We’re back in London, Dave’s very favourite part of the world, and fabulous timing as there’s lots on.
Chelsea flower show has always been on the list of ‘must dos’ but didn’t really envisage going on my own and DC was certainly not a starter. So, when great friend Rosie invited me to join her and two friends, I didn’t take much persuading. But never really imagined it would be quite as much fun.
We met in Fulham and first stop was The Ivy Chelsea Garden for a delicious breakfast and great coffee to get the motors running. A very trendy new restaurant on the Kings Road, which meant we were only a few minutes walk from the Royal Hospital Chelsea where the show is held. Its been an annual spring event in London since 1913, with the only gaps being during the two world wars. No longer the largest flower show in Britian it still holds pride of place as being the most prestigious.
Little did I realise the number of people attending, 157,000 over the five days in an 11 acre area, but they seem old hands at catering for them and things move on smoothly. The girls soon found the exhibiting tents as we strolled towards the gardens and hats, handbags, jewellery, gardening gloves, and other necessities were soon purchased but Jane left her larger purchase of a very smart ladder to the pros to deliver rather than carry that around with us.
The gardens and exhibitions were fabulous and many variations on a theme - such fun to wander around admire and picture what we might like to create next time we have a garden of our own? From the Grand winner which resembled a wonderful wild natural country garden, which was in fact a representation of a small part of the 105 acre Chatsworth House Garden, to a variety of more structured gardens including a delightful Cloudy Bay Garden that reflected the characteristics a couple their well known wines to my favourite a Perfumer's garden in Grasse.
Then theres the smaller courtyard gardens, herb gardens, and even The Beauty of Islam garden. And then inside the huge tents we found an amazing array of colour, shapes, designs, fragrance and ideas - what an environment to linger in for a few hours!!
As the feet got weary we found the ideal piece of green bank to sit ourselves on, sip a Pimms or two and devour our delicious picnic. What a wonderfully organised bunch of friends I was lucky enough to spend the day with and by 6pm we were all jumping on various tubes, cabs, buses and planes heading home.
Again great timing, as Christopher and Sylvie have just arrived over from Grenoble for the week. We joined them one afternoon to tour the Royal Mews, at the back of Buckingham Palace.
It is not only one of the finest working stables still in existence, but it is here that the training of the Cleveland Bays and Windsor Greys horses that pull the royal carriages is also done. We missed seeing any of the horses working in the school, but there were a number in their stables and even enjoyed a stroll through the Harness room and the smell of all that leather. A pity we hadn’t done w wee bit more homework as with the Trouping of the colour coming up next month there is a lot of horse work happening but you usually have to be there early in the morning to see it.
The State carriages are all maintained here until needed for important occasions. The most impressive being the Gold State Coach, which has been used at every coronation since that of George 1V in 1821 also many others including the very grand Diamond Jubilee Coach.