HYDE PARK, LONDON.
I have heard of Hyde Park in London since my school days. The knowledge about the speakers corner in Hyde Park kept me dreaming that one day I will get to witness it if not participate in the banter with the speaker. Unfortunately when we were in London recently, it was not a Sunday when the speakers corner was on.
On arrival in London our bus took us to our hotel in Bayswater area passing by Hyde Park. It was not far from the park.
The next morning I woke up early for the Subuh prayers. This is the view from my window with the sun rising.
Later I chance upon the sight of two hot air ballons and I photographed it against the sphire of a nearby church.
I can't be wasting time in the room and I need to use as much of my available time in London to see things. Getting out of the hotel, I felt the cool and fresh morning air outside. Moving towards Hyde park I saw this neighbouring hotel beside Holiday Villa being extensively renovated. It's The Blakemore.
The area where we stayed was known as Leinster Gardens. Walking on there was this restaurant being offered for sale. Business must have been bad for this restaurant that it had to close down. If you have the money you can buy over this restaurant to sell nasi lemak which will surely sell. A niche market can be secured when the wealthy will come to gamble their wealth away at a new casino being constructed less than 50 meters away will follow their nose at the smell of freshly cooked nasi lemak. All the more so if they are from Malaysia or Singapore. The casino is owned by a Malaysian company.
The building under renovation is a new Casino in London being built by a Malaysian Company. no prizes will be given for the correct guess as to which company is involved. They were allowed to renovate the building but on the condition that the facade of the old building is maintained. Only the inside of the building was torn down. It was definitely a great architectural and engineering feat.
A grand looking building
The local authorities had to take care of all people especially the mentally impaired person and so the roads had to be painted with the instruction to Look Right when crossing a road even at the traffic light. Note the color pencils being used to decorate the walls surrounding the building under renovation.
This man was out early on his bike to excercise.
Entering Hyde Park via Lancaster Gate, I saw this map of the park.
It was around 6 AM and the park was quite deserted except for a few people jogging or walking their dogs.
The statue of a man riding a horse looks interesting. Made the mistake of not reading what was written on the plaque. Later I found out that it was the statue of George Watts Physical Energy. Behind this statue there is a story that no reputable tourist guide would want to repeat. Bribe your way if you insist to know the story, who knows the guide maybe tempted to reveal the story.
Another angle with the rising sun behind it.
The dog's poo can be deposited here. Did see a man collecting his dog's poo and deposited them in this receptacle. No wonder their park is clean.
A dog on a long leash.
Now again the instruction to look left and right before crossing a road. Bicycles can only be rode in their designated lane in the park.
Walking across the park I reached the other side where the Royal Albert Hall was located. I was amazed by the sight of another structure at the fringe of the park. This structure as told by blogger Atok from Reading was the Prince Albert memorial.
For other cluster of statues were constructed at the four corners of the fence depicting a certain story. From the keyboard of my reliable source himself this is what he wrote:
The intricate embossed murals and design on the Prince Albert Memorial.
Here is the famous Royal Albert Hall where our late Sudirman Haji Arshad once performed and was crowned as Asia's best performer beating Anita Sarawak of Singapore and many other well known Asian performers. Dato' Siti Nurhaliza had performed here to a packed paying audience. Recently a play The King And I was staged here and in the play 2 children of blogger Atok from Reading, England acted. Read Kak Teh's take on it here. Backtracking into the park I saw this juniper flower/fruit which from my blurred vision I initially thought to be birds.
The insignia on the ground indicating The South Flower Walk. All dogs must be kept on lead when going inside the walk.
Lavenders were flowering when I walked along it. Luckily Mek Yam of New York wasn't anywhere near otherwise she would be tempted to grab a bundle for her home decoration.
A solitary pigeon perched on a branch. According to a reliable source by the nickname of Awang Goneng who had been living in London for more than 3 decades, it is a wood pigeon which had migrated from the countryside. Their numbers are increasing at the expense of the London feral pigeons and the Federal Pigeons included.
A squirrel moved towards me expecting to be fed. I am sorry I brought only my camera with me.
He looked at me with one eye.
Spotted another one later at another side of the park. Maria an expatriate teacher in Narathiwat, Thailand said this squirrel must never be fed but 'they should be hauled into the air and waved around like cat toys and they would make a beautiful sight' . 'Those cute eyes are pure evil' she added further. Couple that with the comments from Awang Goneng, I do believe her. Only the devil of a squirrel can survive in a city park of London. Read the reasons for that at Maria's blogsite Kafe Dakoh here.
Singnages aplenty to show you the way.
Suddenly I heard the sound of big birds flying. When I looked up I was just in time to record these four birds flying. U Lee and Ee Lynn said they were the trans migratory Canadian Geese visiting London. U Lee should know as he lives in Canada. How did Ee Lyn knows? She lives in KL. I know she knows because Ee Lynn loves nature and she is a member of Malaysian Nature Society.
Despite of their beauty, Awang Goneng said they are great bullies. Well when you are big and powerful, being a bully seems to be the order of the day all the more so when you are the migratory kind who will just fly away after commiting a crime on the local populace.
When I zoomed in only 3 came into the frame.
Later in the evening after our guided tour of London, we had time to revisit Hyde park. I wanted to share Hyde Park with my other half. Now I have an assistant to put on record of us as to have been to Leinster Garden, London.
The other half wanted a picture of her too but right inside the park. Now the children and their children will know for sure that she had been to Hyde Park, London.
We reached Kensington Palace. I guess for a fee it is possible to tour the palace.
Can you read what it says?
We couldn't cover much of the park that afternoon as my wife was still feeling the pain from the broken toe nail as a result of running the 15 coaches length of ground in Brussels. So we headed home to the hotel.
On the way back we saw this solitary old gentleman wearing an Italian cap sitting on a park bench. He must be dreaming of how his life would be if he were to live in London and spend the rest of his life there. The weather maybe nice for now that it was the beginning of summer. How will it be if the weather turns hot? Worse still is whether he can withstand the harsh cold winter? Will he have enough money to live in expensive London? Let us just leave him to himself to continue with his dreams. After all dreams are free. Remember Tennyson's 'The Lotus Eaters'?