Thursday, 28 October 2010

Primrose, Regents, and Consulting the Detective

Map of Primrose Hill Park and Regent's Park.

Late Sunday morning promised a day of chilly sunshine. We don't know how many more such days we will be blessed with while we're in England. The obvious course of action for the day was to spend it outside. Our plan of action was to go to Primrose Hill Park at the northern edge of central London. There, we'd been told, we could get a panoramic view of London from the top of a hill.

And so we did. The photo doesn't do the view justice since this view is facing the south, more or less into the sun. Towards the right upper corner you may be able to make out St. Paul's Cathedral.
Many people showed up in the park for the same reason we did, to catch the view, and as you can see quite a few of them brought their dogs along.

Erika had hoped to go to Camden Market, but I wasn't in the mood to go shopping among tons of people. I preferred to stroll through The Regent's Park, one of several royal parks dotting London.
Statue carved from wood in The Regent's Park.

This is known as The Hub. It stands in the middle of dozens of football pitches. Volunteers from the football clubs using the pitches serve sandwiches, pizza, and drinks in the cafe perched atop the mound as you see above. The view allows diners to watch football games from all over the fields. Under the cafe are
changing and excercise rooms.

The Honest Sausage, a bit of German gemuetlichkeit in the park.
A gate looking out from Queen Mary's Garden. While primarily a rose garden, this part of The Regent's Park also contains a small Japanese garden.
As you can see, the sun was shining brightly on the roses that day. The roses bloomed and scented beautifully.
This little guy, one of several statues in the garden, wants to do something harmful to the vulture.

Black swans swimming in the Garden's pond.
Part of the Japanes garden.

'Can we play some football now? This is getting boring.'

A grey heron squatting on a branch.

The mayor of London introduced this idea to get more Londoners out of their cars. People can rent these bikes, first half hour free, to cycle around town. They simply leave them at another bicycle stand. They are all over central London. They have not made it out to the outer boroughs such as Ealing.

Between the rental bicycles and the Boating Lake we wandered through the campus of Regent's College. One doesn't expect to find a major college in the middle of a premier park, but there you have it.

London's main mosque as seen from The Regent's Park

The Boating Lake in the park
We spent quite a bit of time in the park strolling in Queen Mary's Garden, smelling roses every now and then. The Boating Lake, outside of the Garden but still in the park, attracted many people seeking, like us, some contact with nature in an otherwise intensely urban environment. There were few people renting boats on a chilly day, but hundreds took advantage of the sunshine.

A couple of blocks from the park we visited 221B Baker Street, the former residence of Sherlock Holmes. You can take a virtual tour here.

Nothing gets past her. Nothing. Trust me.

Dr. Watson regales his guests and me in Holmes' study with
accounts of his many adventures with the analytic detective.

As you can probably imagine, Holmes' former residence is filled with memorbilia relating to his life and famous cases. There are also scenes re-enacted by wax figures and in drawings to bring those cases alive.
In Holmes' own hand.

We had a lot of fun in this museum, and in the gift shop we bought a graphic novel of Holmes' first case, A Study in Scarlet, as recorded by Dr. Watson.

Eventually it was time to go home. Instead of taking the tube, which has a station on Baker Street, we decided to take a bus and see where it took us. By this time, unfortunately, the camera's batteries had run out of juice. We got on the bus going to Oxford Circle in the middle of prime London shopping, and we rode it to its end. Humoungus crowds of people jostled each other on the sidewalks. Christmas lights were already strung over the streets. The streets were congested with cars inching along.

When we reached Oxford Circle we saw a bus heading for Acton Green, not too far, we thought, from our house in Ealing. After exploring the large Apple store with a large herd of other people, we found the right bus stop and got on the Acton Green bus. Because of the heavy traffic, the bus moved slowly and stopped at nearly every bus stop to let out and let in more riders. We passed the Marble Arch in Hyde Park and then drove along Bayswater Road, the street bordering the north side of Kensington and Hyde Parks. The bus passed through Notting Hill, Shepherd's Bush, and after a lengthy time we arrived at Acton Green. The Piccadilly Line of the underground passed nearby. Rather than take the tube, we walked up to High Street, almost a mile, to catch the bus that goes by Benedict's school and on to Northfield Avenue. While it took a lot longer to get home by bus than by tube, we did get to see parts of London from the bus that we might otherwise have ignored.

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