06.07.2022 | London Calling Part 2

My time here is almost over. Woah! Did I do all the things I wanted to do? No. Do I fret about that? A bit. Should I fret about it? Nooooo! I’m doing better with not being to hard on myself, but in the back of my mind there still is this tiny voice on occasion saying “You didn’t do all what you had planned. You failed!” I can shut her up quickly most of the time, but it’s still a hassle.

Day 3 (Sunday): I trekked all the way to Shoreditch and was looking forward to seeing Grace Petrie with her stand-up comedy work in progress. Just to read – after I had already entered the building – that she’s got the plague and had to cancel. Bummer. I stayed for the first act on the schedule and he was fine, but I didn’t want to spend too much time inside. Took the bus down to Covent Garden, where I knew of a Indian restaurant (chain) to get some lunch.

Covent Garden
Covent Garden

It was a sunny Sunday in Covent Garden, so the place was packed with tourists / visitors. As I could have expected. As I should have expected all the parks to be. Packed with people as it was a sunny Sunday. But I didn’t, so I was a bit taken aback when I entered Hyde Park some time after. I still found a space for a bit, before I set off – again – for my last stop of the evening.

Elton John at “The Vic” in Watford. Or rather my friend’s garden across the street 🙂 We had a lovely evening and the sound was ok – we were sitting behind the stage so the sound carried away from us, but it was for free, so who am I to complain?

Elton John at "The Vic"
Elton John at “The Vic”

Day 4 (Monday): A trip to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew. A lovely day out and there is so much to see. I will definitely be back some other time, I think. I didn’t go into any of the Greenhouses, because it was too warm outside already.

Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens

I probably should have expected this to be a popular destination for end of the school year trips. But… I didn’t. Luckily there is enough space to avoid the crowds – once you leave the most obvious attractions. I wandered around the woodland part on the west side of the Gardens for most of the afternoon. I missed the new waterlily! Or rather, once I realized I would have to go back a bit to get to the pond, I couldn’t be bothered as I was still a long way from the exit. Early exit on that day because of Kew Music Festival in the evenings. But yes, all in all a lovely day out.

Day 5 (Tuesday): If I had to pick one outdoor activity to do on a regular basis, it would be hiking / walking. My parents were avid hikers and took us along as children. Which led to me not being interested in it for a long time as an adult. I got more into a few years back, when I was doing My Peak Challenge and all that and I actually enjoyed it. The last two years… well, a lot of things went down the drain with my mental health these last two years. MPC and being active being one of them. At the same time I read about the London LOOP and the shorter Capital Ring Walk and thought, that would be fun to do or at least start at some point. You know, check one of the parts off every time I am in London.

Capital Ring Walk
Capital Ring Walk Sign

And that’s what I did yesterday, with my first section (and a bit) of the Capital Ring Walk. I roughly did section 7 – Richmond Bridge to Osterly Lock – but started a bit earlier (the end of section 6) and went a bit further, because that worked well with the direct bus routes from my hotel. I had considered doing a bit more, but I’m on my period at the moment and thus didn’t wanted to venture too far away from civilisation (aka available toilets). But I’m glad I did the bit I did and plan to definitely pick it up some day.

When you think of London you often think of the West End and the Tower Bridge and Oxford Street. City Life and all that. Every once in a while it feels good to see there is so much more to this city. And yes, there are the big parks in the city, but this walk definitely features lovely “open space and nature reserves”.

Syon Park
Syon Park
Grand Canal London
Grand Canal London

Day 6 (Today): A chill day, obviously, as I’m still sitting in my room. I might repack my suitcase before I head out for the day, though I only have to check out at noon tomorrow, so I can just as well do it then. I considered visiting the British Museum, because they have some interesting exhibitions on at the moment, but then I couldn’t be bothered to go all the way there. I’ll most probably be back in Hyde Park / Kensington Park in a deck chair for most of the afternoon, before heading back to Hammersmith for my final (on this run) “Operation Mincemeat” tonight.

