This week saw the official birthday of the Queen, her real one is in April but she has a second one when all the pomp and circumstance is rolled out. We got our spot opposite Buckingham Palace at 9am, way ahead of the crowds and waited in the sunshine while men on horses, men in carriages and men on foot kept themselves busy and all dressed up in their very shiniest uniforms. Then finally the royals rolled out in their carriages and there she was – very smiley and with Prince Philip who was completely submerged in a huge bearskin! There was more marching than you can imagine and a 41 gun salute from Green Park. The bands played all the usual marching tunes including one loved by the England football fans which made me wonder whether that had been put into the programme in honour of the evening’s World Cup match against the USA (I’ll gloss over that result!) And for the royal spotters here’s a photo of the classic line up on the Buckingham Palace balcony – see how many you know and yes, Harry was missing!
It was Open Garden Squares Weekend in London when hundreds of gardens are open to the public many of which are private and inaccessible to non residents. A single tickets gives you entry to them all so I rushed around to pack in several of the more unusual including the roof top garden on the Ismaili mosque in South Kensington, where no photos were allowed but you could get access to their modern styled prayer room – even to women. The guide managed to explain the background to the Ismailis in a few minutes so we all left with a better understanding. One of the stars of the weekend was the Kensington Roof Gardens which is a private club and restaurant owned by Richard Branson where the gardens on a sunny day make you feel like you are on a Spanish holiday. They famously have flamingos living there to add to the exotic feel and they are beautifully pink. Other gardens I visited were so big they felt more like parks but there were also tiny treasures just big enough for the houses that surrounded them but all spoke of a life of substantial money and luxury….
Another London treat was the live screening in Trafalgar Square from the Royal Opera House of 3 ballets. This was a wonderful treat as the tickets for the indoor version are terribly expensive and to see it for free with great sound and picture quality was huge fun if a little chilly as it was a particularly poor evening. The programme was 2 modern ballets, Chroma and Tryst followed by a more traditional Symphony in C and to my surprise it was Chroma that mesmerised me with its raw passion and driving score. The dancers wore just singlets and knickers and no ballet shoes so it felt very different to what you would expect from the Opera House and Wayne McGregor’s choreography was completely engaging at all times. These 2 photos show you how the screen works with a close up on Chroma and a shot of the inside of the Royal Opera House to see how the other half enjoyed the show.
A new local pizza restaurant to mention this week – Otto. Started by a couple of young guys who love cornmeal pizza bases and huge toppings. They’ve just opened and started with such a bang that they ran out of food on their first night! Luckily they had restocked by mid week and served a very tasty pepperoni pizza but it does fill you up so certainly go for a half each. They’ve taken over an old cafe which never seemed to work and have kept the casual cafe feel while making it more welcoming so I wish them well.
It’s all world cup for the next month with Wimbledon squeezed in as well as Royal Ascot horse racing so fingers crossed for good weather!
Bye for now,