So on Saturday, I had been intending to walk up to the Rookery, but the weather was so inclement that I decided on a bus trip instead. The only bus in Streatham that I'd never been on is the 57. A strange, non-London looking bus with a white top on it, which claimed to go all the way to Kingston. Well, why not? One rolled up to the bus stop as I was looking for a bus, and I got on it.
And as I looked up Kingston on a map (I've been there once before, with the ex boyfriend who managed to make everything Not Fun) I realised that it was directly across the river from Hampton Court Palace. To which I'd never been as an adult, but which I'd always been fascinated by, due to the many articles about it by Mark Girouard and other Country Life types.
The bus took forever, fitting together bits of London I never understood how they fit together - the Tooting/Wimbledon intersection, for one. Coombe Hill, which was so utterly, completely Not London with its McMansions, that it scared me. And then Kingston, which looks pretty much like any other provincial town/small city in Not London, with its pedestrianised high street and its department stores.
Walked across the river, dropped off the main road into the Home Park, and suddenly it was like being out in the country. Even the traffic noise dropped away, endless grassland and rows of marching trees, both newly planted and ancient. Walking up the main avenue, with glimpses of brickwork in the background, my eye was caught by a pile of sandy coloured stuff I thought to be a dog. But no, there was no owner nearby, so I decided it must be a log. Then it raised its head and proved itself to be a STAG!!! And suddenly there were dozens of them, all around, me, dozing and grazing in the grass, cautious, but not unfriendly. Dappled, brown and tan and buckskin coloured, stags and does and babies. It was almost magical.
Went through huge iron gates (unlocked as there is no charge for the garden at this time of year) and into the formal gardens. I suppose it depends on how you feel about topiary, really. I love formal gardens, the order and beauty, the old fashioned hidey-holes that made me wish I had a lover to court there.
Walked all around the house, though I prefer the older, Tudor bits to the shining and grand William and Mary bits, but did not go in. Another day, perhaps. And though I did not go in the maze, either, it was enough of a maze finding my way out of the formal gardens back to the river. So I took the long way around, past Thames Ditton and Seething Wells, admiring the barges and cottages. I'd love to live on the Thames, especially on one of those islands.
Then on Sunday, the London Psychogeographical Rambling Assocation went to visit the Battersea Power Station:
But that will have to wait for another day, as it's nearly time for rehearsal. God, I'm not looking forward to dragging all my gear across town. I'm not sure I can carry on with weeknight rehearsals.