Walking back from an appointment this morning, I had a choice, go by the road or through the park (about 15 minutes longer)? I followed my gut instinct and went through the park. I wasn’t planning on taking photos, I hadn’t planned to go through the park, so it’s just my camera phone again (using my favourite Hipstamatic), but still, good to grab a bit of sunshine. Here’s to the extra 15 minutes.
I am not a massive fan of the science museum (I almost had to drag myself past the V&A entrance today), principally because I’ve been going to the science museum pretty much all my life and well, it doesn’t change much, although to quote Girl Lacer, history doesn’t exactly change. So I went round there today, armed with my camera, challenging myself to look at the small details and ended up hunting for circles, so that was fun (I am so in love with the picture on the bottom left). There was something new though (to be honest, I’m being a bit unfair on the science museum, there normally is something new), the very subtly sponsored (and I’m not being ironic) Google Web Lab, now that was definitely fun.
You could make music with people both in the lab and visiting the lab online (the whole place sounded amazing and you can actually get a chance to play along, using the instruments in the museum on this website, do it, it’s rather relaxing), get a robot to draw your picture in sand, spy live and in 360° on a 24 hour bakery in the US and find out where servers were (which you can also do this on the website).
We then finished off with the old favourite Launch Pad, actually not as crowded as it could be on a school holiday, but still pretty crowded.
There were a couple of negatives though, the Science Museum are employing a new (to us anyway) tactic of getting people to file past what looked suspiciously like a cash register on entry to the free museum, with big signs up saying suggested donation £5. Now I agree, the Science Museum, like all public institutions are probably struggling a bit financially right now but not everyone who goes to the museum can easily donate that sort of money and the South Kensington museums are pretty much the only place you can go in London that’s free anymore. So to file past the museum employee without giving money is pretty guilt inducing and not a great feeling to start your visit. Maybe if they’d just said ‘donations’ without giving a suggested amount, that would have been better, giving a suggested amount makes anyone who gives less feel mean and possibly actually discourages those who could give more from giving more.
The other negative was the price of the food, we stopped off for a snack mid morning, (four drinks, four snacks), £15! Later on we had lunch, with by now me and Mr. Lacer feeling so cautious about the food prices, both of us just having a packet of crisps each, whilst the kids each had a sandwich, a packet of crisps and a drink, another £15! We by now weren’t feeling quite so guilty about not donating at the front entrance. We really should have bought a packed lunch with us. So be warned if you venture there.
I finally got round to taking a parcel that I’ve needed to send off for ages to the DHL office today, one of the reasons why it took me so long to send it was because the nearest place I could go to send it off was in Lambeth, which is a bit much for what really should come under the category ‘quick errand’. So I had to combine it with something and the nearest thing was Battersea Park, so I went to Battersea Park and …. it …. was …. freezing, which is not exactly that much of a surprise as pretty much the whole of March has been the same (another reason why I delayed dragging myself out to Lambeth). Still, good to get out of my own small little world every now and then and the only time I’d previously been to Battersea Park was during the Jubilee when it was raining, extremely overcrowded and my right arm was in a sling, so it made a nice contrast.
Temporarily living somewhere slightly different means that the starting point for my walks has shifted about a mile, which means that Richmond Park is now, although still possible to get to, a bit of a drag to get to whereas the river is a lot closer. I had managed to ‘injure’ my injury prone feet whilst packing, I say ‘injure’ because actually I didn’t injure them in the conventional sense, although Boy Lacer may have stood on them at some point, he does that so often I actually don’t really notice anymore, until I start limping that is, but no, I have pes cavus and although surgically corrected so that my feet are way better in my 30s than they were in my 20s, they’re not perfect and spending a week on my feet packing and lugging heavy boxes was obviously too much for them. So I had to put any walking plans on hold for even longer than the original walk embargoing house of sickness that originally stopped my walks back in December. But anyway, today I walked.
The plan was to head along the Thames to see if I could walk further than I normally walk, as I didn’t have to worry about such a long walk back as I normally do. There’s this point, a curve in the river, which I never seem to get to walk around, it’s always the point where I turn back and I desperately wanted to see what was on the other side.
