Staycation…In The Sunshine

There are moments in my expat life that make me realise how much I love living here in the UK.  I am lucky enough to live in beautiful Kingston Upon Thames – a completely accidental find about a year after I arrived – just a 25 minute train ride from London and right by the river (hence the Upon-Thames part of the name). I am up on Kingston Hill – apparently quite a posh bit (so my landlord says in justifying the price of the ‘cosy’ flat I am in!) and only a short walk away from one of London’s most wonderful Royal Parks, Richmond Park.  

Hanging around at home on my little staycation this week has meant that I’ve been able to visit a few times and just enjoy it in the British half-term sunshine.  And on today’s walk, the camera on my phone got a bit of a workout. 

First there was a surprise appearance from the locals grazing by the walking path…

Then this view of the lone bench-sitter really gave a sense of the scale of the view.

This little corner near Ham Gate is at about the three quarter point on my circuit…

  …and Ham Gate pond is gorgeous.

And the final stretch back to Kingston Gate is just perfect for meandering and enjoying the solitude.

I came home smiling and relaxed (and a little damp with perspiration from the ‘heat’ and the final walk home up the hill).  You know, there’s lots of talk these days about ‘going somewhere’ – on holidays, at work, in life generally.  But I love days like this.  They remind me to just enjoy the journey…and that the destination more often than not, will take care of itself.

Hope this inspires you to find the magic in your great outdoors.

Life in London… Through the Lens

During the visit of Mum & her partner, we managed to get around all sorts of parts of London and I found myself getting a little snap-happy before forgetting that I do live here and do not have to capture every moment tourist-style…and I got all sorts of fab shots but there are some particular faves I want to share (or rather show-off about)…check these out!

I loved the lonely Narnia-style streetlamp in Lewes…

…this snippet of English quaintness in Fleet Street from the top deck of the hop-on-hop-off bus…
…the wicked reflection of this building down a side street opposite The Old Shades in the previous shot (so stoked the pic turned out!)…
…crossing Tower Bridge…things are looking up…
…the Elephant at the Tower (of London)…
…the slightly faded show of English support (not unlike their World Cup performance actually?!)…
…another taste of Narnia finding Aslan in repose at Trafalgar Square…

…as well as the message in a bottle on the 4th plinth…
…and finally the long & winding road/path through Richmond Park.

How could I possibly live anywhere else when surrounded by such inspiration?

And speaking of inspiration, it has come to that special time of year where I must remind you that there are only 28 shopping days before my first birthday since that ‘big one’ last year.  That’s 28 days to be inspired by some interesting, thoughtful and completely unnecessary gift..what a gift it is indeed for you to have a partner/daughter/sister/ friend/et al so helpful in jogging your memory about such important occasions…

Only 29 sleeps to go…

Bus-blogging…of sorts

It has been a gloriously sunny weekend here in SW London and I was out and about on the bus (the No. 65 if you must know) yesterday capturing those blue sky moments lest they disappear.

It all started when I got inspired by the view of Ham Common bathed in sunshine….
…and I’ve always wanted to snap The Original Maids of Honour in Kew…
…and down by the river in Richmond is worthy of a pic anytime.
Did you see the crocuses coming up in the Richmond pic? And I walked past my first daffodils for this year (well they were in someone else’s front garden, but there they were, all hopeful and happy.) 
Spring may have really sprung!

A Park About Politics….

So it was announced at the end of last week that car parking charges are to be introduced to Richmond Park.  All I can say is ‘thank God it’s over!’

The issue of car parking charges for Richmond Park has been used by politicians, most recently Zac Goldsmith, to wave the flag of ‘we are the voice of the community’ and general ‘defender of the everyman’ and I am heartily sick of it.
Sick of sensationalist flyers being pushed through my letterbox.
Sick of emails (trying to be inflammatory) requesting my signature on a petition.
Sick of unrelenting requests to attend rallys to demonstrate against this.
Not one party has delivered anything on this issue other than sensationalist rubbish.  Where was any understanding demonstrated about the massive cost of upkeep to Royal Parks which all of us are free to use?  What about the preservation of a wonderful, natural space for people to enjoy?

Don’t get me wrong.  I think there are a multitude of issues here and living near Kingston Gate, I do wonder whether we will have a return to careless (and sometimes ridiculous) parking exploits in the surrounding streets and whether any parking fine revenue raised (and there will be!) will be added to the coffers for the upkeep of the park itself.  But I am tired of the grand-standing and the lack of substantive information on this issue particularly given one MPs ‘soap-box’ stance on this following their move from Green to Tory party MP for the constituency.  

My hope is that MPs will now focus on issues for the community, ones that will make a real difference to people living in the borough rather than the ones who may (or may not) visit it.  We have just come through one of the most difficult economic periods in the last few decades and I would like to see a focus on responsible economics and community values…

Let’s see who delivers.