Final week in “Christian’s London” Part One: OPEN SPACES

September 20th to 27th

Near Borough Market
Near Borough Market

With Christian’s year at LAMDA having drawn to a close, London opened up to us both, because now he could give me a proper introduction to the city that he’d been living in for a whole year.

Not the touristy London that one approaches with a checklist of monuments, historical sites and choice selfie backgrounds to capture on a smart phone, but Christian’s London, a far more personal, excentric, joyful, human, culturally rich, fluid, kinetic, spontaneous, complex and slightly cheaper (!!) city: one meant to be experienced.

Thanks to a hyper-efficient transit system that comes close to bending spacetime, every district of London feels within easy reach. With Christian, I also discovered that each destination is just an excuse for a long and lovely walk.

I also realized that London’s rain shuts on and off like a deranged sprinkler system, so if, for instance, your destination is the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, then you’re best to jump on the first day that promises three consecutive hours of dry weather.

First September 21st Facebook post:

Exterior stone wall at Kew Gardens
Exterior stone wall at Kew Gardens

Even the old stone outer wall at Kew Gardens is beautiful.
If only we could all remain so solid as we age…

After tea with scones and clotted cream, we went directly to the Treetop Walkway, which swayed and shivered underfoot.

Second Facebook post: 

If given the time though, I would have written an ode to the trees, because they were my favourites at Kew Gardens.

I saw strangely bent trees and a carbuncled ash, beautiful towering cedars that seemed to have stepped out of three-dimensional paintings. And then, there was the Lucombe Oak.

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The Lucombe Oak, Kew Gardens
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Christian beneath the Lucombe Oak, Kew Gardens

In Quebec (and other parts of Canada), most of the old oaks were cut down and used up.

When I found Kew Gardens’ giant oak, I just ran to it. I’d never seen anything like the gnarled, twisted, arthritic, jagged and beautiful old giant.

So many of the trees would feel right at home in Tolkien’s deep woods, in the company of Ents.

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(all photographs were taken by me)

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