The Eaton Diary of London    2001  

Holland Park

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Thursday August 9, 2001 - Margie's impressions of our visits to Holland Park and National Gallery

Today is grey and rainy and we've just come home after an adventure to change into warm dry clothes and have a hot drink in our warm bright and comfortable place.

I think itís in the Paris episode of "As Time Goes By" or maybe when they're in Los Angeles, when Jean and Lionel wistfully think of "a rainy (or drizzly) day in Holland Park." Well today we found Holland Park tucked away in Kensington. We walked passed lots of rows of white houses with steps and black railing and red brick mansions with bay windows, balconies and architectural frilly bits. Off the Kensington High Road a beautiful red brick and wrought iron gateway opens to a wide path edged with tall plane trees past a cricket oval up a hill. There are generous wooden garden benches along the way. At the top there's a 16th century looking building used for outdoor summer theatre productions and further along some cloisters under which we sat at a table to enjoy hot coffee while it POURED with rain. There were yellow and orange begonia looking double flowers overhanging the arches.

The whole area is so green, with such a variety of foliage. We ventured out with the sun, and discovered the most beautiful formal gardens, just so lovely - roses, dahlias. We went to Kew Gardens the other day only saw 1/5 - but we enjoyed Holland Park more.

We ventured further to discover the woodland area, which was like wild countryside right here in the heart of London! Quite amazing. We followed a stony dirt path through forest with ivy and logs, a slimy pond, holly bushes and huge overhanging chestnut trees. It rained and rained again, all on this summer's day, and it was such a privilege to be there with everything shiny and wet and the fallen leaves patterning the ground vibrant goldy yellow and reddy brown, holly glistening dark shiny green. We splish sploshed along while lightning flashed and thunder roared overhead, and pebbles and little woody gun nut looking things rolled along in the rapidly rising rivulets underfoot. Quite exhilarating and so beautiful!

We went to the National Gallery on Tuesday and the John Constables stuck a chord deep within me. I so love all this earthy stuff. Cool wet autumny weather, dank earth, creeks and old damp mossy logs, rural fences with holly and ivy disregarding them. You can see so much more wonderful detail in the big originals. I saw some in Adelaide, but these were different ones - also the Turners! Amazing! I'm so glad to be living here so I can drop in - this was my 3rd time, and an hour is enough each visit. I went to the Vermeer Exhibition and discovered we have one hanging over our piano back in Adelaide! I so enjoy the Dutch painters. I'm thankful to my mother for introducing me at an early age to "great paintings" It's wonderful to recognise them like old friends when I come across the original.

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Getting there A Summer's Day Flowers Sculptures


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