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Sunday, 1 September 2013

Summer in the City

I accidentally pressed Publish instead of Preview before I had finished writing this post so apologies to those who looked for this post and couldn't find it earlier! 

We decided to make another trip to London taking advantage of the special Summer Fever £15 day return offer and Saturday was the day we chose to go - offer expired on 1 September.  What a fabulous day it was - everyone was making the most of the last days of summer as you can see here in the Embankment Gardens.

 The train was packed as it seemed everyone had the same idea as us and we were lucky to find a couple of flap down seats in the area where one can leave bicycles etc as all the proper seats in the carriages were filled.  We decided that after our couple of hours of sitting and in view of the beautiful weather we wouldn't take the underground or even a bus but would walk to Oxford Street where we were headed.  Here's the London Eye it would have been a great day for a ride - I went on it years ago on just such a day and it is well worth doing for the long distance views on a clear day but this time we just kept on walking!

 Across the Golden Jubilee Footbridge which runs alongside the original Hungerford Bridge which is now solely used by trains - I loved the modern shapes it made against the blue of the sky. The River Thames below looked blue instead of the usual grey in the sunshine

View towards the City and St Paul's cathedral - no need for any red buses to add colour to the scene this week....

...though these two did add a certain something to the picture of St Martins in the Fields.

A few steps further on and we were at Trafalgar Square where Nelson was still standing atop his column in the sunshine looking down on all the people below - how turquoise the water looks in the square too.

I don't remember the name of this street but loved all the flowers in the window boxes.  At the end is Liberty  which we came to later.

 Typical London skyline!!  Always there are cranes and building works going on somewhere.

 Back in the 60s this little street was the place to shop!  Carnaby Street.

 Liberty - iconic timbered building which always makes me think of Chester.  We happened to be there just as the clock struck the quarter hour and St George chased the dragon round - for more information on this see here.  Loved the inscription below which says: No minute gone comes back again, Take heed and see ye nothing do in vain.  Indeed eh?
As with any of my photos if you click on the photo you will see more clearly in the enlargement the clock over the arch.

I can't believe the blue of that sky!

Just a few more steps and we were in Oxford Street - that's John Lewis just in the background.  Always a favourite store of mine. And yet another red bus just visible in thecorner.

Having completed our purchases in John Lewis we had a sandwich lunch and then we set off again and this time walked through Soho where people were sitting at tables on the pavement outside the many little cafes and restaurants and the sound was of gentle conversation along with the chink of cutlery - lovely!  We soon came upon this wonderful little shop - I apologise to the lady in my photo I did wait to see if she would move out of shot but she was engrossed in her mobile phone and I couldn't wait anylonger and to be honestI think she adds a certain je ne sais quoi o the picture anyway.  If you are ever in the area do go inside and have a look - it's crammed with lovely materials of all kinds, trimmings, buttons and threads an Aladin's Cave for anyone like me!!  Do check out the links above and below.  This area was well known in the past for its rag trade and has a fascinating history I am determined to go back one day and poke about some more!

 It was this window display which caught my eye!

We later stopped for a cup of tea in Paul's Bakery, which reminded us of our Saturday afternoon outings to Limoges when we lived in France.  I asked if they had any chouquettes (not listed on the menu) as we used to like to have a few of those alongside our tea in Limoges and sure enough they had and our trip down memory lane was complete!  I didn't think to take the picture till we'd polished off 4 of them!  An aside which might make you smile:  once in France I asked for some chouettes with our tea and the waitress looked puzzled but eventually understood what I wanted and it was only later I realised I had ordered some owls!

Continuing onward we made our way back to the South Bank - this time there is a red bus in the frame!

Here is the Festival Hall and just to one side the Shard as well as more cranes!  You can book to visit and apparently the view is amazing - as it would surely have been on Saturday being so clear. The boats filled with tourists were doing a roaring trade on the water.

On the South Bank the Festival of Neighbourhood continues and people, mainly children, were enjoying dodging the fountains as they changed where they came from as you can see here - it is a good job it was warm as there were some wet and bedraggled children and not a few adults too!

Looking back towards the Embankment.

Last time we were here we visited the Roof Garden and only later discovered that there was a section we hadn't seen so we climbed the steps to the roof gardens - another lovely mosaic for you this one was one of several set into the walkways.

This is the path we had missed last time down between an avenue of small trees (the grass is obviously not real sadly)  The art work on the wall is by Roa - not sure it is to my taste but striking nonetheless!

The avenue led to an area of woodland - not enough light for photos apart from this little space.  It wasn't quite as interesting as I had expected though.

After a wander through the street market below and it was time to get to Waterloo for our train home - luckily we had seats this time as we had probably walked about 4 or 5 miles not counting the wandering round by then.  Yet another lovely day out and as always when I visit London I leave wanting to arrange another visit to see the things I didn't have time for this time.  It's a wonderful city but I am always glad to come home to the country!  On the train home I sat idly wondering how my life might have turned out had I accepted the place I was offered in London instead of choosing to go to Exeter instead when I wanted to train as a radiographer back in the 60s and how that decision might have led to a whole different life!  It obviously wasn't meant to be and my life has turned out pretty well as it is so no regrets but .....!!


  1. lovely photos, I particularly liked the mosaics.

  2. Lovely photos Jane! Doesn't sunshine make everything better (I'm not looking forward to the change of season) !
    The little haberdashery shop looks great, it just shows the little treasures that can be found when you actually walk instead of using the transport system.
    V x

  3. I always remember London in the 60s as bustling, busy and feull of people. You seem to have caught it on a day without too many.
    What lovely little niches you found, the fabric shop looks so interesting. It's amazing what is there to be seen if you look carefully in a big city.

  4. Your great photos illustrate the pleasure of walking in London - just off the major streets are some fascinating less-known areas, and there's always somewhere for a sit-down and a cuppa.
    Have you tried Liberty's for afternoon tea?

  5. We miss London - though wouldn't want to go back to living in Croydon! On a beautiful sunny day the cityscape is outstanding and I always find somewhere or something new. I must look more often for special train offers, I should like a day 'in town' this autumn. Looks like you had a great time.

  6. A lovely trip, I always walk in London too! I've not heard of the fabric shop and have just added it to my list of things to do - I think I'll be needing another trip to London myself soon!

  7. PS - the street with the flowers and Liberty's at the end is Argyle Street :-)

  8. Thank you for the sunny day tour of London! That sky truly is amazingly clear and blue. I enjoyed all your photos in large format, drinking in the details. Carnaby Street - I remember seeing it mentioned in the fashion magazines of the 60s even over here on this side of the pond.

  9. Thanks for another lovely day out. I really enjoyed it as we love London.
    What a wonderful Summer you have had this year but I bet you are looking forward to Autumn now. It is a lovely season. I hope it remains fine for a while so you can enjoy the cooler temperatures and lovely change-of-season colours that it brings.

  10. Such a lovely post, but it lets me know that I never want to go back there. I was never terribly happy in London other than when I was in Liberty or Harrods.

  11. That photo with the two buses is excellent, so vibrant with colour. What a special day to be in the city.So long since I visited Liberty and I certainly don't remember that wonderful phrase. I will write that down I think as it is so apt.


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