Sunday, April 30, 2006


...May Day

Went to Kew Gardens with my Amma. It was a beautiful day, mostly, and I chose it because rain is promised for the rest of the holiday weekend. When the sun showed, it was hot enough to burn the top of my feet in their boots. When it went behind the clouds, the breeze blew cold and everyone put their jackets on.

The Pagoda

It was an idyllic day overall, full of people wandering, gawking, laughing, and taking photos of blossoms and birds. No rushing, just lots of peace and contentment and dawdling, just the way a spring weekend ought to be.

I do go on don't I? We were there for the Woodland Wonders spring festival. In the main area in front of Queen Charlotte's Cottage, there was a little arena surrounded by bales of hay for us to sit on. In the centre, a Maypole where the Right Royal Revelers did a couple of May dances and a Mumming play about St George and the Dragon.
Then there were Morris Dancers. Yay! (I am sure some of you remember my rant about the loss of English rural traditions starting with the dancing.)

The Queen's cottage, a quaint thatched summer playhouse, was open to the public for the first time.

It consisted of a downstairs room, an upstairs room, a cute corner closet within a closet, and a kitchen/scullery area with only four calling bells for the servants. There were two costumed actresses (representing daughters of George III and Queen Charlotte) who taught all the little girls how to curtsey and back out of the presence of royalty.

The rest of the fair was full of tents and stalls with wool spinning, lathe pole turning, pottery, broom-making, basket-weaving, felt art, carpentry, hedge-laying; working horses pulling logs, longbow archery, and:

A birds of prey arena, where I touched a Brown Owl!!!!!!! I LOVE owls. I love the way the word rounds out of the mouth too.
I felt the softness of the back of its head and as my fingers ran down its back, I felt also the warmth of its body through its wings.


The hunting demonstration was performed by a gorgeous Barn Owl called Poppy.

Even in the park itself there was so much to see. I have not been to Kew since I can remember, so it was all new for me. We saw Temperate House (a giant conservatory), the Pagoda (now open to climb the 50 metres, affording great views of London), King William's temple (dedicated to those who served in a couple of contemporary wars), a cuuuute Japanese gateway (I forgot to take a pic), a ruined gateway (ooh mystery), even a Redwood grove!

King William's Temple

A pheasant. Doesn't look real, does it?

Afterwards we had sausages and mash, and tea and Victoria sponge cake in the Pavilion restaurant.

I got home past 8pm, and it was not fully dark even an hour later. I am enjoying all this daylight.


Steliano Ponticos said...

I like owls too.

I really have to start sleeping again. 3 days is too much. Mai'dez

Olivia said...

Steli - still not sleeping? Oh dear oh dear...!

Hope you like the pics.

Steliano Ponticos said...

they are great, especially the boy with the owl, very funny, you almost have the "I want to be home playing playstation" expression on his face

Rebecca said...

Hey, there were a group of Morris Dancers outside a pub acorss from Waitrose near us a couple weeks ago. Very random, but lots of fun!

MattJ said...

Saw some Morris Dancers in Wimbledon on Saturday. As quaint a tradition as it is, i have to say it's about as camp as it is possible to get isn't it?

With one exception, the Morris dancers that go to my town during the Ruthin Festival. I don;t know if they are special Welsh SAS Morris dancers or what but they are great. Lots of screaming and shouting and bashings with sticks. They have totally blacked out faces and make children cry. It's great.

Olivia said...

Steli - Well really! She'd just given him the owl and he was waiting to find out what would happen next.

Rebecca - as random as the bagpipes outside Selfridges?

Matt - see, now this is why I think people don't like it.
It's different in all parts of the country, but it's thought that blacking the face is original - "Morris" comes from "Moorish". If they're scary, even better.

Steliano Ponticos said...

Oh, but he seems so apprehensive..anywayszzzzzsssssss

Steliano Ponticos said...

the pheasant is really something, I had never seen one with a yellow head

Prerona said...

awesome pics! wish i could have gone on a trip to see!

Olivia said...

Steli - I looked it up, and it is called a Red Golden Pheasant.

Prerona - missing Edinburgh yet???

Jia Li said...

pretty pics!

tooners said...

What wonderful pics you have here. What a beautiful pheasant and no it doesn't look real. The owl pics are really good. yummm... sausages and mash! Don't know what Victoria sponge cake is... is it good? I had some vegi sausages and mash when we were in London a wk or so ago, but I didn't much care for it.

Anonymous said...

Nice shots. I like the one with the boy - owl and the horse the best.

Wish I could have been there with you.