11 October 2021

London

By The Round Pond, Kensington Gardens

Down to London on Saturday morning then back today. We had a lovely time. We visited our Ian's flat in Shepherd's Bush for the first time. He was so pleased to have us there and the flat was most splendid. Mind you, at half a million pounds it needs to be.

Lovely Sarah was there too. They have been together for a full year now. It seems serious. Funny word to use that isn't it? "Serious" - to describe a relationship that is joyful and loving with much laughter and touch.  In finding each other, they feel less alone in the world and so in a sense less serious! More light-hearted.

We had lunch in "The Ship Inn" at Hammersmith by The River Thames and then we walked back to Ian's little flat before heading up to Camden to see one of his old school friends in a two man play called "Fritz and Matlock". Though the audience was small, the drama was excellent and afterwards we met the TV actor Mike Stevenson who plays a paramedic called Ian Dean in the long-running BBC medical drama - "Casualty". Co-incidentally, he also hails from Sheffield.
Pub on Goldhawk Road, Shepherd's Bush

On Sunday I drilled holes in Ian's walls in order to put up four framed pictures and a floating shelf. This mission was completed successfully without fuss. Then we went off to the nearby "Westfield" shopping centre - the biggest in Europe - where Shirley bought a new coat and we looked at some other items but didn't buy.

By now it was late  - a beautiful autumnal afternoon. We headed over to Kensington Gardens in Ian's electric car - a black and yellow Mini Cooper. After finding a free car parking space we wandered through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park right over to The Albert Memorial.

This stone carving represents "America" and forms 
a corner of The Albert Memorial

It struck me that this gaudy rocket ship of a memorial with its stone carvings, mosaics and gilding was arguably the very pinnacle of The British Empire. A monument to a man but also a statement of imperial self-confidence, achievement and pride. Queen Victoria's German consort died of typhoid in 1861 but his memorial was not fully completed until 1876.
The Royal Albert Hall opposite The Albert Memorial

Back at the flat Ian prepared a delicious vegan stir fry and I made  an apple crumble for dessert using  windfall apples from our own garden.

After a lazy Monday morning we headed back  Up North, stopping briefly at the Northampton motorway services in order to inspect the lavatorial facilities and purchase refreshments kindly prepared by Ronald McDonald. Please don't tell Ian...
Ian with his mama by The Round Pond

36 comments:

  1. Sounds like a good sojourn. But Brewdog Punk IPA in a tin - planet's favourite beer? Which planet?

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    1. Planet 2021. You seem to inhabit Planet 1921. "Lost" lager by Brewdog is excellent. In "Brewdog" pubs the beer comes in barrels, not tins.

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    2. Barrels is different.

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  2. It sounds like a very nice weekend away and no one is huddled up in overcoats, yet.

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    1. The weather was delightful. Sunny and fresh. We have not yet had a frost in Blighty.

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  3. Glad you enjoyed my home town,YP.

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    1. I looked out for you ADDY. Were you hiding?

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  4. Wonderful experiences and beautiful photos. If a crumble is like a crisp, I would love it! I'm assuming it was also vegan. So, what's your recipe?

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    1. Plain flour, brown sugar, crushed walnuts, a handful of rolled oats and then bound together with vegan butter, rubbing through fingertips. This is then sprinkled on the sweetened fruit base. The crumble is then popped in a hot oven for around twenty five minutes. Serve with cream or vanilla custard.

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    2. Oh, my, it is a crisp and has ALL my favorite ingredients. This topping is my very favorite; I prefer it instead of a top crust on fruit pies.

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  5. Oh, my goodness! Is it really difficult to accept the fact that Ian is extremely...successful? Is it thrilling? Is it worrisome? Is it just a thing that's happened? I know you're proud but I also know you're so very proud of Frances and the way she's mothering the beautiful grandbaby she presented you with.
    Well, however it is you feel, it must have been a very fine weekend.
    And now I want an electric Mini Cooper. I used to have a regular one and I still miss it.

