Holidays seem to be a bit of a non-starter these days so we must take our pleasures wherever we can. Little did I know when I set off to Paddington from Cookham fairly early on Monday morning that I would have one of the loveliest days ever. I was going to meet my good friend Gaynor who has just recently become a proud grand-mama and I needed to give her my present for the baby. Unfortunately it was not the present I had envisaged as soon as I knew there was a little girl on the way – I am afraid I knitted and knitted and had a lovely time doing so. But sewing it all together was beyond me and instead of a sweet little dress I made a sort of dishmop. Not to be given away. Anyway, good old Hennes and Maurice came to the rescue and I bought some quite wearable tiny garments!
I digress. We met at the station – I had luckily just finished my book and we set off at a rollicking pace out of the station. Gaynor walks fast! I don’t. Now, I am a Londoner through and through, but I know it best from under ground. The convenience of the tube has a lot to answer for.
Yet on Monday when we stepped out into the sunshine – did I mention it was glorious summer holiday weather? – I was entranced. The view was spectacular: Paddington Canal.
Somehow in all my 67 years I had never suspected it was so near to the station. For me Paddington Station was somewhere you went to go west – to South Wales as a child, to Maidenhead and Cookham as an adult. I never really had occasion to step outside the concourse except once to go to St Mary’s Paddington Hospital, and that is located in a place so grim, although a only a few hundred yards away, that I wanted to put it out of my mind as soon as possible.
So here we were. Looking at water, and barges and flowers. Here there were restaurants and cafes and parasols. Look!
Of course I was desperate for some tea, so we sat here and looked at the view, motorway notwithstanding. I just loved the frilly flamenco parasols. And the man ahead who wasn’t getting anywhere; his fellow statue a few yards away was just standing nonchalantly waiting for him. Who they are by, I do not know, but I might look them up in the fulness of time.
It felt quite magical so far, and then we resumed our walk and things got even better.
Barges, bridges and beautiful buildings.
The flowers on the way were lovely. At one point we were almost overwhelmed by the scent of jasmine. I can’t wait for the technology of capturing aromas as we do images. They are always so evocative.
It was one of the most panoramic walks I have ever been on, all the more memorable because so unexpected.
The very first photo is of the little Venice Puppet Theatre, somewhere I always wanted to go to with my children when hey were small. Somehow I had got it into my head that the journey would have been impossible by public transport. how foolish I was. Now I shall have to wait until some more suitable small children can be found!
I shall be back soon now that I know about the existence of this lovely area. London at its very best, don’t you think?