September 25-29: Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
After we bid a fond farewell to Russell, (if you want details of his Ghostly Tour of Britain, be sure to check his blog, NYCity Stories…I’m sure all the spectral details will be there in a few days- once he’s recovered from Jet Lag.) Bobbi and I started settling into the day-to-day life.
While we are still waiting for British Telecom to wire up our flat, we are still using the pay phone and the wireless internet access at the Kensington as our main portals to the outside world.
Londoners do not carry their umbrellas as an affectation. It rains a lot here, and when it’s not raining, it’s often gray and overcast. Blue sky’s seem to be something of a rarity. But, it is
One thing that I find very remarkable is the amount of tropical vegetation you see growing around the city. Many houses have palmettos, or large tropical succulents growing in large pots outside (too large to bring in). These types of plants are also in abundance in the public parks and gardens that I’ve walked through. When you think that
Bobbi had to return to the States for a conference this weekend, and so I’ve had a lot of time on my hands to explore
My first park visit was to
The palace was built for William and Mary, when the Royal couple were invited to come from
Kensington flows into
(It was interesting to see a regular model goose- I hadn’t gotten a close look at one in a long time, being rather more used to seeing the Canadian version. He is much more stocky and substantial looking then his lithe Canadian Cousin. I bet Bobbi is going to have problems when it comes time to roast him for Christmas dinner.)
The other thing that blew me away was the bins for dog waste! I have no idea of these are modern or of Victorian origin, but the British didn’t, and don’t, do things by half measures. (The brass rounds in the sidewalk marking the Diana memorial walk look as if THEY could have been there since 1899). These repositories are built of giant slabs of cast iron, riveted together, and painted a deep forest green. Only the British would build a dog-poo receptacle designed to last for millennia.
As the reader may have guessed by now, I’m somewhat apathetic about Diana. I’ve never been able to quite understand why she holds such great sway over the imagination of so many, both here in England, and at home in America. But I have to admit that the memorial fountain to her is a very interesting piece of work. Build on the side of a small hill, the fountain is a flume in the shape of a ring. Water cascades from the top, where it flows down hill in both directions, passing over artificial steps and rapids, until it reaches the bottom, where it is pumped back to the top.
Bobbi will be sorry she missed this walk, but it will be quite easy to return to Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park again and again, as there are literally miles and miles of different paths to take through, and across the parkland. And it’s almost completely possible to forget that you are in the heart of one of the most important cities in the world.