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    1. We worry if the bubble will burst but there's no sign pf that right now Mary. The electric Mini is a revelation. Lord the acceleration! And Ian always knows where there is an available charging point by simply checking his smart phone. It is quite incredible.

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  6. Great trip. Kids always want something done when you visit. It's also good to get out of town and see something different.

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    1. We didn't see any Canadians this time. Usually they are carrying ice hockey sticks and gallon drums of maple syrup.

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  7. You had a good time in London; best of all must have been to see Ian and Sarah!
    What's the news from Princess Phoebe's state visit in Canada?
    The biggest shopping center in Europe? Now that sounds a little scary for me; I have never been entirely comfortable around large crowds of people, and am even less so now that I have been vaccined but know of so many who caught Covid-19 nonetheless.

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    1. Princess Phoebe's state visit is continuing in regal fashion. She loves to "explore" faces with her little fingers and made her host's nose bleed. Her host is a Sheffield lad called Richard who works in construction in Toronto.

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  8. I never developed a taste for Scottish 'heavy'. I agree re Brewdog. Their alcohol free is very good for a hot summer's day. I bet the Dragons who turned them down are

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    1. Are what? Sick as parrots? I didn't know they were turned down. Thanks Graham.

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    2. Oh dear. Leaving my sentences unfinished is a bad sign.

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    3. This how dementia be...

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  9. Sounds like a lovely weekend. I hope that you waved to me as you passed through Hertfordshire?

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    1. I saw you hanging your frilly bloomers on the washing line Frances.

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  10. It seems that Ian is living a very happy life right now. Long may it continue.

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    1. He has a happy outlook and enjoys his days. Perhaps right now is his "best life" as they say.

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  11. Sounds like a great visit. You are deservedly proud of Ian. Great photo of him and his Mum. If it were this coming weekend I could have met up with you all (ha). Will be staying not far from Royal Albert Hall at my usual hotel. Heading up to W. Scotland later in the week, so will wave towards (far off) Sheffield as the train passes by. Make sure you are watching around 9 am next Wednesday... :)

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    1. Okay Mary. I guess you are heading north on the west coast line via Birmingham and Carlisle. There should be no midges in the Scottish air at this time of year.

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  12. It's interesting to see such familiar (to me) sights depicted on your blog! I like your pic of the Albert Memorial. That's an interesting angle, and with America front and center! It may not have been quite the pinnacle of the British Empire, though, considering people were still dying of typhoid. Surely modern sanitation elevated us even further?

    A half-mill for a flat in Shepherd's Bush sounds pretty good, actually. I used to walk through that area a lot when we lived in Notting Hill.

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    1. In terms of power and self-esteem, it could be argued that doubts and decline began around 1876. You could get so much more for half a million in and around Sheffield.

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  13. What a lovely weekend you all had YP.
    Do people stop Ian in the street and ask him for his autograph yet?

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    1. That has happened several times! Strangely nobody has stopped me to ask for my autograph. I guess I look quite intimidating.

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  14. Did you see the Queen and learn some Cockney rhyming slang?

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  15. What a poet you are, my friend. I don't think any words have brought me closer to tears when thinking about my children and their mates then, "to describe a relationship that is joyful and loving with much laughter and touch. In finding each other, they feel less alone in the world and so in a sense less serious! More light-hearted." My thoughts exactly, so poignant!! Thank you for your beautiful verse, my dear.
    Ian should know that I am using his cookbooks more and more as we age and the Bear has so much he cannot indulge in these days(like red meat). I want a book devoted to Budda Bowls. At least 150 recipes!!! (I'll bet a Budda Bowl Dessert would be amazing!)

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    1. Thank you for that kind response Sister Donna. Next time I speak to Ian I will tell him of you and your enthusiastic support.

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  16. I never tire of seeing European cityscapes and the variety thousands of years of civilization has created. America is much more uniformly bland by comparison.

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    1. Many British or European citizens take what is around them for granted. I love America for its natural gifts, its people and its wide open spaces - less so its uniform architecture.

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