We walked up from Baker Street toward Regent's Park, passing along the way a double-decker bus signed ``WEDDING SPECIAL''. I'd never thought about renting a double-decker bus for a wedding. Still not sure what I think of it.
We entered the park to see lots of water, and many, many birds, and in the grass beyond just uncountably many British folk scattered on their lawn blankets. There was also a heron, sitting up close to a fence, staring back at a guy trying to take its photograph. This gave me a moment of worrying about our fish back home, but we had put a net over the pond and it's hard to figure a heron or raccoon doing much with that. (They wouldn't.)
Mostly, then, we walked around the park, toddling along past green spaces and trees and shrubs and flowers and all. Sometimes the line of sight would be broken up by gates, some gold-painted. There's a lovely drinking fountain that's itself a pretty substantial monument. It's even got spots for dogs to drink. The plaque on it says the fountain was ``erected by the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain And Cattle Trough Association'', fairly enough, as a gift of Sir Cowasjee Jehangir, Companion of the Star of India, ``A wealthy Parsee gentleman of Bombay as a token of gratitude to the people of England for the protection enjoyed by him and his Parsee fellow countrymen under the British rule in India'', inaugurated 1869. That's quite a bit for a fountain, yet I can't help feeling like there's probably more story yet there.
As we walked along we found a little side garden, tended into a strictly regular set of lawns and fountains and flower displays and the like. This was another lovely spot tucked within a series of lovely spots and we just sat and took in the quiet for a while. The day may sound like we didn't do much of anything, and I suppose that's so, or sort of so. It's more that we were just being present, rather than trying to do anything.
Walking along further we encountered not just a long pond and a little information panel explaining the species of birds seen in the area, but also a woman feeding some ducks. The ducks seemed unsure about their relationship with her. The woman explained she fed this particular set and talked about how upset she was that some of the baby ducks had gone missing. We could understand feeling that kind of close relationship with the wildlife.
We would stop off for coffee and tea, and the chance to sit and watch large numbers of people enjoying a lovely afternoon. As it happens we didn't get in view of the Zoological Gardens, but we wouldn't have had anything like the time for that anyway. Goodness, we spent quite a bit of time just on the street looking at the window of the Underground's former office for lost-and-found items. They'd put up things reportedly found on the line, and where they were found, such as an iron lost on bus 23 in 1936, a top hat left on Euston in 1950, a movie camera left in Camden in 1936, a suspiciously perfect set of Beatles records lost in 1969, a series of mobile phones, that sort of thing. The actual zoo would take us forever to see.
We went back our hotel so that we could meet bunny_hugger's uncle for dinner. He wanted to drive over and pick us up, so we waited outside, near the Eight Bells again. There were some guys kicking a soccer ball around, cheering whenever the ball hit a bus (there were a lot of buses in the area) or especially when the ball rolled out of control and some passer-by kicked it back. I promised bunny_hugger that if the ball came near us I'd kick it back. It never did. While we worried about them getting hit by a bus they seemed fine. They also reminded us of thinking that, just as Twitter will give out Verified Accounts, some folks need to be Certified Lads. The good kind of lad, in this case.
bunny_hugger's uncle took us almost just across the river, to a spot near an historical marker for Thomas Cromwell. It doesn't explain his relationship to the place. Anyway, we went to a strikingly busy Italian restaurant, one loud enough that it was difficult for bunny_hugger and me to hear one another, much less for him to hear us. It wasn't his favorite restaurant, but he hasn't been able to go back to his favorite, because it was his wife's favorite too. He still feels regularly stabbed with guilt for doing things, or being alive, when she isn't. And he doesn't know how to break the news to the restaurant staff.
This restaurant, Carlucci's, was packed, probably fair enough for a Saturday night in early June that's cool but not cold. We were also seated near one of those monstrously huge family parties that had maybe twenty people present, but enough of them were kids that it seemed like there were eighty squealing kids there. It captivated me how they could make such an awful mess, and yet the staff could clean it up successfully so quickly. Also, this means that bunny_hugger and I have now been to an Italian restaurant in every European country we've visited together, without ever being in Italy, yet.
At dinner we did our best to talk about Chessington, and about our day at Regent's Park, although it was slow going. It was easier chatting back at his home, with some television show that I think was all about what kinds of wildlife was now visible in what parts of the country, and his cat wandering in and out of the house, occasionally acknowledging the calls of her name.
Trivia: The British Parliament passed 120 Railway Acts in 1845, 272 in 1846, and 170 in 1847. Source: The Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea, John Micklethwait, Adrian Wooldridge.
Currently Reading: The Complete Dick Tracy Volume II, 1933 - 1935, Chester Gould.