Two months into my London relocation and I am still struggling to cope with the car pollution and passive cigarette smoke which dirty my lungs on a daily basis. As I live close to London Bridge and don’t have a car, I tend to walk everywhere for the convenience, and exercise, instead of catching public transport. The downside is the streets are crazy busy with buses, cars, taxis, and trucks spewing their awful, poisonous fumes into the air and onto the surrounding pavements. Also, the number of Londoners and tourists who smoke is insane. I haven’t smoked so much since giving up many, many, many years ago. The streets are awash with ignorant people walking down the street, billowing their dirty, cancerous smoke out of their mouths and into the noses and lungs of unsuspecting people behind them. On a daily basis, the number of times I have to slow down my walking pace, cross the street or hold my breath to avoid the second hand smoke is incredible.
So when the weather forecast indicated the sun would be shining today, I packed my camera and headed off to spend the day enclosed in the boundaries of beautiful Regents Park. No cars here, just plenty of fresh air, sunny autumn skies and resplendent serene nature. Well mostly serene if you ignore all the other people enjoying this magnificent park. Having visited the park once before a few years ago, I retraced my steps to the south side of the park and the glorious Queen Mary’s Garden (particularly Queen Mary’s Rose Garden) and long, tree lined Broad Walk boulevard. Even though the best time to visit the rose garden is in June, there were still plenty roses to admire, photograph and tease the imagination of what swathes of colours must appear in the garden at full bloom. Red was the colour of rose that particularly caught my eye. Who knew there were so many varieties. Except for Ingrid Bergman, I cannot recall any of the names as I was too busy chasing after garden beds and the next red rose to photograph. Catching my eye were also the poor forgotten roses whose petals had mostly fallen to the ground. To me they provided a different kind of beauty to photograph in their unusual shapes and formations. Butterfly or insect wings perhaps? And with the sun shining bright, the autumn leaves put on splendid display of golden yellows, reddish browns and mottled greens throughout the park.
After spending most of the day in the park and with the sun slowly heading towards the horizon, sadly my time had come to an end. Time to walk back to the nearby Baker Street tube station and descend into the underground for the boring, uninspiring ride home. For a brief moment I contemplated the 90 minute walk home through Marylebone, Soho, Covent Garden, across Waterloo Bridge, along the Thames, past Tate Modern and the Globe Theatre, through Borough Market, and past the Shard. But my energy was too depleted from spending the day bathed in sunshine in this wonderful place called Regents Park. My body had done enough walking around the park and my lungs were quietly rejoicing from all the fresh air. Best leave the smog induced walk home for another day.
For rose and flower lovers, I highly recommend a trip to the Columbia Road Flower Market also.