Monday, 25 May 2009

Westward Kew!

Where better to spend a beautiful hot sunny day than in Kew Gardens. To the left there is a picture of the pagoda. Sadly it's no longer open to the public. They did let people in for a few days a while back but I didn't know and so missed out. Luckily though I can still indulge my fear of heights on the nearby tree walk.

Whatever west London lacks (for not being north or south London apparently) it more than makes up for in fantastic parks. Kew of course is world famous and pretty much a manicured garden of Eden. Richmond Park is very big and full of deer (previously hunted by kings and almost certain to survive long after the fall of the monarchy). I used to think it was a bit boring - just a load of scrub land for the deer to graze but recently I've been making inroads into its vastness and finding loads of interesting bits. The same applies to Bushy Park - on the face of it even less going on than in Richmond Park and visitors are more likely to go to the (admittedly brilliant) Hampton Court across the road. But the plantations here are possibly the most beautiful surroundings I've ever wandered about in. My profile picture was taken there last summer, you can't see much of the flora but I look happy don't I?

The most naturally blissed out I've ever been though was in Marble Hill Park. Not a very big park at all situated in St Margarets. A few summers back I set off through it to walk along the river to Richmond and it was as though I'd stepped into Pepperland. Kids were running about playing and flying kites, happy adults chatting to each other and eating ice creams, everyone seemed to be wearing bright, bold clothing, an orchestra was tuning up and then playing snippets of popular songs, little boats sailed past on the Thames the occupants waving to the people in the park. Magic. Also, nearby is the occasionally excellent Orleans House art gallery (really good outsider art exhibition there a bit back - I'd just seen a documentry about Henry Darger and about a week later this popped up including three of his pictures, unfortunately not very interesting ones. The best thing I came away with was having seen some things by Nick Blinko). And next to Orleans House is York House. I'd been there a few times already before I went to a cinema screening of the Michael Caine version of Alfie and I realised that the building had been used as the sanatorium he goes to. Not only that but the train station at which Millicent Martin meets her husband is St Margarets.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Sorry for the deleted comment above, it was posted before I was finished, strange enough.

    I have obviously missed these green spots when in London! Sounds lovely. Glad to know about them.

    Maybe Marc Bolan had one of these parks in mind while writing his woodlandish lyrics, in his pre-glitter-period.


  3. Who knows, maybe. He was living very near Richmond Park when he died. I used to drive past the tree he crashed into on my way to and from work. I wouldn't have known but on the anniversary of his death someone attached an inflatable white swan to it. I must have had a vague idea of where it was.