London day 3: High Tea and the V & A


It’s funny, but now I’m in London I can trace much of my knowledge about the place and desire to see various things from my novel reading, starting with Georgette Heyer. On our way to afternoon tea (at lunch time; excellent call, Scott!), we took a turn through Green Park, so I could see where the Baluchistan Hound chased the cows and the milkmaids.


And I got to see my first squirrel. I think it was a teenager, as its tail looked nearly transparent. It wasn’t at all scared of humans. Now to see a hedgehog…


On our way to the Athenaeum we took a detour to eyeball the Ritz hotel.


It looks very impressive at the front, but the actual entrance is to the side. Say what you like about the English, they do a very nice window box.


Here’s the outside of where I took Scott to tea as a thank-you for all the work he’s put in to making this trip so wonderful. Our ‘afternoon’ tea was booked at 12:30. A wise call because we waddled out of there 2 hours later absolutely stuffed to the gills. It was beautiful.


Here’s the table before we attacked it. Isn’t it lovely?


Here’s Scott enjoying the ambience.


OMG people! Why did no-one ever tell me about clotted cream? It was a revelation.


On the way I was very excited to see this street sign. Now I know where Hero Wantage and Anthony lived! (‘Friday’s Child.’)


They lived in one of these houses. I haven’t read these books for decades but it’s absolutely amazing how much of them I’ve retained. I know that when I get home I’ll have to gallop through them again. There’s only about 30 of them…


The Victoria and Albert Museum was incredible and I can’t remember who told me to see it but I’m glad they did. We took the tunnel from the tube, popping our heads up on the way to look at the exterior of the National Science Museum, then emerging into the V & A into a hall full of Rodin sculptures… just sitting there with no hoo-ha about it at all.

We had a chat with an American guy who said, “I can’t believe this place! The Rodins are just sitting here, out in the open. Back home, we have ONE. And it’s locked away inside a glass case! I can’t believe these Brits!” He then went on to explain his views about the Royal family and how America wants to adopt Prince Harry, so we extricated ourselves and went in search of British history. We found it.


This is a painted bust of Henry VII. Is it wrong to say he looks a bit “Lord of the Rings’?


David21… here’s some Virginals (ie pianos) from Elizabethan days.


I took other photos, but this following photo is what I got the most excited about:


Not with me? Maybe this next photo may help:


Mary Queen of Scots.


Here’s a fragment of the things she stitched herself!!!!!!! Mary Queen of Scots! She handled this and did the work (along with her ladies) HERSELF. 

How is it possible that this is still around 400+ years later for me to see? This is amazing.


After I recovered from my Mary Queen of Scots girl crush we strolled along to Kensington Gardens and the Royal Albert Hall. Diana Krall is playing there soon; I saw her a few years ago at the Palais in Melbourne. (This venue is slightly larger than that.) I took the photo and then Scott said, “And the Albert Memorial is right behind you.”


What an incredible sight. I’d never heard about this and it was crazily extravagant. I’m not completely heartless; I understand that she loved him dearly but if I was a taxpayer of the day, I wouldn’t be best pleased by so much money going on a personal indulgence like this.


Still, it was a gaudy and cheery sight on a coolish day. Which  realise is an odd thing to say about a memorial but there you go.


I had to walk along Rotten Row… that Heyer woman’s influence again. We left Kensington Gardens and turned into Hyde Park and there it was. We strolled along beside it for a little way, then we could see glimpses of the Serpentine through the trees, so we walked towards the water.


It’s been hot weather for Londoners, so the Diana memorial was full of screamingly happy kids having a dip. I think she’d approve.


There certainly wasn’t a shortage of swans and ducks here.


Or paddleboats. They all got rained on a few minutes later.

Today is the day I’ve been looking forward to above all else. Hampton Court Palace.





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4 Responses to London day 3: High Tea and the V & A

  1. Ellen says:

    What a fabulous day! I think your description of the Albert Memorial is spot on, gaudy and cheery. It always looks so lonely to me in its splendour, and really captures Victoria’s grief. You and Scott look the part at that scrumptious high tea. Enjoy.

  2. foodnstuff says:

    Ohhhh……the Royal Albert Hall. Lump in the throat stuff. I saw Yehudi Menuhin play there when we were in the UK. Bliss! Loving your trip!!

  3. Bek says:

    Omg, Georgette Heyer!! Frederica is one of my favourites! I would totally be navigating my way around London by her references, if ever I go. Sounds like you are having a wonderful time.

  4. Urspo says:

    On my bucket list is attending a proper high tea, with real tea (no rubbish), clotted cream etc.
    Henry VII looks like a Hobbit. No wonder he was so crabby.

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