Elephants and tennis and more sunshine…

The London heatwave continues much to everyone’s surprise and there was not a single rain stoppage at Wimbledon – must be that centre court roof acting as a anti rain device! This week’s blog focuses on the elephants and the tennis, with a street party and some Pride thrown in.

All the elephants that have been scattered around London for several weeks now were gathered together for a final parade before being auctioned off for the Indian elephant charity. I went down, as did so many other Londoners, as they were an irresistible sight. I’ve limited myself to just a few new photos but there were 250 to delight the snappers! The location was the old Chelsea Hospital which is famous for being the home of the annual Chelsea Flower Show but more famous for being the home of the Chelsea Pensioners. The hospital which was more a place of refuge for servicemen, was founded in 1682 by Charles 11 for veterans. It still does the same work for about 400 residents tho’ has accepted a servicewoman (!) and the average age is 83 for these famous red coats that we can see out and about and on special occasions. It’s a very large and grand site that you can wander round with a museum and shop so I’ve included one photo of one particularly impressive section.






Then it was off to Wimbledon as I’d been lucky enough to win 2 tickets in the public ballot for court 1 on the final day of the tournament. This meant we could get in early without joining the huge queue and spend time on Henman Hill as well as in our alloted seats. Being the last day the main event was on centre court but the Hill was great fun and absolutely packed and is a fun way to watch on the big screen – see photo. We then went onto court 1 to rest our weary bottoms (!) and saw the wonderful Martina Navratilova in the invitation doubles, and then Pat Cash in the invitation mens doubles – always good to see old champions at play. I love wandering around Wimbledon, Pimms in hand and we even caught sight of Nadal in the flesh as he waved to the crowds after his match.



Nearly forgot to mention Pride – a massive gay event which took over the centre of London with streets closed, amazing get up and huge fun being had – have a look at Trafalgar Square to see what I mean!







Just one more thing to mention is our annual street party. Where I live in Notting Hill we are in a cul de sac which has a little garden in the middle so each year the neighbours gather in it to catch up and have a few glasses of wine together. It’s always great fun and makes London feel like it’s a neighbourly place to live rather than the big beast it can seem like sometimes…




I’m off to USA for a couple of weeks so don’t think there’ll be any blogging until I’m back on 23rd so have a great time!

Bye for now, Sue http://itsyourlondon.co.uk/

Party time – the big launch…

It’s been a busy week at It’s Your London not because of tourism but a big charity launch event I was organising. We held a fabulous party at the 20th Century Theatre, known as ‘Notting Hill’s best kept secret’, which used to be an active theatre with non other than Laurence Olivier making an appearance here in 1925! It was built around 1860 and Charles Dickens read his work from the magnificent stage so there were lots of good vibes around. We launched Arts Mentoring (http://www.artsmentoring.wordpress.com/), which is set up to send artists and performers to world with disadvantaged children around the world. The party was a blast with brilliant performances from Nina Conti and Monk, Tiger Lilly, Rebecca Poole, the Parlour Room and Ian Gray and thanks to all these fine folk for their support. Photos at: http://bit.ly/aQwhjZ . Phew – back to tourism….

The Royal College of Arts was holding its graduate exhibition, called ‘Show’, so we went to see what these talent BA and MA students were up to. Some good glass work, some interesting photos but overall not overwhelming – or was it just me?
We’ve had some beautiful weather so after ‘Show’ we wandered around Hyde Park by the Albert Memorial, which along with the Royal Albert Hall was built by Queen Victoria for her dearly loved and much missed consort Prince Albert. The memorial was given a face lift last year and you can see it here sparkling in the sun and fronted by 2 wonderful elephants.


The Victoria and Albert Museum (see the theme here!) is a wonderful place to visit for its permanent collections and special exhibitions. It is described as the world’s largest museum of art and design but it feels much more with amazing new galleries of medieval artifacts and the massive Cast Courts with plaster versions of huge Roman columns. Perhaps these do come under the art and design heading. I love their precious Ardabil carpet, completed in 1540 in Iran, which can only have lights on it for 10 minutes each hour and is one of the finest in the world. The ceramics are breath-taking and there are many contemporary items too, in fact it’s just wonderful and it’s free! To add to the fun on a good day, there’s a courtyard cafe and when we went it was packed with lunchers and paddling children.
A restaurant well worth a mention this week is El Pirata de Tapas on Westbourne Grove and I made yet another return trip as it is one of my local favourites, serving great tasting small plates at reasonable prices and is always packed. Another place worth telling you about is Coffee Plant on Portobello as people are often wandering up and down looking for a decent coffee. Try these guys- it’s not posh looking but the coffee’s good and they are nice people so that can’t be bad.

The football World Cup starts this Friday with England’s first game on Saturday versus the USA so it’ll be very tense and exciting. There’ll be more about how the World Cup hits London in next week’s blog.

Oh yes before I go, of course we need a few more elephants from the Elephant Parade….

Bye for now.