An Early Autumn Walk

This month is going by in such a whirlwind, I realised I haven’t even shared the photos throughout this entry that I took about two weeks ago.

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The weather has changed significantly since the last days of September.

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This was a bright and sunny weekend afternoon.

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Without too much time to venture far, I walked through the back streets of Chelsea, over to Knightsbridge.

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I found myself in Hyde Park.

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It’s always a nostalgic area for me to visit.

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When I studied abroad here in London about 10 years ago, I lived in a tiny flat with two other girls about one minute walk from Knightsbridge station.

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How lucky, I know. It was really a dream world for me those four months.

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We created many memories there, sitting out on our window ledge, feet dangling five stories above the ground watching the world go by below us; waiting for paparazzi to appear outside The Wellington Club across the street welcoming all sorts of celebrities; showing up on the doorstep of Normandie Suites, full of mud from playing football in the rain in Hyde Park.

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The Polish cleaners always talked to each other in the hallways and we were in awe of the fact that we heard this language every day, that people living in our building were from all over the world.

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The original building where we lived in Knightsbridge has been demolished and the new Bulgari Hotel popped up in its place. It’s not quite the same as it used to be, but the surrounding area hasn’t changed too much.

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Walking down the alleyway that follows the front of The Wellington Club, I think of the many times I passed through that same pathway when I was 20 years old and alone in London for the first time, the city still very much a mystery.

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That was my London then, that little bubble, that pathway from Knightsbridge to the playground in Hyde Park next to the Serpentine.

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We’d go late at night to lie in the grass while the weather was still warm and look for the pinpricks of stars in the polluted sky that was usually thick with clouds.

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There’s a willow tree there, just at the edge of The Serpentine.

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There’s many really, but there’s one in particular that I remember and it’s still there 10 years later.

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There was an afternoon that it was raining and we were in the park.

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Instead of walking back to the flat across the street, we stood under the willow tree with our hoods up listening to the rain fall through the branches around us, the occasional drop slipping through and landing on our faces.

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I walk along The Serpentine now and I can clearly see the days we took bits of bread to feed the swans, but the ducks always got to it first.

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Now, someone else was feeding the ducks and stray leaves from the nearby trees floated at the edge of the water.

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Autumn has always been my favourite season. It reminds me of the excitement of first days of school, the new backpack, the first-day-of-school outfit, the cool notebooks.

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Mostly though, of the sense of new beginnings. I always feel refreshed when Autumn comes, more motivated and full of renewed energy.

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It’s never quite the same in London as it is where I come from in Upstate New York where the trees blaze like wildfire in bright red, oranges, yellows and purples before their leaves fall into massive piles along the kerbs that can be kicked through when you walk.

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I love the crunch of leaves, the crispiness.

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London has this, but on a much less intense scale. I found a few hints of Autumn on my walk a few weeks ago.

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There were orange berries, fallen leaves lining side streets and chestnut shells on the pavement.

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I wandered through the park a bit, back down to the Serpentine Gallery.

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The bookshop there is small but full of good stuff.

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I picked up a hardcover coffee table book called Creative London Living for Jorge who enjoys finding inspiration in interiors.

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Outside the bookshop, I stopped to look at this year’s pavilion.

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It was designed by Japanese artist Sou Fujimoto and I believe it’s only up through this weekend so now’s the chance if you want to see it.

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It’s a huge white lattice of steel poles that looks a bit like a geometric cloud.

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You can go inside and climb up to seating areas at different levels.

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Parts of it seem to be more dense than others and it appears to change shape as you circle around it.

I walked home then, back down Exhibition Road, past the Natural History Museum and the shops and restaurants surrounding South Kensington station.

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The next day I left for Dublin which I’m writing about gradually on Little Observationist.

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Today is Jorge’s birthday (happy birthday!!) and we leave for Copenhagen early tomorrow morning for a long weekend of good food, bike-riding and probably quite a bit of time under our umbrellas by the sounds of it.

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So I’ll be back next week and will hopefully have a bit of time to post before I leave for Boston the following weekend.

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Then it’s up to New York to see my family and my exhibition the following week in mid-November.

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After that, things should calm down a bit and I’ll be able to post more often!

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Hope you all have a great weekend.

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Leave me a comment and let me know if you’re up to anything exciting while I’m away!

8 comments on “An Early Autumn Walk

  1. Autumn in Western New York is indeed ablaze right now. Thanks for this window on London in the Fall. I love the shot of the willow tree. Enjoy your travels, Steph, and Happy Birthday to Jorge!

  2. This is such a lovely post that I very much enjoyed reading. I’m nearing the end of my time here in London, and this post reminded me of all the wonderful things I have loved about living here. And congratulations on your exhibit — best of luck!

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