Wednesday, 5 June 2013
The Kyoto Garden, Holland Park.
Two days in London, and hardly a shop in sight (well, only for basic foodstuffs).
Two days of wonderful greenery, magnificent gardens, a spectacular river trip, and a brief skirmish with the paparazzi because we had forgotten that Her Majesty was due at Westminster at the same time as us.
This is parking in London at its very best. In glorious sunshine as well.
I was visiting my son, who lives very near to Hyde Park, one of the many Royal Parks in central London.
We walked, admiring wonderful trees and shrubs, through the park to Holland Park, which is not Royal, but might as well be by virtue of its surrounding wealth. It's in the Royal Borough, anyway.
How enjoyable to be in a great city and to walk, by way of leafy lanes and exquisite small streets, from one magnificent open space to another.
How enjoyable to eat lunch out of doors in Holland Park while a rehearsal for the current opera is taking place a few feet away.
And then to wander along to the Kyoto Garden with its high waterfalls, rocks and traditional Japanese planting, a gift from the Kyoto Chamber of Commerce in 1991.
Admittedly the sunshine helps a lot.
As does the time of year.
As does the company.
The next day we moved up a notch in scale and went upstream, up the Thames to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, inadvertently arriving at Westminster just ahead of Her Majesty and Entourage, but still managing to get through the crowds and to the boat at Westminster Pier.
Here is the iconic view, just before we met the paparazzi: Westminster Abbey, the clock face of Big Ben, and, just to the left, the London Eye. And a big red bus.
London, sparkling in the sunshine, green and fresh and beautiful.
The Queen out for the morning too, and my son, knowing how to give his old Mum a good time. I hope Prince Charles can do as well, but I know he couldn't do better!