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We saw a fox on Great Ormond St (and other sights up and down the Thames)

We saw a fox on Great Ormond St (and other sights up and down the Thames)

Old Mar 25th, 2014, 08:26 PM
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>>I never quite get up the nerve to try for a GTG.
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Old Mar 26th, 2014, 10:43 AM
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lol, jj. I have used that line more than once when trying to explain the wonders of Fodors GTGs.
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Old Mar 26th, 2014, 12:06 PM
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>>Few axe murderers have shown up.
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Old Mar 26th, 2014, 03:06 PM
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Not that I would object to a well-behaved ax murderer; if two or more came they could compare notes.

Indecisiveness led to a midcourse correction one day when H was in class. I walked from the Princess to the Russell Sq bus stop, thinking I'd head to my London Kilometre Zero -- Trafalgar Square -- and decide there what I wanted to do. I had a lovely day all to myself, perfect for taking the Thames Clipper to North Greenwich. The next bus took me to Aldwych, so I alighted and walked through Middle Temple and down to Blackfriar's Pier, did a watercolor pencil sketch of Waterloo Bridge while I waited.

There doesn't seem to be a way to use your Oyster at the machine there. I bought my return ticket on board, settled in and enjoyed the view clipping along. Old warehouses, immortal stone architecture, shiny skyscrapers.

Greenwich is beautiful from the river, majestic, thrilling. The O2, quite a bit less so. The Thames Path beckoned downstream, and I walked until I could get a pretty good view of the Barrier, which was in non-barrier mode. I never did see significant flooding this trip.

On the way back I snagged the front row north window seat. A darling older woman from Edinburgh ended up sitting next to me, exclaiming with her artist's eye about the sights. We agreed that the new architecture, like the Shard, somehow blends well with the old.
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Old Mar 26th, 2014, 07:11 PM
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That's as far downriver as I've been. Another, drizzly, day H and I took the Clipper back to Greenwich and were again suitably impressed by the noble buildings rising up the green hills. This time no one walked through the aisles asking for and selling tickets, so when we disembarked the official at the end of the gangway seemed to see us as farejumpers. Maybe sensing the larceny behind our eyes. He escorted us to the ticket booth and made sure we paid up.

The museums were uncrowded, and fun to wander through. We liked the painted hall, and our very favorite was the National Maritime Museum. (aided by our pot of tea in their little cafe.) I'm the Jack Aubrey fan in the family, but H also enjoyed the new Lord Nelson floor.
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Old Mar 26th, 2014, 11:45 PM
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stoke - it's a long time since I've been to Greenwich but I do remember enjoying the National maritime Museum. [you know we've got one in Falmouth, don't you?]

I do so love seeing London [and England] through your eyes, but I have to disagree about the Shard and other new skyscrapers - on my recent flying visit to London I was surprised by how they dominate the skyline, and i can't say I liked it at all.
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Old Mar 27th, 2014, 02:24 PM
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You are kind, Ann, as always.

My favorite new ones are the Shard and the Cheesegrater. I'd probably like the Pinnacle, too. (common theme: getting skinnier as they go up.) I'm less taken with the Gherkin or the Walkie Talkie, both of which would be more fun from the inside looking out, a place I'll never be.

Moving upstream: One Friday night H had salsa dance class, so I wandered around by the National Theatre, decided there was nothing there for me to see. I'd never been in the British Film Institute, but it turns out to be a perfect place for solitary amusement. Best postcard collection ever at their shop. I wish I'd known I only had 30 minutes at the Mediatique, so I could have chosen more carefully, but I enjoyed bits of the Being British category: footage of Queen Victoria's funeral procession including her grandson the Kaiser; Withnail & I; the Frost Report on Class. "When the rock falls on the egg, alas for the egg. When the egg falls on the rock, alas for the egg."

Afterwards, a stroll down the south bank, over Blackfriar's Bridge, a peek into the promising-looking Blackfriar Pub, up Ludgate Hill, and up Farringdon Rd to King's Cross through a different kind of neighborhood. Sam was at the desk to greet me home, the good old Princess. Well, I know my place.
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Old Mar 27th, 2014, 03:17 PM
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but I have to disagree about the Shard and other new skyscrapers - on my recent flying visit to London I was surprised by how they dominate the skyline, and i can't say I liked it at all.>>

stoke, it struck me after I'd posted the above that late C17 londoners probably said the same thing about the dome of the then newly rebuilt St. Paul's. I'm glad that you like them, anyway.
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Old Mar 27th, 2014, 05:12 PM
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Ann, if you'd been sitting with that sweet whitehaired Edinburgh woman and seen her delight at recognizing the Shard and all, you'd have liked them too for her sake.

Further upstream:
I probably wouldn't have gone to Kew Gardens that Sunday, since we have a fine botanical garden in our city, but H was ready to get away from city congestion and had been wanting to visit there. We enjoyed walking through the street market set up near the train station, but pushed on, followed our noses downhill, speculated on whether Kew would be our ideal home base. (Other candidates so far, equally unlikely: Primrose Hill, Hampstead.)

In through the Victoria Gate. Daffodils everywhere. That hill with the folly on the right as you enter , covered with spring flowers. The Princess of Wales Conservatory, and columns of orchids. Immense mushrooms woven of reeds, or maybe willows? Thinking how nice to have the river view from the palace's upper windows. Lots of families with children in their Sunday wellies. We loved the weathered stone griffins, unicorns, lions along the Palm House. A peek into the Orangery. The day had started out fine, started to cloud up and get windy not long after we'd arrived. We made a swing around much of the garden and decided that was enough.
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Old Mar 27th, 2014, 11:30 PM
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Stoke - glad you enjoyed Kew. DH and I went for the first time in 25 years a couple of years ago, and it was as lovely as I'd remembered it being all those years ago, when it cost 5p to get in.

