Rainy London Romance

Just a little shot I took on Parliament Hill the other day.

Rainy Romance

A reminder that despite all the wet weather, there´s still plenty of simple ways to enjoy London!

What´s your favourite way to enjoy a rainy day in this city?

A few of mine:

  • Enjoying a relax tea with a spinach and feta muffin and a good book on a couch in the basement of the lovely little New Zealand themed Sacred Cafe on Ganton Street.
  • A meander through Tate Modern with a stop off in the bookshop to drool over all the amazing art books and design magazines.
  • Electric Cinema? Secret Cinema?
  • Or, well, ordinary things like blogging, baking yummy cakes, having a snuggly rainy day film marathon with tea and popcorn, planning my next adventure (Dubai this Wednesday!) or taking photographs of the rain 🙂
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Easter Egg Rolling on Parliament Hill

Egg Rolling turned out to be quite fun. We gathered in the Garden Gate pub with two painted hard-boiled eggs each. Jorge and I decorated ours with nail polish, Lucy and Danny with water colours and Sharpies, and Kasia and Janka with markers. We sat near the fireplace and asked a friendly and cooperative bartender to judge the best design for the winning prize of Cadbury’s caramel eggs. He chose Janka’s:

And then we set out for Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath on a misty Easter afternoon to scope out the best slope with the fewest grass tufts.

And the games began!

Afterwards, we had to scope out the carnage, check on the survivors that could go on to round two and gather the casualties into the egg graveyard. Here’s the wreckage:

And the graveyard:

But the winner who rolled the furthest was Danny’s egg! Prize: Big chocolate egg with smarties. Yum!

And so concludes my first experience of egg rolling on Easter.

Do you colour eggs for Easter? Is egg rolling part of your Easter traditions? Where do you go for it? And where, for that matter, is the steepest hill in London? Anyone know? (Alexandra Palace? Primrose Hill?)

All this Easter talk and I need some chocolate! Chao!

Rainy Romance and Winter Wildlife

Climb to the top of Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath and you’ll see a stunning view of the city.

London Skyline

But the best part is, that if you turn around and look the other way without moving at all, you’ll be in a different world, a green and peaceful place.

Autumn on Hampstead Heath

Turn to the side and you look down on what appears to be a happy little village.

Skyline

Even in the rain, the Heath is lovely. This couple, with a typical English mindset, refuses to let the blustery rain spoil their romance.

Rainy Romance

It’s a place to gather your thoughts, to contemplate life, to take a few strong gulps of fresh air before heading back into bus fumes and Kebab shop smells of the city.

Parliament Hill

In a city of 8 or so million bodies pressing into small spaces and fighting for air, it’s unusual to catch one person alone and nothing but emptiness and a few trees and the greatness of a vast and open sky.

One Man Walking

This little guy was there to have a rest as well. He just stood still, watching. Waiting for something. Or nothing.

Still

If you stroll down the hill back through the Heath, there are some lovely scenes and wildlife to take in.

Wildlife

Pond Life

Resting Duck

I stared at this bridge for a long time. You can not walk over it, but watch the ducks swim underneath leaving quiet ripples in their wake.

Black and White Bridge

London Street Pianos: There’s Music in the Air

Classical music drifts through the leaves of Postman’s Park, swirls past the plaques for those who have died saving the lives of others, sweeps over the purple flowers in the middle and people sitting on wooden benches applaud lightly. The girl at the piano pays them no mind. She’s lost in her music. The words “Play me, I’m yours” are scrawled across the instrument that’s positioned in the garden near a tree.

Street Piano - Postman's Park 2

Down near St. Paul’s two friends entertain a small crowd – one on piano and one on guitar sitting cross-legged on the ground. People are smiling, the usual hurried City pace interrupted by curiosity and a lovely sound.

Street Piano - St. Paul's

The piano near Millennium Bridge is empty, but the occasional passerby plucks a finger on a key and giggles shyly wishing she knew how to play, or remembered from her childhood.

Street Piano - Millennium Bridge 2

Over at Monument, the afterwork boys have gathered round, the top of the piano a table for drinks, one lucky colleague appointed to the keys and the others drumming on the side or singing which is sure to get louder and more off-key as the night rolls on.

Street Piano - Monument

And the Royal Exchange has turned into a one-man stage, a piano man and a lonely soul with a beer and a cigarette drunkenly dancing and swaying his worries away.

Street Piano - Royal Exchange 2

There are 21 street pianos set up in London, a project by Luke Jerram. A similar project is going on simultaneously in NYC, only they get 60 pianos. Humph. Most of the London pianos are in the Square Mile, but a couple can be found in Hampstead Heath and Southeast. They’re around until 10th of July. Play them. They’re yours.

Here’s a video from the street pianos website on Carnaby Street last year. How often do you get Londoners hanging out singing “Hey Jude” together?

For piano map and more info: www.streetpianos.co.uk