Thursday, 5 June 2014

Sightseeing in the big city

Saturday 31st May

We thought we’d better exhaust the dog before we left her, so off we went to Hyde Park.  The dog brought a little sunshine into several peoples’ lives by presenting them with little bits of stick and enticing them to play – laughter all round and a happy dog!  We wanted to walk round the Serpentine, but the area was cordoned off for a World Championship Triathlon event, though we could watch some of the racing (unfortunately not the elite runners, they are this afternoon).  This event was open to anyone – I could have done it if I had my bike (and was any good at swimming…)

1 triathlon in hyde park

We walked down to the rose garden, which was at its best and full of scent.

2 hyde park rose garden 1  3 hyde park rose garden 2

We took in the Wellington statue too.

4 wellington statue

On to Marble Arch to see the great horse’s head sculpture -

6 marble arch   5 horses head marble arch

and to be asked directions because we looked as though we knew what we were doing - and home for lunch.  We left Meg with a Bonio and went off to Paddington to get the tube to Charing Cross and Trafalgar Square, but there was a slight hitch which nearly sent us limping back to the boat!  The escalators down from the canal level have signs clearly stating ‘no large luggage to be carried’ – and barriers to stop you – but people still do.  We were just walking off at the bottom when there was a yell from above and luckily Dave had his wits about him and could stop the huge case flying down towards us – if we hadn’t been in the way, the three little girls in front of us would have been mown down.  As it was, we had a couple of minor bruises and the guy who dropped the case will be taking the lift in future!

Anyway, we arrived at Charing Cross without further incident.  We found Trafalgar Square packed with a huge outdoor stage where the Indonesian tourist board were staging an event, various buskers including this guitarist who was very good – playing ‘Asturias’ which is very difficult.8 amazing guitarist trafalgar square

There was also a demo against the Syrian elections being held around now, as well as the usual crowds enjoying the sunshine.  The fourth plinth held this blue cockerel, whose title is Hahn/Cock.  The artist is German, and Hahn is the German for cock, with the same double meanings as we have.  “Gleefully feminist, the work pokes amiable fun at the vainglorious statues of men (Nelson, George IV, and generals Havelock and Napier) that surround it in this most imperial of British public spaces” says this amusing article

7 4th plinth

We went into the National Gallery and made for the Turners (Dave’s favourite painter).  We were delighted to see Rain, Steam, Speed had been painted at Maidenhead Railway Bridge, where we moored last week – though the actual spot is obscured by the bridge.  You can just see the road bridge on the left of the picture (from Wikipedia, no photography allowed in the gallery).

After some culture from dead white males, we went out into Trafalgar Square to watch some Indonesian dancing  - a folk story and some traditional dancing.

10 dragon and monkey dance 2  11 dragon and monkey dance 3

12 indonesian dancers

Nelson wisely turned his back on all the noise!

13 nelson turns his back on frivolities

We’re still adjusting to the noise and hurry of London but it’s getting easier.

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