To Kew Gardens, to meet some people who use the Ship of Fools forums. Kew as always wonderful. A little late for the lilacs, too early for the lilies. The Temperate House is a bit orderly these days but the Palm House delightful. Not much to say about it that fits here really, except that everybody should go.
They seem to like queues though. A queue to pay to get in, a queue to get a cup or tea, a queue to get into the Waterlily House (with a great exhibition of chilis and some Very Important Sub-Tropical Wetland Plants in the corners), a queue to pay for the book I bought. (Garden Natural History by Stefan Buczacki, one of the latest in the Collins New Naturalist series which must be one of the great cultural products of Britain – and one or two of which are among the best natural history books we have – I think everyone should have read Mountains and Moorlands by WH Pearsall)
A lot of queuing to spend an afternoon in one of London’s best parks, which is also one of the country’s best displays of the variety of living things (its more a zoo for plants than an example of a garden types, though it has plenty of those as well), and most of all perhaps one of the top three or four centres for research into taxonony and systematics and evolution in the whole world. Trust me, I’m a botanist.
And I still can’t remember what pollinates horse chestnuts.
Then to the Dove at Hammersmith, one of the iconic riverside pubs and scene of quite a few meets. And they do keep their London Pride well. Fun, though it was crowded and too wet to sit outside.
Threw myself on the mercy of the London bus system to get back home and worked my way from Hammersmith to Wandsworth, then a 37 to Peckham, and a 21 home. With a pint or two on the way.
Overheard on train leaving London Bridge towards Waterloo:
“We’re passing the old Market Tavern. I used to drink in the other one, the Globe. That Richard Harris, you know, the film star, used to come in in the morning. You know, it was open in the morning ‘cos of the market porters. Open from six to eight. Hw used to come in two or three times a month. Drunk as a fish.”