It’s hard to believe it today, but London had a brief suspension over the weekend of the currently permanent chilly, overcast, rainy weather. It was kind of heavenly to sit outside, in the grass, and just stare at the blue skies. We made sure to take advantage both days and fortify ourselves with as much Vitamin D as we could naturally absorb before marching off to another long stretch of cave dwelling. Jonah was like Gizmo in Gremlins: BRIGHT LIGHT! BRIGHT LIGHT!
We spontaneously decided on Saturday morning to head to Hampton Court Palace, at the edge of southwest London by 1/2 hour train ride, along the River Thames. I have always heard great things about this palace, and you know when a palace in England gets notable mention it must be something. Although a handful of royals were associated with the palace, Hampton Court was originally a manor house transformed into a Tudor wonder under Henry VIII (and inhabiting also his six wives). Then over 100 years later under the reign of William III and Mary II, they commissioned Sir Christopher Wren to rebuild Hampton Court in a Baroque style. The partial architectural changes and additions to facades and buildings is part of what makes the site so spectacular. Lots of interesting facts (because you care) here.
But I was mostly only smitten with the gardens. “Gardens” never feels like a word that can justifiably describe acres upon acres of landscaped and terraced grounds, grand walks like avenues and fountains, hedge mazes, etc but it will have to do. Even the influence for Hampton Court, Versailles, refers to its grounds as gardens.
The kids too loved the day with plenty of room to run and character demonstrations to witness. And as ever, there were some surprising records set in our current site to see: Hampton Court Palace supposedly has the longest herbaceous border in the world. Although I just tried to verify that on-line and I think this may be in controversy. Hampton Court also claims to have the largest grapevine in the world. Hampton Court also currently hosts the largest flower show in the world. I don’t care about any of this as I only have eyes for pruned and landscaped European yew trees/hedges. Yews!! I really love them so. Here are some:
And while we’re on the subject of plant life, I never actually knew mistletoe grew as a parasitic plant to a host tree. You probably think I am so unlearned, but just remember I have now seen one of the contenders for Longest Herbaceous Border in the World, and you haven’t. So shove it.
And here is the rest of the day:
Bryan and I never pose for pictures anymore. Just another casualty of having kids (along with privacy when showering). But this picture reminds me also that my squinting-in-photos problem is worsening at an alarming rate.