21 December 2014
A bright walk on a grey day in Kew Gardens
I had not been to Kew Gardens for a ridiculously long time (for various reasons not to do with Kew) so I took this opportunity to return despite it being a grey and somewhat inhospitable day.
Having set walking as the main/sole objective it made sense to enter via Lion Gate where the spaces are wilder and the people fewer.
My route took me past the Temperate House that is spending the next few years being completely restored. Just to make the point absolutely clear the area was cordoned off with a big "Restoration" sign.
Only the top of the Temperate House was visible and that was enough to remind me of its splendour.
The south end of Kew Gardens is where most of the trees live and they seemed to be enjoying the weather as little as I was. The deciduous trees had long given up their leaves to expose bare branches that just had survival in mind.
But while the trees slept they left sculptured shapes that looked bold against the grey sky.
The walkway had been there a few years and I was used to it though it was still unsettling when sections sprang up as I walked over them or when sections had been clearly worked on to try and stop them from doing that.
The gentle swaying in the wind was not too pleasant either but at least I was able to walk round at my pace without people squeezing past me.
The point of the walkway was to get in amongst the branches and that is best done when they are in leaf and crowd up against it. In Winter the attraction was more the views that it offered across Kew Gardens and beyond.
As always, I climbed down from the walkway feeling rather pleased with myself for conquering it.
From there my next target was the Orangery on the far side of the gardens as that was the nicest place to get a coffee (and cake!) and was also the option that gave me the most walking.
After that I let the greyness win and headed to the Victoria Gate exit and the 65 bus home. I had done my steps, walked through trees and cleared all the cobwebs away. Even on a day as grey and miserable as this Kew Gardens had been stimulating and pleasurable.