I spent some time in the Royal Botanic Gardens – the oldest botanic gardens in England and savoured the sweet scents of flowers mixed with freshly cut grass – it was like sitting in honey without the stickiness. It was a little wild and scraggly – particularly after all the rain and the gardeners were out in force with their lawnmowers and clippers.
I also visited New College and Edmund Hall. You have to pay to enter each of these places, but well worth the money when the sunshines. Unfortunately, after a while they wreacked havoc with my nose.
I will just give you a taste – some of these gardens were past their prime and it has rained and rained but for an Australian used to a browny yellow landscape – the lush green was refreshing.
On Wednesday we managed to cram all our stuff back into our suitcases, clean the apartment and catch an early bus to London. At Victoria we changed bus to go to Bury St Edmunds. What an exciting dash it was into London and out, we managed to pass Elephant and Castle, cross the Thames twice and drove past the Gherkin – familiar territory. We also got to see the Olympic stadium and the enormous Westfields that have to be walked through to access the stadium – completely over the top and out of place.
This flying visit reminded me about a delightful children’s book I discovered at Blackwells. “Katie in London” by James Mayhew, is about Katie’s visit to London with her brother and grandmother. They begin at Trafalgar Square where the grandmother decides to have a tiny nap. The children go and climb on the lion statue, who becomes real and takes them on a flying visit of London – he talks to them and is quite a character. They even go on the London Eye – the lion quivering with fear as he is terrified of heights. He shows them all the landmarks and returns them safely to the grandmother who then wakes up ready for action. Katie and her brother are now far too tired to move. This is one of a series of books by Mayhew – he has done one of the Impressionist artists and another about Van Gogh. These are the sort of books I would encourage a local library to buy – they are a great way of introducing your child to different places and things with an enjoyable story. I was sorely tempted to buy it, but firmly put it back on the shelf after carrying it around for a while. I kept saying to myself “Sarah remember it has to go into that suitcase!”
We are now in Bury St Edmunds for our next phase. We will be here for over three weeks.