My Holiday Part One

Moosey is let loose in London. Here is my first holiday journal, full of sightings of red cordylines and London pigeons - and photographs of the London rain. Oh well, I guess it's good for the gardens...

Saturday 21st May

Right. I am here, in London, survivor of how many flying hours? Twenty six? I won't list all the videos I've watched (heaps). Today is a catch-up day, my first chance to report in.

Dubai Stop-Over

I stayed a night in Dubai en route - a new, successful desert city, with absolutely beautiful skyscrapers. Palm trees, neatly grid-planted, ringed with flowering Canna lilies, beds of red and white petunias, carpets of lawn - and the desert sand. I suspect that Dubai is not much of a gardener's city - fair enough. Though it seemed odd that as a hotel guest I was encouraged not to 'waste water' when brushing my teeth. Not only the resort golf courses but those grass median strips will all be continually irrigated.

 I am on the top of a tourist bus - and it's raining!
London City View

I have already spent one adventurous day in London riding on the underground (tourists keep asking me for directions), and sitting high on a tour bus watching the London traffic, and the hoards of visitors (me included) staring at the famous London sights - St Paul's, Big Ben, the Tower of London... London's municipal plantings are cordyline-crazy - the New Zealand icon, sticking up out of a bed of wet petunias...

 One of the beautiful flowering cherries in Regent's Park.
Pink Park Blossom

Regent's Park

And I wandered around the famous Regent's Park. I had fun, after initially being alarmed at finding a large dreadlocked man in the ladies loo - hopefully he was the cleaner. I saw very few other people - mainly park gardeners, and a few very professional looking dog walkers. One had colour-coded her canines - brown dogs on the left, black dogs on the right.

A Bird Photographer

The gardens themselves were in preparation for summer, with nothing much going on. I ended up taking too many photographs of lazy ducks and stick-thin herons. And puffy pigeons. It rained, it blew, and it felt a bit like the weather back home!

Then I found Regent's Canal - lovely! I went on a canal-boat trip past private mansions. Keep out! Private gardens! Anti-climbing paint has been applied to fences! Guard dogs! Red cordylines in pots! More red cordylines in pots! Oops - a green cordyline! The Maida tunnel is 248 meters long. Camden Lock - these inland waterways are so interesting, for a visitor.

Closer to home, the not-quite-so-famous London Rooftop Garden has temporarily been uninstalled - there have been unreasonably high winds, and pots of flying lavender would not be a good thing. A huge Ceanothus is in bloom below, and a squirrel has started scooting up the drainpipe and across the window ledge, checking for rooftop food. Cute! He/she is not the 'right' sort of squirrel, but the red ones don't live in the south.

 A rather cold, wet pigeon, waiting for summer.
Regent's Park Pigeon

Well, that's it for now. I have more plans - maybe Sissinghurst, and a trip on the Eurostar to Belgium are but two. But for now, it's morning coffee time. Hello to all the Moosey animals and house people, and a special hug for the Moosey cordylines, in beautifully designed native New Zealand foliage plantings. They'd make the London garden planners green with envy!

Sunday 22nd May

Right. An action plan is needed. I am up with the birds (and the first Heathrow planes) and have found a pamphlet which encourages me to explore the 'wildest spots in town'. It promises me that two thirds of London is either green or watery, and 'tranquility is never far away'. Makes me smile - I think I carry my own personal tranquility with me. Before I decide to pick a page, choose my habitat, and go forth on the appropriate bus or tube, I will give a updated summary of Moosey loose in London.

 Red cordyline number 78... and still counting...
Windsor Window Box with Red Cordyline

Best value? Yorkshire Gold, the little British tea-bag which will produce TWO mugs of good strong tea.
Weather? Rain and wind - a mixture, politely called 'changeable'. My Goretex parka is getting a lot of bodytime.
Things to do indoors? Read Son of Moosey's sci-fi book collection (brilliant), watch UK Big Brother on TV (oops).
Things to do outdoors? Find London's green and watery places. Get dictionary for help with habitat classification words. For example, what is ruderal wasteland? Is it worth visiting? Hmm...

Current Cordyline Count

28 red cordylines in private pots, seen from footpaths and towpaths.
52 red cordylines in council bedding schemes, seen from top of hop-on hop-off tour bus.
1 red cordyline in downstairs garden, seen through window.

 Beautiful, even in the rain...
Great Windsor Park Trees


I went on bus and train to Windsor - I've always wanted to see this castle, and I fancied a bit of tame English footpath walking. It was a lovely wee day trip, zooming past wetlands, hazy green forests, rivers, and so on. I took a long walk down the longest straightest ever path through Windsor Great Park. I drenched my lunch fish'n'chips in vinegar and stared through the rain at the castle walls. Nice, even in the pouring rain.

Sorry to be boring, but Windsor is chock-full of red cordylines in pots - and fat pigeons...