Many people retreat into their houses and sit Winter days out by watching Television and/or films indoors. I’m really not one of those people. As yet, I haven’t given in once on cycling to work because of poor weather, I get my water proofs out instead. The weekends are no different. I am lucky to have friends who share the same sentiment as me in so much that a weekend spent indoors is a weekend wasted. My most recent excursions have involved The Southbank and Kensington Gardens.
The main reason for going down to Southbank was to see the Take A View exhibition. Talk about stunning photography. Some of the images on display were simply staggering. I was a little dubious as to whether or not I would be allowed to photograph my favourite images so I erred on the side of caution and didn’t. One of the images that made me simple the most was a shot of a dog mid shake/jump/gallop (it was sort of impossible to tell) in the middle of a wood. It just captured the sheer joy of autumn. The dog in the picture looked how autumn makes me feel, ludicrously happy and utterly over excited about the prospect of HUGE piles of leaves!
I’ll add to it the photography discussion by showing you my own from the day. The first was taken as we walked from Waterloo station to Southbank. We passed the bridge and I couldn’t believe I never noticed just how good the eye and Big Ben look together. It was pretty difficult to get a shot where the sun didn’t completely obliterate the image so I had to settle for only a little obliterated.
We wandered around the exhibition until stomachs were rumbling. I opted for a healthy falafel and hummus pitta bread then walked past this and was utterly disappointed.
Who doesn’t want fish and chips out of a Routemaster?! I know my pitta bread seemed utterly pointless once I’d seen this. I ate it with almost contempt really. I won’t make the same mistake again. What I will say about Southbank is, it’s brilliant and there is always some kind of exhibition or event going on down there but, the cold air coming off the Thames in Winter is TRULY bone chilling. Wrap up warm. Here’s a quick snap of the walkway facing onto the Thames.
So next was a little trip across the City to Kensington Gardens. The first thing that made me like Kensington gardens was the man playing bagpipes with his bicycle propped against a tree. He wasn’t busking, he wasn’t even near a pathway, he’d just gone to play a few tunes in the park and have a practise. I salute you sir!
The second thing I liked about Kensington Gardens was the dog walkers. I am a big dog lover and there were so many different breeds to admire, I was a pretty happy girl. My favourite was probably a Westie who’s legs and tummy were filthy. Sure, he was having fun now but the bath at home wouldn’t be so gladly received I am sure.
The third thing I liked about Kensington Gardens was just how beautiful it is. There’s a lot of little buildings you can admire and also plenty of gnarled trees to investigate. The water fountains were gorgeous to look at but the combination of water and birds makes them popular with parents and their children so don’t expect to go and be able to just sit and enjoy them. There will be a child screaming somewhere and chasing some species of bird around (I know I’m a big grinch of the ‘seen and not heard’ school). There’s also a well deserved statue of Edward Jenner. He’s the clever chap who pioneered what we now call ‘Immunology’. We have a lot to thank the man for. Anyway, I took and overall snap of the fountains. You can just about see the Jenner statue on the left hand side.
One end of Kensington Gardens houses the Albert Memorial. For those of you who aren’t from round these parts, the Albert monument faces onto the Royal Albert Hall. It makes for a fairly imposing spectacle really. First this beautifully maintained piece of architecture and then the equally impressive domed building. You approach the monument from behind and this view, for me, actually provides the best overall ‘WoW’ factor. Here’s how I captured it.
The attention to detail is absolutely mind blowing. It is absolutely worth a trip to see. And of course you get the Royal Albert Hall the other side.
We were trying to read the wording that runs around the top of the building but it proves notoriously difficult when, in your 20’s, you appear to be blind as a bat and can’t make it out. The Royal Albert Hall, and the shows that go on within it, are a spectacles to behold. I cannot recommend highly enough the experience of seeing the monument and hall appear as they do when you approach them from Kensington Gardens. It is a lovely way to spend an afternoon.
If after that you feel so inclined, you can then get on an old London Routemaster bus and take a little trip! I could not believe my eyes when I saw route 9 still being serviced by the historic wonders. I found myself seeing if I could get home from anywhere that route 9 runs. As it happens, it goes to Green Park (Buckingham Palace’s Royal Park) which means I could hop on gleefully. The only other time I have seen a Routemaster in London was WAY back in September last year when I took this hasty photo.
I didn’t take another photo today but, as you sit winging your way round London listening to the engine, you see more than one person whipping their phone/camera out to get a snap of the bus. The conductor was having a great time, waving and posing for the photos when and where he could. At one stop he hung off the pole at the back and smiled (like only a man who truly loves his job can) for a group of tourists. He made my day.