Thursday, 26 June 2014

our last day in London: Hampstead Heath, hard working swans, and laundrettes, and questions about small things

7 hampstead glowing pink blossoms Well, here is my last day in London. I can't even remember when I did my last London post, but the weeks have just been flying by like crazy here and also just looking at the London photos made me feel a bit sad. I never would have thought that post holiday blues could hang around for so long, but there it is.

So, our last day in London. We had just 6 days in all, including the day we landed that disappeared in a blue of lifts from old friends (thanks again, Paul!) and blissful post-plane hot showers and then just a little lap, more resting my eyelids really... from about 5pm to 3 in the morning! Oops.

After the previous day, when John and I made such a personal pilgrimage to South West London, we did something less familiar to us and headed north, to beautiful Hampstead Heath. It's a part of London we barely went to, if ever, when we lived there together, and I have fuzzy memories of going there years before which ended in an afternoon of pool. Which was nice. We wanted to go again to see how the houses with price tags we can't being to fathom and to check out the heath.

1 London bright morning But first, up early – still not completely de-jetlagged at this point but in the excellent, getting-up-at-dawn-is-easy way, we went into central London so I could buy an Urban Decay palette from Debenhams on Oxford Street. It looked so hazy and calm and beautiful. And special thanks to the lovely lady from the Philosophy counter, who looked after me while the Urban Decay girl was awol. You we ace and I LOVE the palette.

hampstead station tiles Then it was back on the Northern Line to Hampstead. I love that station, with its tiles spelling out the station's name. By now, my camera was feeling very heavy, and getting it in and out of my back pack was all a bit too much. Of course I took a pic for an instagram but it never made the cut, so it's here instead. I never, ever thought I would be pleased about tiles. Amazing how things change, hey? 2 hampstead busy road times It was busier than I expected outside the station. But so different to other, more familiar bits of London. 3 hampstead leafy road We walked along the windy, wavey streets to the heath. 4 hampstead tall houses ivy trees And looked at the tall houses through the trees wrapped up in thick ivy jumpers. It was one of those perfectly crisp, foggy mornings that you know will get dazzingly blue and sunny later. 5 hampstead swoopy street The way the streets aren't gridded here is so charming. 6 hampstead aged beef As were the food shops. After a week of sandwiches (the best were from Pret, btw – Marks and Spencer's were all a let down) we were just starting to think about some special dinners. Although I'm reasonably sure that this butchers will never be my local. Le sigh. 10 hampstead house steps 9 hampstead tall street houses 11 hampstead cat More rows of tall houses on the way to the huge green. And I think I could subtitle my trip "cats of London"! How cute is this little guy? 12 hampstead tiny bin Speaking of cute little things, what on earth are these miniature bins for? I know, I've gone from photographing radiators to bins. The downward slope is steep. But I saw some before, in different suburbs (boroughs!) and want to know! They seem very practical. Let me take a moment to make my approving face. 13 hampstead lanes 14 hampstead heath willow And then... ta-da! The heath! isn't it gorgeous! 15 hampstead lake houses 16 hampstead swans Watching these two swans was the best. They were working together as a team, building a nest. The one on the right was snapping off reeds with its beak and putting them behind him or her in a pile, and the swan on the left would pick them up, one at a time, and carefully place them in the nest. They worked hard at this for quite a while. Little black duck there stood next to them for a bit but didn't get involved. Swannies didn't seem to mind. 17 hampstead magic trees 18 hampstead frisky ducks We got some lunch (more sandwiches!) from down the road and then came back to our sunny spot. The ducks were frisky about something, feeling the springy-ness perhaps? 19 hampstead john lake tree And this is one of my favourite pictures of John. 20 hampstead lake dog21 hampstead treeskeats-house akeats-house b We paid a visit to Keats House, which unfortunately wasn't open to the public until later that day, so we had a look at its very pretty gardens. It's funny, there is something so English about this photo. I could never mistake that for Australia, even if the set up was the same. Something to do with light and colours. It looks like home. (Erm, except for the super posh house bit!) camden bridge camden lock Later that afternoon, as we were still North, we decided to have a look at Camden. I used to go to Camden market all the time in my mid teens, and had been told it is very different now. And... well, it is, but it's even more touristy-grotty than it was then. The lock did look good though, and we got to see a boat pass through.

And then... time had run out! We went back to our hotel, did some laundry at the laundrette around the corner (and I baffled a man watching me take photos of our clothes being spun about, who felt that "... that's going to be an interesting photo!" Cheeky so and so. Well yes, it is, at least to me! Or, rather, it's the full stop on our London trip. It was over in what felt like three blinks. We had to get our clothes dry, back in the suitcases, and get on the train for Paris. London was over. london laundrette


Ish said...

What a lovely way to end your time in London. The little brown bins are for compost :)

dreamingofavonlea said...

Looks like you had a great trip. The little bins are food waste bins!

Selina said...