Talking of gardens, did you notice the gardens in the Temple on your walk through to the river? From what I gather the relatively new [female] head gardener in Inner Temple is doing great things; i always enjoy reading her pieces in the quarterly newsletter, and miss being able to see them myself, despite the lovely gardens we have around here.
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Old Mar 27th, 2014, 11:39 PM
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>>when it cost 5p to get in
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Old Mar 28th, 2014, 01:16 AM
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Hi Stokebailey,

Really enjoying your sauntering around so many parts of London and your interchange with Annhig. You describe with an artist’s eye.

Can’t wait to return and hope to explore those parts you mentioned – Primrose Hill (shades of Sylvia Plath) and Hampstead.

Waiting for more…
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Old Mar 28th, 2014, 11:56 AM
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I very much appreciate anyone skimming this far.

I can't remember what it cost to enter Kew, but it was a lot more than 5P in either old or new money, even with H's student discount. (And they scrutinized her UK student ID pretty carefully, too. Have some of my countrypersons come over there trying to pull fast ones, causing us all to be suspect?)

We belong to our local excellent botanical garden, founded by an Englishman who made it big selling hardware to settlers, and who luckily remained unmarried and without issue so that it fell into the 20th C's laps intact. MO Botanical Garden charges $8 for adults, or $4 for those within our taxation district. H and I walk there often when she's around, and they do a good job with a much tougher climate than Kew's. No palaces, though, or Thames view.
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Old Mar 28th, 2014, 12:04 PM
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Ann, I did peek over the fence into the Middle Temple garden, and what I could see was delightful. Loads of color, spring bulbs, deep green. Are we outsiders allowed to enter?

I had left home a couple of days after another snow storm, and March 3 my husband reported an ice storm that caused another day of school closings. So coming to London and seeing gardens like those at Regent's Park and the Middle Temple felt like being plunged into spring.
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Old Mar 28th, 2014, 12:34 PM
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stoke- my reference to 5p entrance to Kew was that many years ago, that's all it cost to get in.
then a few years ago they put the cost up to a more economic price - sadly!

apropos the temple Gardens, Inner Temple gardens open from 12.30 to 3pm every week day [a wonderful place to eat your sandwiches!] - this link also links through to a piece from the gardener, Andrea, which you may enjoy:

http://www.innertemple.org.uk/index....&id=3&Itemid=3

here's the link to the Middle Temple gardens - it doesn't look as if they are open to the hoi poloi unfortunately. i'm glad you enjoyed seeing them, anyway, if only from a distance.
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Old Mar 28th, 2014, 01:10 PM
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oops - here it is:

middle temple gardens opening times

BTW, if any of you have an interest in garden writing, I urge you to follow the link to the gardener's notes in the link above - she is most entertaining, and the pictures are lovely. [i think that the oldest articles are at the bottom].
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Old Mar 28th, 2014, 05:33 PM
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Lateday, that is sweet of you to say.

I'd have guessed Kew cost 5p, Ann, around the time your and Patrick's great-grandmothers ran in pinafores there and chased the ducks.
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Old Mar 29th, 2014, 02:18 AM
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Watch it! I can remember going there with Canon Chasuble and he was incredulous at the low price. I seem to remember that there was no big kiosk, just a turnstile and a man to take the money
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Old Mar 29th, 2014, 04:40 AM
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Thanks for keeping on writing Stokebailey, I know it takes time. I love your descriptions of places that I would love to see! Next when I am in London ...
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Old Mar 29th, 2014, 11:03 AM
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STILL FURTHER UPSTREAM

H also wanted to spend a day at Hampton Court Palace, so one Friday we took the train from Blackfriar's and through the boggy suburbs to Hampton Court Station. We'd started to cross the Thames bridge when we realized we'd need some lunch before taking on the Palace, doubled back to Bridge St and settled in at the second place on the right. It was full of locals and homegrown art, had excellent lunch fare.(I wanted to go back later and note the cafe's name, but that was yacht party day and we didn't want to miss the train.)

I have to think that Henry VIII's greed, like our local Henry Shaw's unwillingness to marry, has proven very fortunate for us future hoi polloi. If Henry hadn't jumped at Cardinal Wolsey's offer of Hampton Court, the Palace might have been torn down for a nice little suburb there. You know how bad descendants are at preserving things vs making some easy money. The same with Hyde Park and all that former monastery land, maybe?

It is well worth a day there. The Tudor/Wren etc archtecture, the Great Hall, the chapel, the Great Vine, the prospects and formal gardens. When we encountered H VIII in a hallway and asked if curtseying was optional, he that said unless we knew how to do it correctly we should just fade into the background. A fine figure of a man.

We spent some time in the Young Henry VIII exhibition. I had backtracked a room to make sure Catherine of Aragon was that Isabella and Ferdinand's daughter when a guard, or is it guide, asked if I could help. Justin turned out to be a fountain of colorful historico-medical anecdotes, some of them almost too colorful for mixed company. He started off with the tidbit that Catherine of A had taken only two baths in her lifetime and took it from there. I'd have been fine with his accomanying us for the rest of our Palace visit, and I bet he's fun around the pub of an evening.
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