So the weekend huh? Good weather huh?! It makes such a difference when the sun shines and I had such a lovely weekend…..
We didn’t start out with a weekend full of plans, so when we saw the blue sky and it was warm enough to have the windows open, we decided we just had to spend the day outside. We’ve been wanting to go to Crystal Palace on an adventure for ages, so on a whim we packed a lunch and headed towards the overground. I went once before but years and years ago, and before they refurbished the dinosaur trail, so that’s where we headed first and sat on the grass eating our picnic of falafel and tabbouleh looking down at the park below.
Picnic finished, we began to make our way around the Dinosaur Trail. Created in 1953, this was the original Jurassic Park, and whilst the original Victorian stone statues are now known to be anatomically incorrect, the creatures are all the more charming for it. There is now even an online audio trail to follow as you take the path around the lake to look across to the Dinosaurs on their islands. The park itself is beautiful, with huge rhododendrons blooming everywhere and pre-historic looking shrubs.
Once we’d looped around we also discovered the little farm there, formerly ‘Pets Corner’, where we met lots of other creatures…… There are two very smiley and vocal pigs…. four handsome goats….. a pair of ‘short and brutish’ Shetland ponies…. rabbits, chickens, birds, guinea pigs…. and perhaps my favourites, two beautiful alpaca and some sheep with lambs! You can get really close to all of the animals so it was great to stroke them and take some photos. And chat to them for a bit of course.
Next we made our way up to the main park, where the famous and iconic Crystal Palace used to stand. It’s incredible to think how huge it was…. I wish I could have seen it. It was built originally in Hyde Park for the Great Exhibition of 1852, then moved to this site in 1854. There have been rumours of re-building it for years, and if I won the lottery, I know that’s what I would do. There are plenty of bits of the Victorian architecture left, all falling into disrepair and weathering away. My favourites are the Sphinx which stand at the opening to several grand stair cases.
From there we made our way into town and grabbed a pub meal on our way to Trafalgar Square. There we met our friends Kate and Jason to see the LSO Open Air Classics….. The London Symphony Orchestra were to play a selection of Stravinsky suites right in the square. The series is open to the public and free. The orchestra sounded incredible of course, and although a little was lost in terms of acoustics because of the location, the atmosphere more than made up for it. It was great to be able to sit and relax with friends, listening to such wonderful music, and so brilliantly different from a normal concert experience.
We were disappointed though that our friend Martin, who had come all the way in from Hitchin to see it, was delayed by the wretched tube and then wasn’t allowed in! He was told by security manning big barriers that the square was filled to capacity, but we had loads of space around us, and more in fact than where Martin ended up, crowded outside the barriers! I hope they work out the problem before the next one.
Afterwards we went into Covent Garden for some drinks at the Punch and Judy pub (it was Punch’s birthday weekend after all) before making our tired way home to bed.
Our day of adventure left us needing a long lie in on Sunday morning, followed by a hearty brunch (recipe here). Then we took the bus up to Islington to see our friend Vixie and her stall at the Wonder Hill Market. As usual, I didn’t manage to get away without buying something (another brooch of a very cute spinning windmill!) and we had a lovely time snooping about the various crafty and vintagey stalls. We bought a huge slice of chocolate and Guinness cake and went to see it in the church grounds opposite in the sun. It seems so long since we were able to do that!
From there, we had a little wander around the back streets off Upper Street, finding some gorgeous houses covered in Lilac and amazing smelling Wisteria, as well as the pretty Angel Puppet Theatre. Unfortunately we made it to the Chapel Road Market too late for the Farmers’ Market, but we made up for it by finding a brilliant ‘fancy goods’ shop called Zebedees which had stacks of cool stuff.
Back at home and we were ready for a nice cup of tea and a sit down. I did a little sketching for some jewellery design ideas I’ve had, before making a start on our supper. We’d saved up loads of broccoli and leeks from our veggie box for the week and so I made a big batch of soup. I was super pleased with it…. in fact I think I’ll share the recipe here soon.
And then we snuggled up on the sofa to watch Fantastic Mr Fox….. I haven’t seen it since the cinema and had quite forgotten how amazing it is! We were laughing out loud at all the brilliant and original funnies, as well as rocking along to the awesome soundtrack. After that, we were ready for an early night and so we sat in bed planning next weekend’s adventures!
Hope you managed to make the most of the better weather too!