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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 Apr 4th, 2014, 07:41 PM
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Hi, lateday. Do go to Kenwood House if you possibly can, plus bonus walk through the Heath.

I took the 168 bus through Camden, past the Royal Free Hospital to the end of the line by the foot of Hampstead Heath. (A useful bus that goes down past Russell Sq to Aldwych, Waterloo and points south.) A map of the Heath would be helpful, a compass, or a willingness to ask for directions fairly frequently, if you're cutting all the way up cross country. I assume it's possible to take a cab from the bottome of the Heath to the top near Kenwood House, if you weren't up for the walk.
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Old Apr 5th, 2014, 06:59 AM
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I forgot to mention one of my favorite touches at Kenwood House: if there's an antique chair or couch they don't want people to sit on, they place crossed dried thistle heads, tasteful and humorous warnings, on the seats.
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Old Apr 5th, 2014, 07:23 AM
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I thought that I had gotten closer to Kenwood House than that... tfl.gov.uk's journey planner says that the 210 bus, a five minute walk from Archway tube station, will get you to within a five minute walk from Kenwood House on the north (top) side. No need for a cab.
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Old Apr 5th, 2014, 09:15 AM
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Lateday--We hopefully will be going back this summer. I say hopefully because last year the day before we were supposed to leave to join relatives on a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains and Nashville, my mother in law fell in the street, shattered her wrist, and required emergency surgery. So there went that trip that never happened. Our cousins couldn't believe it when we called to say we weren't coming. So I say hopefully for this one!

Stokebailey--you are adding more things to my already long list Kenwood House sounds like a really nice place to visit too. Just not enough time to do it all.
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Old Apr 5th, 2014, 11:54 AM
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We assume you dutifully went to the V&A to soak up culture, Patrick, and not slip off to South Kensington's pool halls and opium dens.>>

is that based on personal experience, Stoke?

I confess that I've never been to Kenwood house - oh, the shame.

Thanks for telling me about it - now I certainly will if I can.
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Old Apr 5th, 2014, 12:33 PM
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>>We assume you dutifully went to the V&A to soak up culture, Patrick, and not slip off to South Kensington's pool halls and opium dens.>>

I was actually thinking of when I was in my <i>early</i> teens.
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Old Apr 5th, 2014, 05:49 PM
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Hi again Stokebailey,

“Do go to Kenwood House if you possibly can, plus bonus walk through the Heath.” Thanks, but I would most likely take a cab from the bus stop to Kenwood.

Thursdaysd, I will also check out that approach. Gracias.

Europeanovice, hope MIL is better and that you folks will be able to plan another trip to London soon.

Speaking of Hampstead, LONDON WALKS has a walk through that area which might combine nicely with a visit to Kenwood House.

Appreciate your input…
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Old Apr 6th, 2014, 12:41 AM
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I've enjoyed your trip report stokebailey. I feel it should be bound in leather, the title in gold leaf letters. You write well, see well, and do well. We just got back from a much shorter visit to London, visiting our son in school, also stayed in Bloomsbury near St Pancras, but we skimmed where you strolled. And you had better shoes. Thanks for such a nice report!
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Old Apr 6th, 2014, 01:50 AM
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I wonder if many foreign children are coming to boarding schools in England. It may be the Hogwarts effect. Does your son like it. There must be a lot less freedom than he has had before
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Old Apr 6th, 2014, 06:56 AM
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Lateday, thursdays is so right that tfl.gov.uk is the way to find best public transportation options. The way I went worked nicely for me because I wanted to walk the Heath, and then circle back down Hampstead through that lovely suburb's back streets.

My first visit to London with my mother, pre-internet, I got us rooms for several nights at the presumably now defunct Sandringham B&B on Holford Rd in Hampstead. I loved it, loved the foggy walk back from the tube after nights out on the town, loved the kippers with breakfast. For a first -- and in my mother's case probably only -- stay in London it was perhaps not so brilliant since so far from the center. Her friends had told her to stay near the Marble Arch, but as a born contrarian I scorned that advice, and still feel a little guilty about her sore feet. But I still love walking in Hampstead. It is on a hill, and hilly, so might be more challenging physically as a two-hour London Walk?

Since my Heath adventure was early March after a lot of rain, and our thwarted attempt to walk there last year was in January, I doubt that it's all that muddy other times of the year. And I'd think sticking to the main paths you could do it with ordinary walking shoes.

>>is that based on personal experience?
Ann, I can honestly say I have never hung out in any S. Kensington pool hall or opium den. And if Patrick won't admit doing such things before mid-teens, I certainly won't.

santamonica, that is so kind. Thank you! I'm glad you could get over to visit your son, and I know he appreciates having you come. I hope he loves it there. My H initially had doubts about being so far from home and living among strangers in a dorm, but now it will take finesse to lure her home.
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Old Apr 6th, 2014, 07:27 AM
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If you want to stay in Hampstead the place I stayed at a number of years ago is still operating: http://www.lagaffe.co.uk/ - perhaps not for a first visit, but fun for a later one.
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Old Apr 6th, 2014, 07:28 AM
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MORE ART

This time I never got closer to the National Gallery than sitting on the low wall in front of Geo. Washington's statue, drawing the 4th Plinth's huge blue rooster, and listening the the kilted bagpiper. His music had interference from a man with microphone who stood surrounded by a big crowd directly in front of the Gallery's steps. When I eventually got up to leave, I saw a buff young guy with red spiked hair, dressed only in matching Union Jack briefs and socks. He appeared to be working up to something that involved a bed of nails. I gave him a minute's attention, then paid the piper and went to look for latte. How do they determine who gets to dominate Trafalgar Square?

