Paddington to St. Paul’s walk

Saturday was a wet and windy day. And COLD!!! What a change from two weeks prior, and last year. We have visited Waterways Cavalcade at Paddington Basin on two previous occasuons and the weather had been warm and sunny. Not this time. It was going to make photography interesting, especially as the sun shining had lulled me into believing it was warmer than it actually was. Arrived at Paddington station at 10.30 meeting Louise for a Starbucks and discuss a plan. As we’d been before we knew the general scheme of things, so headed off around 11.30, as the Parade was around 13.00. There are a large number of stalls on the towpath but most are on a road overlooking the basin. Unfortunately it was very difficult to photograph the stalls as so many people were using them to shelter from the wind, so we continued to the bridge and to the stalls on the road. We stopped at a stall from which we have purchased from previously but unfortunately she had nothing new. Except… a special wooden picture frame with our two favourite characters on. How sweet, especially as she had no guarantee we’d turn up. By now we were both quite cold so headed over the bridge to the food area, where I bought a warming curry. We realised at that point the cavalcade had already started and we were the wrong side of the canal.
We crossed back but, by now, the crowds had gathered, so we had to fight for a place near the judges’ area, catching the last four decorated barges. Last year the theme was Canals and their attractions. This year the theme was the IWA volunteers, which looked as though it had been hard to interpret. Managed a few shots but not the best vantage point.
Heading back I saw a gentleman setting up a plate camera so went to have a chat but just then the skies chose to open again, an intermittent feature of the day, so he hurriedly packed up, so blew that chance. The shower didn’t last long and we managed to get some half-decent photographs of the moored barges. Nowhere near as many as last year, unfortunately. Time for another warming drink, followed by a walk towards the Southbank. We are always on the lookout for art and sculptures and were not disappointed coming across ‘Sacré Blur’, a ‘Greenhouse’ made up of reclaimed 18th/19thcentury stained glass. It appears the artists used to live on the estate. It is best viewed at night when it is illuminated from inside. The original idea was for psychedelic ‘herbs’ to be grown inside but the Council vetoed that.
On to Hyde Park and a stop off at the two alleged Banksys. One is protected but one isn’t. A number of Tourists insisted on standing in front of it doing nothing but chat, so a decent shot was missed. We crossed Hyde Park, then caught a bus to Peter Jones, and a tea and a warm. Afterwards we headed to Victoria and just as we reached the station the skies dumped all their moisture on us! Luckily we found shelter under the overhang of a disused building. After 10 minutes it cleared and we went to Westminster Bridge. Crossing it is horrendous. There are so many people stopping to take photographs, jostling and shoving to get ‘The Shot’ creating mobile chicanes! Once across we headed down to The Eye where there is usually a large puddle and it didn’t disappoint. Also the sun had finally shown it’s face so could take some reflection shots. Our ultimate goal was New Change and a welcome Pho (Vietnamese street soup) to warm us up, before heading home.
The next day, heading to Kew Gardens, and very close to my flat, we spotted a Mobike that someone had balanced on a bin. It just seemed so odd I had to photograph it.

That Saturday we managed 17 miles in total. Poor Louise’s legs!


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