It's so strange to see such familiar sights through someone else's pictures. I still love Camden and go there frequently and although I don't have budget for Hampstead of course, I'm only a tube ride away on the northern line so I recognised the high street straight away

germangreeneyedmonster said...

lovely lovely´s amazing how you manage to capture the light situation always so perfectly that the photos get a real atmosphere! Instead of Keats house you should have tried Kenwood House, visited it recently and was amazed how beautiful it is after it go done up last year!

Maria said...

The mini bins are for food recycling ;) xx

Alicebijou said...

Little bins? They are for recycling food waste :)
Amazing photos!

ModernVintageStyle said...

Those bins are for food waste: the idea is that you have a separate bin in the house with a compostable bin bag and then put those in the food waste bin. I like the way the ones you found were hanging rather than sitting on the ground. Great photos of an interesting part of London that I venture to all too rarely! Kx

notsewsimple said...

The little bins are for food scraps that are taken to be composted - your pictures are beautiful - I hope you enjoyed your trip!

Mélodie Nicolle said...

Gosh your photos make me miss London so much!! I use to go every year for a weekend or a week and i haven't been able to do it for the past 3 years...I miss it!!
Gorgeous neighborhood and love the kitty on the window, so cute!! My cat would love to be able to do that!

mondoagogo said...

It's always funny seeing one of my regular haunts on a blog written by someone thousands of miles across the planet -- I go past that pond about once a week. The little black duck is actually a coot, they can usually be quite aggressive and territorial but I reckon they're probably scared of swans.

Did you walk down Pilgrim's Lane itself? I'm guessing not because you would have seen (and no doubt photographed!) the ships' figurhead attached to the wall of one of the houses, it's quite a bizarre sight.

The little bins are usually for recycling food scraps. Ours are green though.

Kizzy Von Doll said...

Such gorgeous pictures :))) Not been to London in some years now, will have to travel down soon. The little brown bins are for food recycling...well, I am guessing, ours up here are green, but these ones are the same size, so I assuming they just have brown ones instead of green-coloured ones. But, food recycling, which is quite good really. Lot less waste going into my black bin now. Hope your week is going well doll xx

Abbie said...

Beautiful pics, you ahve captured some lovely parts of London! xx

Miranda said...

beautiful! ah!

Chloe Mullaney said...

He he those little brown bins are for food waste recycling - it gets made into compost! :) Lovely photos x

Audy said...

Beautiful photos! (as always)

The mini bins are food bins! Any and all uncooked and cooked food waste. It gets sent to make compost! It's a fantastic idea. The recycling scheme is improving constantly and we hardly throw anything in the landfill bin anymore. :)


esme and the laneway said...

Ish : it was – heartbreaking too, of course! And compost! That is such a good idea. WE make so much food waste.

dreamingofavonlea : aha! And we did, thank you :) feels like it happened to someone else in some ways now.

Selina : oh nice, I'm jealous of your bike riding locations though :D It is weird to see that, isn't it, especially when you're used to me being 95690514804531534863km away.

germangreeneyedmonster : it was the light itself, I didn't have to do much! London light is SO different to Aus, much easier to work with for pics. Could get very used to it..! I haven't heard of Kenwood House, I'll look it up now. Need more things for my next trip! :D

Maria and Alicebijou : aha, thank you! They're such a clever idea!

ModernVintageStyle : hehe maybe Hampstead Heath bins are too push for sitting on the ground?! :D This is such a good idea, I wish we had something like that here. We were going to make a worm farm some years ago, but then what to o with the compost? My plant pots only need so much..!

notsewsimple: thank you! We really, really did. Life changing.

Mélodie Nicolle : oh you are definitely due a visit! My kitty would like it too, but I think they both might want to go for a trot around the heath too, not good! :D

mondoagogo: it must be so weird! I can't imagine someone from, say, London, photographing Melbourne. It makes the world feel smaller but in a nice way, I think. Ah, coots! Are they the ones that dive? This one was just having a look, supervising the swans. The other ducks were VERY lively though, maybe there was an aggro coot among them!

Kizzy Von Doll : is this food recycling UK-wide? That would be amazing. I hate how much of our smelly bin (name for everything that isn't recyclable) is at least half food scraps. So wasteful. Some of our neighbours have their own composts which I' love to do too, but would need somewhere to put the compost afterwards... little bins would be awesome!

Abbie : thanks :) It really is beautiful there, isn't it? Like it doesn't even have to try.

Miranda : thank you!

Chloe Mullaney : thanks!

Audy : thank you! Am in awe of this food recycling, bravo UK! We SO need something like that here. (Can't see it happening :<)

she. said...

These are just beautiful photos

Amy said...

I loved reading your blog.It bought back a sense of nostalgia for London. I loved living there and I enjoyed many adventures exploring North London. Some truly splendid photographs and a great narrative style!

Erin said...

Lovely! And makes me long for London-- I feel so at home and happy there. (And all my trips there could also be called "Cats of London" Lol.)

Erin said...

Lovely! And makes me long for London-- I feel so at home and happy there. (And all my trips there could also be called "Cats of London" Lol.)

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