I’ve been taking a week largely away from work just to relax and do things I don’t get to do so much these days. And I’m spending it in androgynous clothing – women’s trousers, tshirts and plimsolls, which hasn’t caused any comments from passers by, although a till assistant in Marks & Spencer did take my payment for a pack of pop sox and offer me a money-off voucher for the menswear department with the comment “if it interests you as well”. By the way, I have such tiny feet (UK size 5½, European size 38) that I’ve often had no choice but to buy women’s shoes anyway, though obviously not with high heels if I’ve been presenting in male mode!
So this week I’ve started walking the Capital Ring, a route around London that links so many unknown places via canal footpaths, parks and open spaces. Who would have guessed that so much quiet open space exists within a few hundred yards of motorways, railways, flight paths, industry and endless housing? I’ve also been visiting art exhibitions in the local area and in central London and spending some time cooking. Here are some of the things I’ve discovered or made so far.
|Beautiful wildflower meadow at Syon Park, still the estate of the Dukes of Northumberland|
|The Great Conservatory at Syon Park (1827) which was to inspire the Palm House at Kew and the Crystal Palace|
|The Duke of Northumberland's cat!|
|The Grand Union Canal from Birmingham meets the River Brent at Osterley|
|Millennium Maze at Hanwell, planted with 2000 yew trees. It took ages to get to the middle (only cheats go straight through the gate)! There's a really nice little zoo next to it. Both are free to go in.|
|Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Wharncliffe Viaduct (1838) that carries the Great Western Railway across the Brent Valley. You don't appreciate the massive size of it until you are underneath it.|
|Bitterns' Field, a beautiful, wild, quiet hay meadow ... that was made on an old Ealing Council refuse tip.|
|Piano in the woods, Twickenham. This will be here in the open for anyone to play till January. I'm not sure what state it will be in by then but, according to the label, seasonal changes in timbre are part of the act!|
|Old next to new, City of London|
|Authentic home made pesto sauce for spaghetti: basil, pine nuts, garlic, pecorino cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper. Yum.|
More interesting discoveries as the summer goes on.
My waxing is booked for the 7th and Sparkle is on the 10-12th. I’ve been sorting out my wardrobe as my problem skin may let me do only one day of Sparkle, so I intend to make it fabulous.