Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Day Trip from London

Even though I’ve been short on time lately, I wanted to enjoy the autumn colors here locally before they all fade away.

Two weekends ago, I decided to go to RHS Garden Wisley, located in Surrey, southwest of London. Trains depart about every 30 minutes from Clapham Junction, so I left from there with my bike. I exited at West Byfleet station and cycled along a wonderful (albeit very muddy) bike path that follows River Wey for about 20 minutes before I arrived at the gardens. The weather was a chilly 5C (about 40F), and even though I had lots of layers on, the English weather is always damp and seems to seep into my bones no matter what!
My muddy bike path along the River Wey, leading to the gardens.
Alas, because of the cold weather and fading sunlight, I didn’t spend as much time wandering around Wisley as I would have liked. But I managed to see some fabulous foliage around the lake in the Seven Acres section and near the Glasshouse.

The lake at Seven Acres provided some beautiful water reflection photos. There was a bonfire of rusts, golds and browns.
And lucky me, I even saw a pretty grey heron that kept gliding through the air and resting around the water. When I see wildlife like this, I wish I had a better telephoto lens.

Near the lake, don’t miss the Chinese Pavilion, originally built in the style of a Chinese temple for an exhibit at the 2005 Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. There’s also an interesting, gigantic tree nearby called the Wisley King, a type of sweet gum tree. The leaves smell kind of like eucalyptus when you crush them in your hand.
Throughout the garden, you’ll also find some pretty berries such as the striking red and green holly bushes and these bizarre purple berries on the “Imperial Purple” (callicarpa bodinieri), which I had never seen before.

Even though I spent only an hour at Wisley, the autumn scenes and photos were definitely worth it!
A cute English red robin near the Glasshouse.

Pop into the Glasshouse to warm up and for some lively, colorful flowers.


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

This past weekend, I attended my first rugby world cup game viewing and my second Guy Fawkes night in London.

Waking up at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday – my day off – was not my idea of fun, but we had to get to a pub around 8 a.m. to secure a table to watch England play rugby against South Africa. This American gal had no idea what was going on during the game and inquired if a player had scored a “touchdown.” Ha ha!

We popped into Fulham Market to watch the rugby game, but it was standing room only.
So we ended up at an Irish pub around the corner.
After a full English breakfast and two hours of sports watching, I settled in for a long nap back at home because we had big plans for the evening. The weather threatened to ruin our night with heavy rains and high winds all day, but by 7 p.m., the skies had calmed. Hubby, myself and four friends and their two kids headed over to nearby Battersea Park.
Every year around the 5th of November, local communities host Bonfire Night parties to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night, which marks the anniversary of the discovery of a plot organized by Catholic conspirators to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London in 1605. I still feel like this is a bizarre tradition, but hey, I’m all for a party and bit of fireworks. And lucky for us, Battersea Park hosts one of London’s best fireworks displays, which lasted nearly 30 minutes this year.

Hope you enjoy the photos in this post! Our group had a blast and ended the night back at our place with chocolate martinis for the gals and American bourbon for the guys.

Cheers from London!

And here was the finale!