I spent last weekend in London with my stepmother. I am not one for city crowds and, although we do sometimes go to exhibitions and the like, she knows that most of all I like to mooch about her stomping ground of Belsize Park, Primrose Hill and Hampstead – when I say mooch, I don’t mean the shops (I am not thin enough or rich enough for most of the shops) but just the streets and parks. It is a lovely part of London with many a curving street lined with a mishmash of architectural styles, some cute and cottagey and others refined and imposing and with the odd modern building slotted in. It is a hilly area (good for burning off almond croissants from the farmers’ market — although this visit, we had chocolate brownies instead) offering glimpses of marvelous views.
I left Mark with the cats, a well stocked freezer and Sky-sports, and got to Freda’s late morning on the Friday. After an iced coffee and chocolate brownie, we meandered through Hampstead up to Fenton House – a gorgeous National Trust house and gardens; the sort of place that is elegant without being so grand you couldn’t picture yourself living in it. The house also contained collections of china and needlework, that were very beautiful (one teapot in particular would really have added something special to my own collection!). I particularly like the way the hedges and topiary in the garden form a kind of living ‘ha-ha’ and you can not see the beautiful sunken gardens until you walk through the garden itself.
As we walked back through Hampstead, Freda pointed out the Du Maurier’s house (as in Daphne) – which happens to be next door to film director Ridley Scott’s London house.
The late afternoon sun was catching the leaves beautifully…
The next day we cheated and got the bus as far as Jack Straw’s Castle and spent the day wandering around Golders Green Park, Golders Hill and the wonderful pagoda, rounded off with a visit to the butterfly house.
Saturday evening saw us dining with my sister and family followed by seeing ‘the curious incident of the dog in the night time’ at the Apollo Theatre. Wow! Quite possibly the best thing I have ever seen at the theatre…if you possibly can, go and see it (I warn you though my sister was crying her eyes out at the end – real proper sobbing – so best take tissues…and something to ease the blisters on your hands from applauding).
Sunday – another gloriously sunny day, was our day to revisit the Chelsea Physic Garden. I went once about 14 years ago and it made an impression then, and I was not disappointed this time either. A little bit of Heaven in the middle of London.
It was one of those weekends where we did so much it felt like much more than a weekend…and next time the Secret Garden and Kenwood House!