03.07.2022 | London Calling – Part 1

Typical London street…

I’ve missed this. The tiny things that make London so different from my regular small town life and experience. The street signs (and advice ON the street). The diversity. The “Mind the Gap”. The young people in their school uniforms. The food / snacks. The parks. The theatre (Ehm, one musical in particular, but more about that in due time…). The bookstores. *sigh*.

I’m still a bit overwhelmed from all the choices and decisions – what to do? where to go? What to see? What to have for lunch / tea / snacks ? – even more so than on previous trips. I blame my currently overwhelmed state of mind. But I’m doing my best and it’s always good to remind myself, that I do not HAVE to do anything. I don’t have to check off an itinerary. I don’t have to take more photos of the same old London landmarks I’ve taken dozen of photos of over the years. I can just… go with the flow. Pack my bag with a bottle of water. A book. My camera, my phone. my wallet. And off I go.

This all sounds much more chill than I am to be honest. But, I’m very glad to be back and have a change of scenery, because even in this a bit overwhelming state, that’s a good distraction from my worries and it does cheer me up. And that’s the whole point of a vacation, right?

Day 1 (Friday afternoon): I arrived at the hotel around noon, got settled it, spent some time in the park around the corner from my hotel and went to bed super early.

Day 2 (Saturday): I got up super early (go figure), had a stroll around my area and spent some more time in the park, grabbed a coffee at Pret and came back to my hotel for a breakfast of peanut butter sandwiches. I didn’t want to spend too much money on eating out each morning, so I brought my (leftover) bread from home, bought a jar of peanut butter here. Had the same today and will probably do the same tomorrow and then I’m out of bread ;-). I later had a tiny stroll along the Thames in Hammersmith, met friends for Lunch at an amazing vegetarian place and then finally saw Operation Mincemeat again. Like stated above, I need more time to gather my thoughts on this marvellous piece of theatre. I’ll be back on Wednesday for round 2.

Day 3 (Sunday / today): Another early night / early morning. Spent too much time fretting about what to do this morning (see overwhelmed by all the choices), but I think I’ve got a good plan for now. After 12 I’ll head over to Shoreditch to see Grace Petrie do her first stand-up routine at the ARGComFest, after which I’ll go all the way to Watford to visit a friend, sit in her garden and listen for free to Elton John in the Vicarage stadium across her street.

No distinct plan what to do over the next few days, but enough ideas for sure…

28.06.2022 | “It’s a Hard Life Wherever You Go…”

Lyrics: “It’s a Hard Life Wherever You Go” – Nanci Griffith, 1989

Every other day I come up with all the various topics I think I should write about here. What kind of lyric quote to use and which prompts to structure the post. And then life gets in the way. My life which feels a bit overwhelming. Emotions and thoughts and oh… work and regular life like chores at home (which I still ignore more often than not and then need to find a way to live with that). StruggleCare helped to get some new perspective on that and I’ll try to incorporate some of their ideas when I get back from vacation.

Vacation! Another thing that feels a bit overwhelming and I dislike that, because it shouldn’t feel that way. I’ll leave for London on Friday and I don’t have a clear plan on how to spend my days there. I have a few things planned as in “bought tickets / meet friends” but a lot of the week is still a blank canvas. With a few tentative coloured dots somewhere. I honestly don’t know how that will work out. I just hope I don’t end up holed up in my hotel room because of that. Wish me luck.

Anyway, just wanted to check in here. I’ve got big plans (hahahahaha!) to get into more of a routine with things in the new / next month. Friday in London. Blogging. Meditating. All those kind of things. Not sure if it’s a good thing to schedule a start for later instead of just starting today, but…. I do start with here today, don’t I? I also meditated for a few minutes this morning. Not with a longer (8-10 minutes) guided meditation, because right now that length of time in the morning feels a bit… overwhelming. Surprise.

London, 2020
London, January 2020

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