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Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Another side to the capital

I had a day out yesterday and once again I was truly lucky with the weather.  Want to come with me?

I left home early and caught the coach - the sun was not long up and beginning to bathe the countryside in its light.  Do try enlarging some or all of the photos as they are so much better and clearer then.

The sky was blue and criss crossed with the trails of aircraft - I was glad I was on terra firma and wouldn't have wanted to be going anywhere warm and sunny on this wonderful crisp frosty morning.  The scenery had the colour bleached out of it and the shades were faded and subtle with every twig and blade of grass frosted and the sun an orange ball.

 It wasn't long however before we hit one of the patches of freezing fog which had been forecast - I was glad I wasn't driving.  Can you guess where I was headed fom the above photo?

Yes I was on my way to London and here we are passing Stonehenge whose huge stones loomed out of the fog - the sheep unconcerned by the history of the place were busily munching the frozen grass.  Further on the only touches of colour were some pheasants pecking at the frozen soil or was it perhaps that I knew they were colourful rather than actually seeing their red and green plumage.

As you can see by the time I got to London the fog had been left behind and I met my friend outside the Albert Hall and we made our way across the road to where the Albert Memorial stood with its gold work glistening in the sunshine - just look at that sky!

We were headed to the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park which you can see across the Serpentine in this photo.

It wasn't quite what we had expected being a huge fairground with lots of scary rides and loud music together with many stalls selling food and drinks and some selling other items like wooly hats, hand warmers, jewellery and so on and not quite the tasteful Christmas Market I had envisaged!  However the colours of this ride against the vivid blue sky appealed to me if not the actual ride!

 We had wanted to see the Ice Sculptures and these didn't disappoint but we didn't linger too long in what was essentially a refrigerator!

 Then it was time to warm up with some lunch and we made our way to the cafe/restaurant which overlooks the Serpentine and were lucky enough to get a window seat overlooking this view.  A few hardy souls braved the temperatures to sit outside - perhaps they were smokers.

We ventured out onto the terrace after lunch just long enough to take a photo or two.  There were a huge number of birds of all kinds including Canada geese and swans along the edges of the lake.

 We decided that we'd walk round the lake enjoying the sunshine and catching up on all our gossip.  So we set off to walk round the Serpentine and Long Water which is actually in Kensington Gardens adjoining Hyde Park.  I have no idea of the distance but we were walking for about 2 hours.

 Loved this little house ....

... isn't it pretty?  Apparently it was built in 1911 to house the park keeper.

 This one could be anywhere out in the country couldn't it?  You can see why the green spaces and parks are often called the green lungs of the Capital.   London has a huge acreage of green spaces where you can be away from the noise and grime of the city in just a few minutes and can quite forget you are in the middle of a busy metropolis.

 This rather strange sculpture is The Arch by Henry Moore and had been removed in 1996 as it was structurally unsound but was replaced earlier this year.

 Could be Stourhead or somewhere couldn't it?

 Only the buildings shining in the sunshine in the background to indicate that we are not far from the hustle and bustle of London's busy streets.

The frost hadn't melted at all in places where the sun hadn't reached - it was very cold and now the sun was  going down it became colder still.  I love the golden orange colour the setting sun gives to everything though it also speaks of chill and I can't help wondering about the old chap (probably no older than I am!) we had passed on our walk, sitting on a seat with his bicycle alongside laden with dozens of plastic carrier bags, and where he might have spent the night! 

We were not tempted to paddle our feet in the water nor even our fingers as suggested at the Princess Diana memorial fountain as by now it was really freezing and our thoughts turned to something warmer.

We had enjoyed our walk and it was a part of London with which neither my friend nor I were familiar so it made for an interesting ramble but by now we were pleased to have arrived back at the Albert Hall where we decided to have tea and cake (it was my friend's birthday after all!) again we had a window seat and overlooked this view.  The architecture of these buildings is beautiful and the workmanship which went into the stone carvings amazing - I wonder if in years to come people will marvel at the craftmanship involved in our modern buildings.  The buildings on the left are The Albert Hall Mansions built by Norman Shaw in 1879 and they started a fashion for red brick.  The buildings in front are the Royal College of Music.

