Monday, December 29, 2014

Ice anyone? the last trip of the year to Kew

I wasn't working today, so took my last trip of 2014 to Kew - the frost and sun at home made me think there would be some good photos to be had...200 later I think I was right... so here goes!
 I headed for my favourite part of the garden - the lake by the Palm House - and found it partially frozen.

 and the Dogwoods were looking glorious

 the sun was catching the droplets on the fountain and the reflections on the ice were amazing
 almost a sillhouette from the sun through the dogwoods.

 from the lake I walked further into the gardens towards the Henry Moore sculpture past sculptural trees
 where Mother and Child was nestling in the frosty grass

Caught sight of the melting frost drops on the ends of the catkins

 the sun was shining brightly through the grasses and shrubs at the edge of the next lake

 which was also partly frozen, and more beautiful dogwoods
 onwards to the Treetop walkway, which I think looks fabulous this time of year against the bare branches of the trees
 Kew is directly under the flightpath to Heathrow, as you can see!
 the Pagoda, taken into the sun, almost looks as if it's lost in mist
 and the views from the top of the walkway show just how tall the trees are

 back down on ground level, I walked through the frosty grass to the Temperate House - closed, as you can see, for restoration - it won't re-open till 2018

back round to the lake by the Palm House, where with the shifting sun the dogwoods looked even better
 and the ducks and gulls were still skating on the ice!
 beautiful reflections

 from the lake I walked through the woodland garden to the Princess of Wales glasshouse to warm up before heading home - love the funghi on this log
 taken into the sun for a sillhouette, the waterlily pond in the POW glasshouse
 and outside, the leaves had frozen into the water on the rill running round the POW glasshouse
past the Nash conservatory, to the exit and my way home.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

London, Dickens style, for Christmas

Lin and I went up to London today for another of the Charles Dickens guided walks  that we enjoyed so much before. this one was based on his Christmas books, and took us round the City alleys and hidden churchyards that feature - or are supposed to feature, in Dickens' Christmas stories. Supposed to, because as the guide said, Dickens kept the exact locations vague.  It was another fascinating tour.

We met however, at Kings Cross, and walked down to Tottenham Court Road (where we "happened" to pop into the flagship Paperchase store.... oops) sorry, where was I?  - past the St Pancras Hotel

 which is a truly gorgeous looking building

 we met the tour group at Bank tube station - by the Royal Exchange which has a fabulous Christmas tree outside

 and a very beautifully decorated entrance
 not to mention one of the Paddington's that are all over London to mark the release of the Paddington movie.

 and some Bus Art - which isn't something I'd heard of but will be looking out for more of these
first stop on the tour (and I can't remember all the stories; which isn't much help..)
 but this one I do remember - the George and Vulture - the pub where the Pickwick Club was founded and where the Dickens family even now meets on the Friday before Christmas for their family Christmas meal.

 Leadenhall Market - don't think I've ever been here before, but it's beautiful
 the tour guide Richard, in full Victorian costume (and megaphone today, as he'd lost his voice, but with a big group of 40, I think that would have been sensible anyway)

 the back of the George and Vulture
The tour finished about 4, so it was dark but Richard pointed us in the direction of One Exhange - for a glass lift ride up to the skyline to see some views over London... I persuaded Lin that as she's been brave on the tube today, we should check it out...
 Fab decorations on the way up (they were redder in real life)
 and boy, was the view worth it...
 and the sun was setting

 and London was looking fabulous!

 love the reflection of the sunset in the glass restaurant windows, and the fabulous cranes all around the skyline.

coming back down in the lift.
 and at ground level,
 beautifully lit trees

 and another Paddington!

 selfie time in a metal sculpture

it really was a lovely day, thanks for the company Lin, can't wait to to it again.