Spring blossom (at long last!)

So apparently spring has finally arrived at last! Not with a bang, obviously, but shuffling in like a kid who’s late for school again, staring at its shoelaces and shamefacedly muttering its apologies to Mother Nature as it slinks, red faced to its desk. A crappy simile, I know, but it has all been a bit underwhelming thus far.

But then I spotted this beautiful tree full of blossom as I walked through Old Isleworth (down by the river Thames in west London) on my way home from a friend’s house on Bank Holiday Monday. The sun was finally shining, the evening sky was an almost summery blue, and the loveliness of this tree just made me smile (and reach for my camera).

The walk I took (from the Brent Lea gate of Syon Park to South Street in Old Isleworth) is a very pleasant one indeed, even if you’re not a great walker. You can stop for coffee and cake at the Syon Park cafe, or have a beer at one of the several historic pubs in the neighbourhood if you want to take it slowly!

There are times in Syon Park itself when you can almost forget you are in London – and many of the beautiful Georgian and Victorian (and older) buildings along the route can even almost make you forget what century you are in. You can see more of my views of Old Isleworth on Flickr.

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Architects on acid?

These amazing columns are part of the main entrance to London’s famous Natural History Museum. I visited today, for the first time since childhood, and found that it was much as I remembered inside. The dinosaurs are still as cool as they were when I was little and the mighty blue whale is still one enormous creature (although it didn’t seem quite as big as it did when I was small…).

However, I had not remembered how intricate, highly textured and downright trippy some of the museum’s external architecture is, and found myself staring in fascination at these columns while school kids and tourists milled around me on the steps.

I doubt the architect was on anything stronger than a cup of tea when he designed these candy-canes in stone, although the end results would suggest that it might be reasonable to suppose that he was somewhat away with the fairies. Whatever he was trying to achieve, he certainly let his imagination fly free, and the architecture of London is all the more fun for his efforts.

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