Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Kensington Gardens

Chelsea Flower Show

Chelsea Flower Show

Christ College Oxford

Hyde Park London
I have spent 5 nights in London so far and will be leaving on the 8.20 am train in the morning  to Wales to connect with a ferry to Dublin.

It has been nice to stop a while in one place and also somewhere familiar. I stayed in the same hotel last year when I was here for the Proms.

The weather was lovely on Wednesday but it  then turned cool and very changeable.
On Wednesday, after doing some necessary mundane shopping and having a haircut, I walked in Kensington Gardens (photo 1) which are only a few blocks from my hotel. It was very enjoyable and I would have liked to have done more but felt it wiser to return for a rest as I had a ticket that night to ‘Jersey Boys’.  I enjoyed the show with the nostalgia of the songs of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

Thursday I went to the Chelsea Flower Show. When I planned my trip I had not realised I would be in London at the time of the show. Fortunately I discovered the dates coincided in time to make a booking as it was booked out.  I spent 5 hours there. The flowers in the main show tent were stunning. Thankfully the knowledge that I would not pass NZ customs prevented me spending a fortune on seeds. I tried to take photos, I took over 90 (Photos 2 & 3) with the labels but guess it will be hard to source the same back home.  There were intermittent showers and sunshine and by 2 pm the crowds meant it was getting hard to move around so I left and was back in my hotel when a severe thunderstorm struck.

That night I went to the Globe Theatre and saw “Much Ado About Nothing” It was an experience. Although I paid for a cushion, the seat had no back and I had not studied that play at school. It was very different form ‘Jersey Boys’.

On Friday I went by train to Oxford. The morning was spent wandering the streets and I did see part of Christ College and the cathedral (Photo 4). Other colleges were closed due to being the last day of term.  
However I had a lovely afternoon having lunch with Malcolm and his wife. Malcolm was a student at Kingsgrove High in my first year of teaching and went on the tour of New Zealand that year. He was a very close mate of Garry who died recently and we reconnected as a result. They now live near Windsor and kindly drove over to meet and take me to lunch. We talked until nearly 5 pm. Fortunately Friday night was my night ‘off’.

On Saturday  I visited the laundromat, it has been nice not to wash each night in the bathroom.  As the weather was still changeable, I went to nearby Notting Hill and the Portobello Road markets.  I was tempted by some antique prints of Sydney but decided they would be too much hassle.  Just as well there were none of Dunedin.

Then after another afternoon’s rest I went to see ‘Wicked’ The staging is brilliant and lively but I do not feel any of the tunes are memorable, unlike ‘Phantom’ or ‘Les Miz’. None stayed in my head to remove  ‘Walk like a man’ or “My eyes adored you’ from Jersey Boys.

Today, Sunday, I attended Eucharist at a nearby church then walked around Hyde Park (Photo 5) in a very cold wind. I have photocopied notes of park walks from a book out of the library which makes these walks more interesting. I will be back at this hotel for my final day in Europe so may do another in 3 weeks time.

Now it is 'Back on the road again'


"Sir" said...

Looking forward to seeing photos of Leeds!

Birdie said...

I just love your travelogues. My mom was a travel agent (retiring last year at 89) and like you traveled the world. Her favorite city was London. And her favorite country was New Zealand.

Brian R said...

Thanks Birdie
Your Mother has great tastes
Obviously New Zealand is my favourite country , but I would put Paris before London as my favourite city.