27 Oct 2014
We haven’t had a day, just the two of us, for a while so today we nominated a You and Me day. And a day without the tube. In jogging gear we walked through South Kensington to Kensington Gardens where we picked up the pace and started to jog until we came across Kensington Palace. This royal residence is the home of not only William and Kate, but also of three cousins of the Queen and their wives, making it a Royal Mansion Block.
We followed the duck pond around through a forest to the Italian Water Gardens, stopping for a couple of quick photos. Onwards up a grassy hill across the road that cuts through the park, and into another leafy forest. You wouldn’t know we were in the middle of London in this place.
Around to the eastern end of the Serpentine, through a grove of bright yellow trees, we continued jogging back to the beautiful Albert Memorial. Queen Victoria loved her Albert and commissioned this gothic revival memorial when he died at the age of 42. The Memorial cost the public rather a lot of money, apparently. (£10million in today’s money!).
“If I was Queen, I’d do this for you.” I announced grandly to my beloved husband with a sweep of an arm.
Crossing Kensington Road, we walked around the Royal Albert Hall, wishing we owned an apartment around here. We passed the Imperial Collage and down to Queens Gate before crossing a block over to Gloucester Road and heading back to our room.
After a wash and rest we decided to visit the Victoria & Albert museum, the worlds greatest museum of art and design, a short walk away.
“Where should we start?” Asked David as we entering the vaulted hall. We inspected the colour coded map.
“How about the Medieval Gallery?” I suggested. The V&A museum is such a labyrinth, that we abandoned our plans of seeking out particular exhibitions and simply explored one chamber after another.
Each room is a treasure trove: a gold covered Monastic Book from 1250; an extravagantly carved altar piece from 1527-1533; Leonardo DA Vinci notebook from 1490-1493, opened at a page explaining the distribution of weight between two men carrying another on a sheet.
I stumbled across an art installation that I loved immediately. A rose of smooshed brass band instruments suspended in no-man’s-land between two floors. Back in my high school marching band days, I’m sure my neighbours would’ve been pleased to see my trumpet smooshed.
The piece is called Breathless, apparently the instruments were flattened by Tower Bridge “one Victorian institution literally knocked the wind out of another” according to the artist Cornelia Parker.
Breathless made me giggle.
The evening was spent back at our favorite local gastro pub. We had a window seat and were halfway through the meal when I noticed a green jeep pull up outside. A woman in tweed and green wellie’s climbed out of the car and opened the back door. Out jumped a woolly blonde dog who was clearly pleased to be here. At first I thought the dog was attached to a walking lead but then the woman lifted another animal out of the car. This is when I heard squealing. The woolly dog was attached to a little black and white pig. It was so funny observing everyone’s reactions when the woman opened the pub door for the dog who came in all wagging tail and sniffing nose and then in trotted the little piggy content to be back on his feet.
“What’s with the pig?” I asked the waiter. He shrugged and said “She just brings them in occasionally”
“I’m glad I ordered the fish” I giggled looking at walls around us decorated with images of pigs.
I couldn’t resist, I walked over to the lady and asked if I could pat her pig. She didn’t mind so I squatted down and put my hand out and the 4 month old pig trotted over and pressed his pink nose into my hand. I tickled his head between the ears and noticed how course it’s hair is. The blonde dog looked on expectantly so I gave him a pat too. They were clearly used to each other this odd couple.