Saturday, 26 November 2016

Sunny morning, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens

This morning, I arrived bright and early at Victoria Coach Station on the Megabus Gold sleeper service from Edinburgh. Not as comfortable as a sleeper train, nevertheless just as economical in terms of time and money. Bright it was indeed; I decided after a coffee and baguette at Pret on Hyde Park Corner to walk right through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.

Below: plenty of equestrians around first thing in the morning; I counted ten all told, riding in pairs, impeccably dressed and maintaining a Hyde Park tradition in this age of the motor-car. Note the speed limit for vehicles in the park is 15 mph - which is around 25 km/h. Despite the early hour and the relatively low number of pedestrians, cyclists and horse-riders, every delivery van and parks police vehicle I saw was sticking religiously to the 15 mph speed limit. No 'bez przesady, Panie'. Rules are rules.

Still autumnal, winter feels weeks away. Despite the clear sky there was no frost this morning, unlike Edinburgh yesterday morning.

Below: the Serpentine, the lake that runs through the middle of the park, attracts many species of waterfowl, including several species of goose, duck and gulls; there are also coots and moorhens, mute swans and grey herons. For me the most interesting birds are the ones not seen in Jeziorki; this cormorant (below) strikes a characteristic pose perched on a bollard in the lake, a gull looks on in admiration. Cormorants are good underwater swimmers, and after immersing itself totally to catch a fish, the bird will dry its wings in the sun. Which means a photographer wanting to snap it from the front needs to shoot into the sun.

Below: The bridge in the background carries West Carriage Drive over the water; beyond the bridge, the Serpentine becomes the Long Water, Hyde Park becomes Kensington Gardens.

Left: a pair of Egyptian geese on top of Henry Moore's Arch (1980) Through the arch, in the distance, stands Kensington Palace, former home of Princess Diana.

Below: zooming in on the Egyptian geese, the larger male to the left. The markings around the eyes give these birds a slightly comical appearance.

At the north end of the Long Water is the Italian Garden; the fountains were not active this morning. I'm standing in Kensington Gardens; on the other side of the decorative pond is Hyde Park.

Below: the foreshortening effect of my Nikon Coolpix P900's zoom lens (here at 380mm equivalent), reels in the spire of St Mary Abbot's church in Kensington Church St, on the other side of Kensington Palace. In the foreground, the obelisk commemorating John Hanning Speke, the Victorian discoverer of the source of the River Nile. A group of frisbee-playing students are warming up.

To my surprise, the walk between Victoria Coach Station and Queensway tube station was a mere 6,500 paces (around 5 km/3 miles). If you approach London in bite-sized chunks of walking, you get to know the city that much better than by depending on public transport for all journeys.

So - to recap the past few days, my itinerary since Monday night has been: Warsaw-Koszalin-Gorzów Wielkopolski-Szczecin-Berlin-Stansted-Edinburgh-London; tomorrow I return to Our City.

This time last year:
Brentham Garden Suburb

This time two years ago:
Ahead of the opening of the second line of the Warsaw Metro

This time three years ago:
Keep an eye on Ukraine...

This time four years ago:
Płock by day, Płock by night

This time five years ago:
Warning ahead of railway timetable change

This time nine years ago:
Some thoughts on recycling

1 comment:

John Savery said...

It's always great seeing old haunts through someone else's eyes. I spent my first year at university (Imperial) living yards from Hyde Park, and it was a regular weekend visit during my first year. We visited it as a family about a year and a half ago.