Monday 24 May
Thanks for your comments Lynne & Owen. Lovely to hear from you. Karen wasn't aware that you are a Location Location fan. It is one of her favourites as well.
We have been having lunch and dinner on the patio regularly. At lunchtime on Saturday several high-flying planes were making vapour trails that criss-crossed in the sky above us. It reminded me of what people saw overhead during the Battle of Britain. Evidence of the Blitz is still to be seen. Some big buildings and monuments in the city centre appear to have been deliberately left with pockmarked marble or stonework where shrapnel has blasted bits off them. Then, in a number of suburban streets (including ours) there is a gap in the terraced housing filled with 1950s vintage brick buildings of a different design, quite possibly where a bomb levelled 3 or 4 terraced housing units. A further reminder was a large photograph in one of the underground tube stations of people camping on the platform along with whatever they needed to spend the night there.
After dinner on Saturday we went for a 10 minute walk along our road to a large public park
A Queen's Park Alien
This photo is not on is side. They come down trees in a similar way to how they go up.
which the people living in this area are lucky to have. First used as the site of an exhibition in the mid 19th C, its 30 acres were gifted as a park, and Queen Victoria allowed it to be called Queen's Park after her. It has a large grassed oval, the size of a large cricket ground, gardens (including a Quiet Garden with manicured lawns, flower beds, topiary etc), a woodland walk (and numerous other trees around its perimeter), a large barked playground, sand pit, and paddling pool for children, a pitch and putt golf course, tennis courts, pet centre, and public loos. Hundreds of people were having picnic dinners on the oval and playing various games, not surprising considering the size of their back yards, or complete lack of them. And yes, amongst other signs in the woodland, there was one warning us about American grey squirrels. We saw 13 in all, and, by coincidence, just happened to have a few monkey nuts in our pockets which, also by coincidence, happened to fall out in their vicinity. The little fellows immediately changed from being cautious of us to running over to greet us in a most friendly way. Like
We Are Here
Home, in NW London. The 11 Tube lines, Overground, and DLR are very regular and very easy to use.
our ducks, they know that the safest place to be during duck-hunting season is in a public park.
Yesterday morning we set off fairly early for a morning at The Regent's Park (more commonly known simple as Regent's Park). Being a Sunday, many portions of the tube system are closed for maintenance and we had to catch a replacement bus to the next station before continuing by tube. Popping back to ground level at Regent's Park station, we were but a 2 minute walk from the Park. Regent's Park is one of the Royal Parks of London, along with Hyde Park, St James's Park, Green Park, Kensington Gardens, and others. It was first set aside as a hunting ground by King Henry VIII. Then, in 1811 The Prince Regent (later King George IV) commissioned architect John Nash to create a masterpiece for the area, and the Park opened to the public in 1845. Queen Mary's Gardens were added in the 1930s. Like Hagley Park, Regent's Park has a multitude of uses for its 410 acres (166 hectares). It has 100 acres of sports fields (the largest grassed area for sports in Central London), formal Italian and informal English gardens,
Queen Mary's Gardens (which are like botanical gardens), an open air theatre, boating on a large lake, cafes and restaurants, golf and tennis schools, and incorporates London Zoo. In the photo of the layout, the formal gardens are at the lower right, Queen Mary's gardens at the lower centre, the boating lake at the lower left, the sports fields in the centre, and the zoo top centre. We hoped that there would still be Spring flowers out, but it was more between Spring and Summer, with only a few Spring flowers remaining, the roses yet to bloom, and Summer annuals still to be planted out in the formal gardens. We still enjoyed a liesurely walk around in warm weather, pleased to have plenty of seating in the shade. One little gem we found was a large quiet garden in the grounds of St John's Lodge; a very peaceful setting for people to read or contemplate.
We got on the tube again at the Baker St station, very near Sherlock Holme's fictional house which is now a museum for his works. We went to Sainsbury's before returning home at about 1 pm. I haven't mentioned that our Sainsbury's is more
than a grocery supermarket. It has a large section for other goods (clothes, toys and games, homeware, electrical goods etc,) and also has a full pharmacy and dispensery. D&T arrived home from the wedding soon after, having had a good time. While David still had their hire car for the afternoon, he, K, and I went to Homebase (much like a Placemakers) which stocks hardware, paint, building products, garden products, etc. We loaded up the little car with several bags of soil and compost, trellis, rolls of lawn edging, weed mat, plants, and other things, for a back yard project that they plan. There was barely enough room left in the car for the three of us, but we made it, hanging half out of the windows!
The afternoon was very hot, up around 30 C, and we were glad to retreat to the cool of the house. D and I both had a quick nap (like father, like son) which perked us up enough to take advantage of our first opportnunity for a few card games last night with K. For Tracey however, it was back to work. Nearing the end of a very intense 1 year graduate
primary school teachers' course, she is like Cinderella; up at 6 every day to start work, and never getting to bed before midnight.
This morning dawned fine and very warm again. A high of 29 C is forecast. And this is only Spring. Summer doesn't start here until mid July! I guess we couldn't now be better acclimatized for Greece! It is certainly a boon being able to get 2 or 3 loads of washing done today. Karen has spent most of the morning potting up plants for Tracey, while I was allowed to go solo on a trip to Sainsbury's. I managed OK. Then, at 11.50 am, I completed our check in on-line and printed out our boarding passes. Getting through Heathrow should now be a breeze in the morning. Did you hear that the volcano in Iceland has stopped? We can now feel 90% confident that we will be in Athens at 5.35 pm tomorrow, Athens time, (3.35 pm London time, 2.25 am Wed NZ time). Time to go and pack.
During the next 4 weeks our reports may be shorter, more irregular in frequency, and with fewer photos. But you will hear from us as
in Queen Mary's Gardens.
often as time and internet access permits.
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