It’s been cool here, and we have been having a quiet time exploring some new and old areas.
On Friday it was quite rainy. We used the morning to get some washing done and in ghe afternoon, we went shopping on the High Street in Kensington. We walked to the shops via the impressive Albert Memorial, opposite the Albert Hall. From there, we walked through Kensington Park and over to Kensington Palace. The gardens are being renovated and are all screened off. They won’t be reopened until 2012, so they are having a pretty reasonable makeover.
The shops along Kensington Road fall into the category of being one of the older type ‘strip’ shopping centers and there are a lot of interesting shops – most of them practical shops for the locals. We popped our head into the Supermarket and a couple of e phone shops to check in Internet connectivity. We actually have a very fast internet connection in our apartment, but I was sussing out some options for a possible trip next year. It was raining steadily and we were getting quite wet so we headed back home. It was a bit of struggle psychologically to go out again in the rain for dinner. The Pub was the closest place and although it was full of students, it was good cheap nosh!
On Saturday, we decided to go to the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. We took the District Line which took us straight there in a rip over 30 minutes, or so. retry to the Gardens cost £11.50 for Seniors. I think that this is one of the first times that Jill was happy to admit reaching a ‘mature’ age. The gardens were very extensive and would be very beautiful in Spring. There was just enough Autumn colour for them to still be attractive. The highlights were a number of enormous glass houses in which areas if tropical and temperate plants were growing and sorted by world regions. It was a bit weird to see a lot of Australian plants growing here in these artificial environments, but I guess that is the only way for them to succeed.
Today, we needed a rest and it was wet and cold, so we pottered around our apartment for most of the day. Whilst Remembrance Day was, of course, on November 11th, the formal celebrations are conducted here on the following Sunday. We watched the service on TV and it was very interesting to watch the pomp and splendor of it all. The British certainly know how to conduct a parade! The Royal Family laid wreaths on the Cenotaph, followed by other dignitaries including politicians and all the Commonwealth High Commissioners (except for Zimbabwe) and the heads of the armed services. Then there was a long march of veterans from many conflicts. There were quite a log of young men and women marching – veterans of Britain’s involvement in places such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Ireland etc.
I wandered up to the shops for a while and we’ll go out for a Pizza for dinner at the same restaurant that Princess Diana used to take the boys when they were young.
It is now 4.30 pm and very dark on this Sunday night. Apart from the frequent police and ambulance sirens, we have been listening to a continuing peal of church bells for the last fifteen minutes or so. It seems they are as much a part of Britain as the men of the Pay Corps marching this morning with their furled umbrellas at the ready and bowler hats atop their heads.