I have landed in London where it’s still Autumn. Leaves are falling but luckily there’s still masses of color on the trees. I forget just how much I miss this season.
I’m here for a few days to see my sister & her family, including my nephew Raffy, who are two people I don’t see nearly enough of now that I live abroad.
We’ve done lots of lovely low-key things, like blustery winter walks in Kew Gardens, handily just around the corner from where she lives in Barnes.
We managed to catch the first day of the vintage Kew Christmas fair…
…before squeezing in a lunch at Tate Modern, from where the views were beautiful and made me miss London:
We wandered back along Southbank’s ‘Queen’s Walk’, under the rather resplendent shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral (above, seen here from Tate Modern) and in the general direction of Waterloo, to catch the overground train back to Barnes.
It had the feeling of a French boulevard in a rather Spartan springtime:
I’m not sure I have ever properly considered it before now, but the Millennium suspension bridge (above and below) struck me as looking like it had come straight out of Singapore – it’s so like our DNA Helix Bridge on the Bay.
St Paul’s being almost bang next door to it, the bridge is a lovely contrast to the traditional Cathedral; the living link between the architecture of the past and contemporary art (via the Tate Modern which it leads you to).
We passed the OXO Tower and meandered our way down to the Southbank Centre Book Market, with it’s row upon row of dusty volumes all for sale under the shelter of Waterloo Bridge. I felt a fleeting resentment towards my kindle. It’s one of the only outdoor second-hand antique book markets in southern England apparently and it’s – in a typically British-sort of way – open daily, rain or shine.
A few more steps and we passed by a restaurant I am dying to try, Wahaca, founded by Thomasina Miers who I loved watching in the UK TV series Wild Gourmets. Her chain of restaurants focuses on Mexican Street food and is doing brilliantly by all accounts. Tate lunch was sitting a little heavy so we didn’t have room to stop and try anything.
Skateboarder and stunt bike territory lurked next door. It made me realise that graffiti is something I haven’t seen for a while
Boris Bikes, (below) so-called after Boris Johnson who was the Mayor of London when the scheme was launched, are certainly not stunt worthy and may not be a new concept to the vast majority of Londoners, but they are to me and I LOVE them. The idea of being able to jump on a bike almost anywhere in Central London – renting it for a nominal hourly cost – and be able to drop it off somewhere else has huge freedom appeal to me. It even has a space for your handbag (the bit at the very front).
Cocktails and and dinner at Barnes’ new and wildly successful private members club that’s just opened, Olympic Studios, rounded off what was a lovely day I am only sorry I don’t get to do more often.
9/10 of the beautiful pics in this post were made possible thanks to my lovely new bag given to me by the folks at Aide de Camp.
It’s essentially a glam camera bag at the same time as being so much more…enabling me to lug my proper camera around without making me look like a desperate tourist in the city I was born in. A proper post to introduce it – my new and bestest travel companion – soon.