Discovering The City Of London-Part1

Written by Nika Garrett on .

Discovering The City of London - Part 1

dedicated to my husband Tim

It is unlike me to leave my camera behind at home and venture out to discover streets of London, armed only with my mobile.

I dropped Zuzia off to nursery together with her Halloween Scooby-Doo outfit and then dashed to Lewisham Hospital to see my husband. I got a special permission from a discharge coordinator (quite a mouthful, especially if you have to say it while stressed out) to drop off some things that Tim needed. I'll be coming back to spend a couple of hours with him in the afternoon, that is during visiting hours.

My destination today is St Sepulchre-without-Newgate, one of many churches in the City of London I need to become quite knowledgeable about within months. Instead of opting for the shortest route I find myself attracted by back alleys near St Paul's and I stumble upon a pub that is on my 'to-do list' .

About the lost world...

Written by Nika Garrett on .

About the lost world of riverside inns and what you can do to save one of the last remaining historic pubs in Chelsea! 

I fear the day when a customer will enquire about a tailor-made pub walk in Chelsea. I may have to reply; 'I regret to inform you that there are hardly any historic pubs left in this area of London. I may only offer a 'ghost' pub walk and refer you to old images that show a great number of pubs immortalised by local artists and photographers.

Chelsea was once blessed with many public houses, some with wonderful views across the Thames.  Chelsea riverside with its houses, shops and pubs appear in many paintings and drawings by Walter Greaves and his brother Henry, sons of a waterman and boat operator. The brothers were local artists who ferried Whistler about the river, just like their father once rowed J M W Turner who spent his last years living anonymously at no 119 Cheyne Walk just next door to The Aquatic, the pub that (needless to say) is no longer there.

GOSH!What a spectacle in London

Written by Nika Garrett on .

GOSH! What a spectacle in London - The Olympic  Opening Ceremony

I wish I hadn't read all the reviews about the Olympic Opening Ceremony. I ended up with a splitting headache, somewhat blurred vision and an apparent inability to form my own views despite the fact that I did spend nearly four hours in front of the telly . In one of the reviews I read that the ceremony was viewed by 26.9 million. If every single person's opinion was  to be voiced, it could possibly cause the most profound confusion..

I wish I had been born British (only for the sake of the Olympic Ceremony) so that I could appreciate every second of what was dubbed 'quintessentially British' and the most eccentric performance . 

Earlier this week as the twitter goes down I turn to the radio only to hear of yet another Olympic blunder with regards to yet another national flag and start to moan myself wishing that the national moans would stop for good and everyone started looking at the bright side.

I was born a moaner, which you may not believe when you look at me smiling.  We Poles love moaning and you may have been by now warned of the fact (as we have 'peacefully invaded' the Isles in great numbers)  that you should only ask a Pole 'How are you?', if you have time to hear of all the things that have gone wrong in their lives. I must admit that at least some of the Brits seem to be mastering the art of moaning very well these days.

Madam Will You Walk?...

Written by Nika Garrett on .

'Madam will you walk? ...And you Sir - will you walk and talk with me?'

'Perhaps we will soon lose the use of our feet, which will develop into pads for pressing accelerator and brake' speculatesTom Pocock in his 'London Walks'  published in 1973, that is the year before I was born.

In the charming, warm and personal book he reminds us that king Charles II walked his spaniels in St James's Park, Dean Swift creator of 'Gulliver's Travels' counted the paces between Chelsea and Westminster, Dr Johnson and Boswell walked down Fleet Street, Horatio Nelson wandered in dark alleys on the night his marriage collapsed  while Charles Dickens was striding over Hamstead Heath.


Written by Nika Garrett on .

About Chelsea Flower Show, Founder's Day at Royal Hospital Chelsea, Diamond Jubilee, Sol Campbell and Barack Obama

It is Wednesday morning, 30th May. I have just dropped Zuzia off to her nursery in Blackheath and I am heading for Chelsea to do some more research for my Royal Chelsea walk  (see scheduledwalks in June 2012)

In fact, what I love most about 'doing research' is chatting with locals that I often bump into while hanging out in Chelsea. Chelsea Flower Show is over so I think of visiting the Royal Hospital Chelsea. The night before I have a look at their website and double-check the opening hours. The museum and the courts are open from 10am to 12pm and then after a lunch break, from 2pm to 4pm. When I get gently stopped at the gate, I must look a bit surprised.  The south grounds of Royal Hospital are closed. They haven't cleaned up after the Chelsea Flower Show yet and then they will be getting ready for  Founder's Day. It is around the statue of king Charles II (the founder of the hospital) that pensioners parade on that day to commemorate the escape of the future king from the parliamentarians. Founder's Day is on 29th May but the ceremony may not take place on that day. This year it will be held on the 7th June that is on my birthday! The way Barbara Denny writes about the event  (Founder's Day of course and not about my birthday;) in Chelsea Past is quite remarkable: 'This ceremony when the salute is taken by a member of the Royal Family, is one of the most moving in London's public calendar, as the elderly men march, remarkably erect despite their age and disabilities, to the music of a regimental band playing The Boys of the Old Brigade.' By the way, last year the salute was taken by Prince Harry.

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