We set the alarm for 8 but still got a slow start in the end. Weather is overcast and cool but so far doesn’t look like rain. Carole wanted to seek out some gardens but we decided to have a wander in Hyde Park first. Before we could get through the gates, however, we discovered that all along the Bayswater road fence of the park, artists and crafts people were displaying and selling their stuff. We spent nearly an hour walking along and looking at the pictures, prints, stained glass, enamels and some other odds and ends. No jewelry which was surprising. It was like a free art gallery!
One thing I really liked were some watercolours for children's rooms with their names on it. Some were birth announcements. Some had animals or just images surrounding the name. Really sweet. Another kids' print had an old fashioned picture, maybe of little animals dressed up with a little bit of prose hand written above and below the picture. A few other water colour/sketches with London scenes were quite nice and I wish now I had bought a print that this one gal had, cartoons of sheep with bodies that were big white blocks with tiny black blobs for head, ears and legs! I did buy a frame with three enameled small tiles inside with ships on them.
Finally inside the park, we saw an Italian Gardens with fountains and statues at the head of the Serpentine, a long narrow man made lake that neatly divides Hyde park into two halves. This was created for Queen Caroline, wife of George II in 1727-31. Most of these parks really are that old or older, some back to Tudor times. We meandered along the path following the Serpentine. We stopped to watch some little girls looking at the Peter Pan statue which is made of bronze and covered in little figures of fairies and small animals under Peter himself. A little farther we stopped for tea at the park café. It wasn't too cold to sit outside at a table by the lake. The bottom of the lake is near "Rotten Row", that's a road that was built in 1690 to connect St. James Palace and Kensington Palaces. In French, "Route de Roi" or King's Road which is extended into King's Road, Chelsea. Later on it was the place to see and be seen, driving carriages and riding horses and indeed we did see horses and riders in the park today.
The sun finally came out briefly in time for us to see the rose garden and we had a nice look around at the plants there. We left the park then and headed across the road to Green Park, with Buckingham Palace our ultimate destination after a stop at the Canada Monument for a photo. It's in two parts, in a wedge shape, which points in the direction of Ottawa I think, with maple leaves carved into it and water streaming down the flat surface. Sun's gone again.
Over to the Palace. We missed the Canadian regiment that is taking turns guarding the Palace this month, they just changed and will be back Tuesday but we won't be here. Carole had a look round while I waited by the Victoria statue, having been here a couple of times before. We grabbed a sausage from a vendor in Green Park on our way back to the underground, worshipped at the Great Money God of the Wall on Picadilly and took the tube back to the hotel. We had a rest and a cuppa and decided to try a restaurant that a friend of mine told me about that was nearby.
We left early, hoping to be back for 7:30 to watch corrie but we didn’t make it. The restaurant is called Kalamara's on Inverness Mews. I've got a review of it in this journal. We arrived at 5:30 and didn't get out until after 8, a lovely leisurely dinner. We had a browse in the souvenir shops on the way back to the hotel. Up at 7 tomorrow to get the train from Euston.