Having warmed up from our walk and enjoyed an hour of conversation over a very civilised pot of tea in pleasant surroundings it was time to wend our separate ways home so we parted promising to do Plan B - our plan should the weather have been wet and involving an exhibition at the Natural History Museum - before too long.  I hope you are not too cold nor footsore now and that you enjoyed our walk?


  1. It was a lovely walk and you had marvellous winter weather to take it. Your pictures are lovely, they truly capture the atmosphere. I'm not sure that I would have liked the fair though.

    We had freezing fog today so everything looked beautiful in the sunlight. I went out to take pictures and had a very good time.

  2. You were lucky with the weather - we didn't come out of freezing fog all day. Today more of the same plus fabulous hoar frost - really longing for blue skies. I love wandering around London, looks like a great day.

  3. Oh yes Jane I did enjoy walking with you.
    Absolutely beautiful photos, especially the one of Stonehenge!
    Vivienne x

  4. It was a marvelous walk, thanks for taking us along. My favorite photo is Stonehenge with the four sheep...I never heard of freezing fog before. Interesting. Those ice sculptures are quite amazing. But I still like the outdoors the best and would have loved to join you for that two-hour walk.

  5. Thanks for sharing your day out again Jane, your great photos really capture the atmosphere. What a diversity of views to be had in one day. Well done also for making time to record your trip to share with us.

  6. What a great day out and no driving!I bet you were exhausted.It was my husband's birtday yesterday too!We went to the Manchester Xmas market which was great.

  7. I love London parks - they transport you away from the bustle so very quickly don't they. It amazed me how much green space you can see from the London Eye. Hope you've warmed up - I'm going to London early in the new Year, hope it's not TOO cold then!

  8. A lovely day Jane. I love it when I'm familiar with the places you go though they look different in the Winter. I especially love Stonehenge - it looks fantastic in that light and mist.
    Having the aircon fixed has cured us of hot weather here at the moment - I'm not complaining there!

  9. Such a lovely day out and beautiful weather. Thank your for sharing the fabulous photos and words to go with them.

  10. Looks like you had the most wonderful time
    Julie xxxxxx

  11. When I worked in Canada many years ago Jane, I went to the winter carnival in Quebec and fell in love with the ice sculptures. How lovely to see photos of such things again and also share the trip up the A303. You always seem to cram so much into your days in London! Great photos as ever.

  12. What a wonderful day! Looks like you did it all. Love the ice... can't imagine spending too much time in a place like that - might freeze something important off.

  13. London at it's best, or maybe I mean, some of the best bits of London. And you sure did have glorious weather. Glad you had a good time :)

  14. Thanks had a lovely time out with those ice sculptures!

  15. The ice sculptures were wonderful and Stonehenge looking very magical. A beautiful day out!

  16. This walk was so interesting and showed me so many places I hadn't seen on your walk in green London and then the ice and fog on your way there. It looked a great day. I found you from Vintage Jane having seen your blog name many times at last nosiness brought me here. Do come over and see me sometime.

  17. I really need to come on a walk with you as you appear to be very lucky with the weather! Despite being a born and bred Londoner I haven't been on the walk that you show. It looks so wonderful. I especially like the photo of the orange sun shining through the willow. Beautiful.

  18. Those top four photos are stunning Jane. A lovely trip round London for you and your friend and you got to see more than the usual sights which made it all the better.

  19. Beautiful photo's and a view of London thats not very often seen, thank you for sharing ... xx

  20. Another of your lovely Travelogues. You manage to see so much, stop for so many photos and yet still walk for a couple of hours! Don't think I'd have enjoyed the Christmas Market/Fair either!

  21. I do admire the way you get up early and off for your trips. Lovely photos here.

    Know a number who visited The Winter Wonderland this year but these are the first photos I have seen. Loved the ice sculptures and your view sitting looking over the lake.


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