How do you choose what to do, where to eat and how do you get there?
I admire the confidence of people in large cities, this is their life and it takes some getting used to when you come from a little village like Dunedin.
Staying with our daughter Hannah’s London Mum and Dad, Tom and Susan, we were spoilt with breakfasts, lunches and dinners . Susan even had Hannah’s friends up for dinner on Sunday night and carried on our traditional Sunday family dinner.
I have followed the English gardener Beth Chatto for many years and used her books alot. Her garden is in Colchester, a good 2 hours drive out of London and Tom and Susan fulfilled my dream with a day out of London city to her garden. The garden was even bigger than I imagined and was draped around lovely large curving pools. It was fabulous and so lovely to see many plants that we now have in our garden in Dunedin inspired by Beth Chattos book ‘Colour in your Garden’. The garden was becoming very Autumnal and very beautiful. It was great to walk around the lawns and past the garden that I had only envisaged through the photograghs in her book. Beth Chatto still lives in the house beside the garden and is now well into her nineties.
We finished our day with a drink at the local back in London. It was crowded and a perfect end to a very special day.
Staying with locals wherever you go makes your experience all the more worthwhile. The local Farmers Market was incredibly good and within walking distance of Susan and Toms. I visited the Columbia Rd flower market in 2015 with my daughter Hannah and Susan and Tom. Tom’s best friend usually has a stall here and he comes from Southland !! It is always exciting and a very noisy experience with traders yelling out in their amazing accents.
The step counter said we walked over 20,000 steps on our day in the city – it was my Birthday and we started with breakfast at my idol ‘Yotum Ottolenghi‘s ‘ shop in Islington.
I have been following an artist called Rebecca Louise Law, who works with flowers on a very large scale and we were thrilled to find her installation at The City Centre – Moorgate, which was based on London’s many city gardens. We thoroughly enjoyed an exhibition called “Beyond Caravaggio ‘ at the National Museum and after a glass of wine and a walk around the corner spent time at the Portrait gallery to take in the Picasso exhibition.
Darkness came all too fast along with the rain and drinks at ‘Ham Yard’ in Soho, followed by Casual Asian Tapas at the new ‘Kiln’ restaurant 2 blocks away with Susan and Tom we completed a very big day in London.
Some things you do get wrong like : The borough market is closed on Sundays!! The bar up the Shard is on the 32nd floor not the viewing platform which cost 40 pound!! and not taking your umbrella.
But dinner with Rachael Cooper and her mother Ainsley at Peter Gordons Providore was terrific as was our 4 days in London . Never enough time, but thats OK you just have to come back !!!