“….when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life, for there is in London all that life can afford” Dr Samuel Johnson 1709-1784.
The next stage of the Grand Tour finds us in London, having left the Viking Star and flown from Athens to Heathrow. The whole process took us a day and we arrived at our lodgings in Chelsea at about 8pm. A bit tired, but we managed to charge across the road and pick up a few supplies from the local Sainsburys. We are staying at Nell Gwynn House for six nights ahead of the Chelsea Flower Show. It is an apartment type block with self catering facilities, so we are eating in for breaky and also some evening meals. It is not far from a tube station so it is easy to get around the city.
Nell Gwynn House is named after one of Charles II mistresses, it seems he had at least 5. An energetic fellow with some skills. Her biography indicates she was one of the first English comic actresses and also a prostitute, she died in 1687 at the age of 37. The building we are in was built in 1937 and has 437 flats. It is quite a pleasant place to stay. Above the portico entrance is a statue of Nell and it is the only statue of a royal mistress in London. Maybe there are some elsewhere!
Following a day of R & R and watching some of the Australian election outcome we headed out to Kew Botanical Gardens. We had decided that this time in London we were going to see some of the attractions and locations away from the city centre. It was an overcast day with some light drizzle from time to time, rather English. The Gardens had a special exhibition with the glass blown works of Chihuly, a Canadian, scattered around the landscape. We have seen this fellow’s work before in Seattle. It is pretty spectacular.
Being towards the end of spring, some of the flowering displays were a little past their best But the summer flowers were now appearing. It was all very green, with some great big old trees in a grassy park like layout over many acres. As well as the expansive 19th century glass houses with international and regional plant displays.
After leaving the Gardens we went on down to the Thames at Richmond, thwarted some what by the high tide and consequential flooding of the riverside streets. So instead we had a drink in the Fuller Smith precinct and watched some of a local cricket match on the medieval Richmond Green before heading back to Chelsea for dinner.
A feed of fish n chips at a local oyster bar, not the cheapest fish n chips and certainly not the best.
But, we were hungry and ready for rest!