard on the outside and cakelike on the inside. Mine are sort of crumbly. Actually, I like mine better.
There are more photos below