Monday, September 30, 2013

Over the Thames

 From the bridge that crosses the Thames by the Parliament buildings.

 On the far side, a newish government building with a pleasant courtyard and fountain.

 A view across the Thames.  The water was rather dirty looking and did not make me want to take a river cruise.   Perhaps some day, the river will be cleaned up.

 The impressive Parliament buildings, ready for some serious governing.

On the bridge, a vendor had some very good advice.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Italian Water Garden-Kensington Gardens

 The Italian Water Garden in Kensington Gardens is always a pleasant place to spend a bit of time.

 Lots of carvings.

 Can't have a water garden without lilypads.

 We kept checking on a family of coots who live in the garden.  The babies were still rather bald and fluffy.

 Simple but so beautifully designed.

 So Victorian.

 Looking down the lake.

 Primroses, I think.

This is a bit of an odd scene.  The middle child has a gun, the child on the left is holding a dead bird, and the child on the rights appears to be holding the sheep's ear (sheep doesn't look too happy). When you first glance at it, it seems like a quiet pastoral picture, but on closer inspection, a more complicated scenario is at play.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Flower Beds -Regents Park

On our way to the rose gardens in Regents Park, we walked along a path that had wonderful colourful borders all looking fresh and blooming beautifully.
The canna lilies stand out so well against the green hedge behind the bed.

I really like the soft pastel tones of this arrangements.

But this bold garden has lots of energy to it which makes it attractive, too.

Lots of height to this collection with the castor bean plants.

And finally a bench in front of a well organized, calmer garden.
I really appreciate the skill of the planner of these gardens.  It takes a knowledgeable person to gauge the growth patterns of the different flowers so that even at the end of the season everything looks great.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Regents Park - Roses

 Regents Park is known for its rose gardens.  They are not as extensive as they used to be, and I noticed that some of the beds are being replaced with delphiniums and other plants.  I guess the roses are just too expensive to keep up.

Most of the roses weren't scented.  Again I suppose good scented roses such as David Austen roses would be too expensive for mass plantings.  Still the flowers are lovely to look at and Regents Park is very pleasant .

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Regent Street and Buildings That Caught My Fancy -London

Regent Street really has to be experienced on the top of a double-decker bus.  Here the buses zing you around the long curve at a speed that seems much too fast, and you are sandwiched by wonderful row buildings on either side.
A couple of buildings near the National Gallery.

A classy fire escape.

Many of the buildings have lost their original ground level architecture, but this one looks like the real thing.

 Such a big city, but the sky is always there.

Of course, with carvings like these up high, you are always encouraged to keep your gaze skyward.

 A blurry picture as it was early evening and I was on the bus, but I liked the jumbled ensemble of old and new buildings.

 This lovely restaurant was on our way back to the hotel from the usual bus stop. They had a chalkboard sign trying to entice us in for breakfast or tea, and it was tempting, but we didn't go as our breakfast was included at the hotel and tea was too many empty calories.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Patterns - London

 London is a city of patterns.  Everywhere you go, patterns catch your attention.  This entrance way was not far from our hotel, and it grabbed my eye every time I went by it.

In music, you can have accidental notes out of key that add some tension to a piece before it resolves into the key  again.  In London, it's the cars parked the wrong way.  Not uncommon, to see a line of parked cars with one or two heading against the traffic.  Odd.

 I had heard rumblings that the black taxis were going to be fazed out so I was thrilled to see lots and lots of them still roaming the streets in London. And we did go for a ride. Because there is a hefty charge to drive a private car in downtown London, about half the car traffic is just taxis because it's cheaper to take a taxi than to drive your own car. The private cars you do see, tend to be expensive European brands.
 The black taxis are so nimble that when they want to change direction, they don't drive around the block, they simply do a U-turn in the middle of the street. Everyone takes it in stride, and traffic stops to allow the taxis to get turned around.
The black taxis and red buses make all kinds of moving patterns as they zoom around the streets.

Most of the taxis are plain black but some of them have ads on them.  I believe that all the drivers are independent owners so I guess they can do what they want to their cars.  I'm sure a bit more income from the ads is very welcome.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

More South Flower Walk

 An unusual palm (?) tree.

A looser, wilder planting.

 Great contrast

 Stars and balls

Lovely shaped tree.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

South Flower Walk - Kensington Gardens

 I had hoped that Kensington Gardens would have lots of gardens so I was disappointed that most of the space was simply grass.  The South Flower Walk did offer some attractive groupings .
 The fir tree with the horizontal branches had unusual almost white cones. Click for a blow-up photo.

 Well thought out designs using a wide range of plants.

 This bed was quite striking.  The middle planting has small very bright red flowers that just popped against the lime green .  The photo does not do it justice.
There weren't many squirrels in the park, unlike Quebec and Ontario, where we have an overabundance of them.  I sort of missed the movement that the squirrels add to a park.

Kensington Gardens

 It was such a pleasure to have a hotel close to Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens.  In the evenings, it was so easy to just go for a walk in the park and enjoy the lovely surroundings.

 Even the pump house is attractive.

 Birds lined up on the posts resting or watching the water.

 Handsome heron - I like the way his his toe is  hanging over the edge of the post. He seems very debonair.

Ducks fluffed and sleepy.