So I walked to the curve, which to be honest is a walk I’ve done quite a lot and is a little boring (although perfectly pleasant, although maybe not in January in the snow) but I spotted this guy -
- and I learnt (after wiping a snow covered tourist information board) that this part of the Thames used to be used as a test run way for water planes. And then I got to the curve, what was around the corner? Not a Thames pathway, that was for certain, as I was forced back up onto the road. I walked on for a bit, hoping to find a way back to the river but gave up in the end, however I did spot another piece of local history that I didn’t know was there.
An old abandoned water works that apparently played a significant role in reducing cholera in London (I love being able to google things when I’m out with my iPhone).
So now I know, unless I am willing to cross over to the other side of the river, there is no point walking further than the curve. I think next time I’m going to head in the opposite direction!
The kids have been poorly, so no walk for me this week, that and the fact that it is FREEZING, much colder than it normally is (I think today the high was -4C in my neck of the woods, the low was -9C and all the time the city dweller in me is going “Don’t like this, don’t like this at all, this is London for christ sake”) and wisdom tooth number *god I lost count* has started crumbling away and I’ve lost a filling in another tooth and so every time I go out in the cold my mouth hurts like hell. So none of this is conducive to walks (although I was tempted this morning as the frost / freezing fog combo did look pretty) but anyway, the kids were well enough this late afternoon to make it to Girl Lacer’s orthodontist appointment, the photo above was taken on the way (just outside Richmond).
Preparing for the refurbishment is going at full steam here, I’m kinda hoping that the actual refurbishment won’t be anywhere near as much hard work for me (and more like hard work for the builders I seem to be spending my entire life emailing at the moment) but anyway at the moment it’s all about trying to find somewhere else to live whilst the work is going on, discussions about dishwashers and picking tiles and bathroom suites and taps (which is nowhere near as exciting as it sounds, when mindful of exactly how much the short term let is likely to cost, that the only things you can really go for in your bathroom is cheap). So I was doing a lot of that yesterday, on what was nominally at least meant to be my only day off of the week (as in day off from the job), so when I woke up this morning irritable, I realised I needed to declare today my ‘day off’, never mind that I have 3 hours of shifts today, no this was a day off from builder / refurb stuff. So I pondered what to do with my ‘day off’ and I realised pretty instantly that I needed to be outside (or maybe I just needed to be away from the very ‘object’ that had made me wake up irritable, i.e. the flat) but this was not the day to be outside considering it had rained all night (again), was still raining and even heavier rain was forecast. It was a toss up between the allotment or going for a walk, so really a decision on which way I was going to get wet and muddy, I opted for the park.
(All photos today were taken with my phone using Instagram, I had decided not to take my camera because I didn’t want to get it wet and I wasn’t that hopeful of any decent photo opportunities anyway, of course I regretted it, I came across the most gorgeous group of deer for a start, browsing bracken under a tree but Instagram’s good, I’m not a photo snob).
Now I’ve been to Richmond Park a lot recently (“you don’t say” moan my few remaining readers – sorry I know it’s all I ever blog about, trust me things are being embroidered, books are being read and things being cooked, just difficult to finish anything at the moment) and I often aim to swing round Penn Ponds (two large ponds in the middle(ish) of Richmond Park, with a path between the two) but I never make it because I always get distracted by that new and enticing path I haven’t walked down before / haven’t walked down in ages, instead of following paths I’ve walked down so often I could do it blindfolded (i.e the paths to Penn Ponds). So I always aim to head towards Penn Ponds, get pleasurably, mildly lost and never make it. But today I was aiming for Penn Ponds with more of an air of definite determination and then I came across a path I hadn’t walked down before …..
This path was all about open skies (instead of the woods I’m normally drawn to), the gorgeous deep, dark reds of the dying bracken and parched yellows of the dead grass and some utterly glorious puddles (I was wearing wellies and at least for a moment I wasn’t a grown up juggling budgets, builders and letting agents, I was 5).
And there was a mysterious concrete thing I’d never seen before, note the grill, a ventilation point for a secret underground bunker (in my imagination)?
I did make it to Penn Ponds in the end . . .
… but on the greyest of days it was all about colour.