I visited the National Portrait Gallery three times this stay, and would love a lot more. Prepping with royal biographies does make it more meaningful. For instance, the full-length one of George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, showing off his legs, hung next to an elderly James I. Did Buckingham approve of that portrait? You don't get the impression that the portraitist admired him, since his expression could be described as "simpering."

In contrast, the Shakespeare portrait. The only authentic one, I think, the one you see reproduced everywhere, but must see in person to appreciate. This artist loved his subject: the sensual mouth, the intelligent eyes and brow. I had toyed with the idea of believing someone else, preferably a woman, had written Shakespeare's work, but a few minutes in front of that portrait convinced me otherwise.

Check out Ben Jonson, adjacent to Wm., and appreciate the force of his personality.
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Old Apr 6th, 2014, 12:13 PM
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stoke, what i have never understood about the Shakespeare controversy is why, if someone else wrote [some of] the plays, they didn't simply publish them under their own name/s. I'm not aware that it's suggested that he suffered at all because of their publication, so why not admit to their authorship?
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Old Apr 6th, 2014, 05:29 PM
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Hi again Stokebailey,

“How do they determine who gets to dominate Trafalgar Square?” Excellent question. That’s what I love about staying near Trafalgar Square – there is always so much humanity to observe, eh?

Glad that you were able to visit the PORTRAIT GALLERY so often.

Good for you. Agree with your observation “I visited the National Portrait Gallery three times this stay, and would love a lot more. Prepping with royal biographies does make it more meaningful.”


One example, when I visited London in 2011, I was deep into reading THE CHURCHILLS IN LOVE AND WAR by Mary S. Lovell. Fascinating. I was particularly touched by young Winston’s desire to please/be recognized by his father Randolph
(a remote figure) about whom Winston later wrote a sainted biography. I found so many portraits of Randolph Churchill among other notables to enjoy at the PN.

Also love the “original” portrait of Shakespeare. Looking forward to more…
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Old Apr 6th, 2014, 08:45 PM
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Thank you, lateday.

Ann, several years ago I got into a Shakespeare conversation with a librarian who was convinced that the real writer was a noblewoman who could not publish under her own name because of social position and failure to be male. Evidence: the sonnet "From fairest creatures we desire increase.." addressed her brother who was not producing an heir, etc.

I liked this theory for awhile, but not enough to remember the noblewoman's name or read the book that explains it all.
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Old Apr 7th, 2014, 01:12 AM
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>>How do they determine who gets to dominate Trafalgar Square?<<

Tricky one. For the big events and the Fourth Plinth, this seems to be under the control of the Greater London Assembly and "Our Beloved Mayor®", but I suspect the temporary buskers might be dealt with by Westminster City Council, whose Licensing Department can be a bit idiosyncratic - or they might just be chancers who leg it when the appropriate authorities turn up and start looking as though they're about to start moving people on.
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Old Apr 7th, 2014, 03:06 AM
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Hi Patrick London

You mentioned the Greater London Assembly and "Our Beloved Mayor®.” I must say, I get a kick out of Boris Johnson’s antics. One can’t deny that he LOVES and supports all things London. He thinks big – for example, replacing Heathrow with a huge airport in the Thames Estuary among other ventures in transportation and affordable housing. Just read that property values in London have increased 18% in the past year. That’s unbelievable!

We on this side of the pond got a kick out of him when he gave then Presidential candidate Mitt Romney “what for” after criticizing Johnson’s preparation for the 2012 Olympics.

Does Boris still enjoy wide support from Londoners? Just wondering….
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Old Apr 7th, 2014, 03:45 AM
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>>One can’t deny that he LOVES and supports all things London. He thinks big – for example, replacing Heathrow with a huge airport in the Thames Estuary <<

He loves anything that will get him headlines en route to the Tory leadership. The job isn't like a US city mayor - it's less about executive authority for delivering a lot of public services, more about an arm's-length strategic role for services that others have the responsibility for delivering. Of course he thinks big on ideas like his airport project - he has no responsibility for actually making it happen, and it never will. The grandstanding side of it suits him to a T and vice versa, and it appeals to people who don't follow the details of what he can and can't actually do in practice: like never seeing an office skyscraper he didn't or less wave through planning procedures, dithering and delaying over new river crossings in east London (but wasting time and money on the cable car from nowhere much to nowhere much). The only question at the moment seems to be whether he could try to get back into Parliament (bearing in mind the next election is a year before the end of his current term, and he said he wouldn't try to do the two jobs together - but would there be another route back if he delays?).
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Old Apr 7th, 2014, 05:59 AM
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Hi Patrick,

“He [Johnson]loves anything that will get him headlines en route to the Tory leadership.”

Thanks for the inside view. From where I sit behind a thick post, Boris does not look like MP material. Too flamboyant. I will say one thing – the guy has quite a vocabulary which I realized while reading his book JOHNSON’S LIFE OF LONDON The People Who Made the City That Made the World.

Reality – the longer a politician is in office the more disenchanted the populace becomes as a rule. Just like here – many folks are tired of “hope and change.” One place I want to check out in London is the new city hall on the Southbank – the architecture intrigues me.
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Old Apr 7th, 2014, 08:42 AM
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I liked this theory for awhile, but not enough to remember the noblewoman's name or read the book that explains it all.>>

mmm - you didn't like it THAT much then.

lateday - I see boris as a shoe-in for a safe tory seat, but he's seen as being too clever by half to be PM - those top civil servant Sir Humphreys like someone they can bamboozle.

but who knows? if John Major can do it [and no-one had him down as a prospective PM, not even him] why not Boris?
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