Posts Tagged ‘tropical’

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Kew’s gardens.

January 4, 2013

After a fine New Year’s Eve party and a bracing New Year’s Day walk (and post-walk viewing of The Princess and the Frog), the 2nd of January was the day Toby and I went to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. Before Christmas, Toby’s eagle eyes had spotted an offer for the 12 Days of Christmas at Kew, which basically consisted of free tickets to the gardens. And so off we went! Although it was a cloudy and drizzly day, there was plenty to see and we had a fabulous time (I must be growing up / getting old, because visiting a place like this for 3 hours would have been my idea of hell only a couple of years ago). There were various intriguing sculptures:

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Conservatories filled with tropical plants and palm trees, desert environments and tanks with marine life:

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A part dedicated to alpine plants (with some very pretty narcissi) and a Japanese garden area similar to the Kyoto Garden in Holland Park:

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Some beautiful temples scattered around (dedicated to a lucky Princess Augusta), an impressive lake, and some intriguing statues:

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As the rain came down more persistently, we walked through more of the park area, along an avenue lined with thimble-shaped bushes, and to a Japanese pagoda.

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This is where the pictures end, but there was more! We came across an overpriced café/restaurant which I am sure served lovely food and drink but at more than I was willing to spend when out for a day in a park. And if we’d gone there for free, I think I would have felt even more aggrieved had we already paid to get in and then had to pay more to sustain ourselves along the way! There was a stinky compost heap, and located near that, the most terrifying part of the day: the Treetop Walkway. So it looks lovely on the website – take my advice and stick to viewing the pictures here. Because once you’ve climbed four floors’ worth of see-through metal mesh stairs, you’ve taken a couple of deep breaths (up until this point in my life, I was able to tolerate heights, but I’ve evidently developed a fear of them) and begun to walk round (the walkway is a large oval-shape), you realise that IT MOVES. The fucking walkway SWAYS. I am using caps because that is how much it freaked me out. I held on to the wooden banister and started to walk round more quickly, keeping my eyes looking at the (on that day, murky) canopy of trees to distract myself from: the fact that the walkway seemed to be held up by nothing more than sparse metal trees, the swaying which appeared to be becoming more violent, and the mesh floor through which one could see the ground far below. Toby was a few feet behind me and suddenly called to me that he felt sick and had to go back down; I gauged that despite feeling like the terror had been unremitting for at least 10 minutes, I was less than a third of the way around the walkway and so I decided to practically run with him back to the lift and get down and off the thing sharpish. Even while we waited for the lift, I could feel the structure moving.

I never saw or heard a giant crash or collapsing of the structure, and so I presume that everything was fine and that the Treetop Walkway is indeed meant to sway (perhaps it gives one a more vivid experience of what it’s like to be a tree). The view is fantastic, as you can see on the link in the above paragraph. But if you even think you aren’t a fan of heights, take my advice and stick to the website experience: don’t go up there, because it’s terrifying to anyone with nerves of less than steel.

And with that, we decided to say goodbye to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. It is a truly fantastic experience and well worth seeing once – I’d happily go back again next year if we can get free tickets again. Although it feels very “cultural” and its visitors were largely comprised of families trying to entertain their children before they go back to school and elderly National Trust devotees, it was wonderful to do and see something different, and to be wowed by the feats and ingenuity of nature. The aquarium-style exhibits were wonderful, and the conservatories are numerous and really immerse one in a tropical environment. And of course, that Treetop Walkway is an unforgettable experience 😉 It’s definitely worth a visit!

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dream – Louboutins, teen soldiers & cinema screens.

January 23, 2010

I was with my school friends including Liam and Nick White, as well as my mother.  I remember seeing a pair of Louboutin stilettos on my mother’s bed which were black suede / velvet with red soles, and angled awkwardly at the heels.  It turned out that I was in some sort of travelling military troop, who had to attack evil teenage girls and women who looked innocent but had deathly fighting skills.

On a night off, we’d ended up going to Liam’s house for dinner.  For some reason, I wasn’t quite confident of my friendships with Liam and Nick, and I felt suspicious of them.  Liam was upstairs getting changed, while Nick was sat next to me in the foyer of his house waiting so that we could then go and have dinner. Nick was suspicious of me, and things that I kept saying to make fun of how long Liam was taking were taken the wrong way, and I’d text Liam to hurry up as I wasn’t happy.  Eventually he came downstairs and we went for dinner in a neighbouring room in Liam’s house, with soft blue chairs.  My mother was there, as was another boy from my school called Adam (whom I didn’t much like either).  We ate food, and luckily my mum was really nice to me whereas most of the others annoyed me, and we kept stealing each others’ seats.  At odd moments, Liam pretended to be asleep, and then there was a giant cinema screen in the corner of his house, and he pretended to believe that it wasn’t a screen but a window looking through to the scene being displayed (a sort of tropical paradise scenery with changing, vibrant colours for a sky).  I wasn’t 100% sure he was pretending, as his acting was so convincing, but Nick told me not to be so stupid and insult Liam’s intelligence.

After that, as part of our troop there were some of the nurses with whom I work in real life at the hospital. We were doing a training exercise on how to stalk, fight and kill some of the evil fighting women, in the setting of somewhere which was a cross between a castle and a garden.  At first, there were just dark grey brick walls, from behind which women and teenage girls would approach me.  At first I didn’t believe they could be deadly, but that was my mistake and suddenly they would lunge for me, their teeth and faces would twist and contort and become all jagged, and I would have to punch them, attack them and kill them with my machine gun.  I was dressed in camouflage military uniform, and at the side of my vision, suddenly there was a screen with different icons.  Every time I killed one of these women, an icon with a tough-looking dark-skinned male face with a tough expression would spin from the side of the icons screen and i would acquire more points – in other words, my quest had become a video game!  After a few kills, the settings became a little more elaborate: I approached two glass doors on the outside of a patio, from which two teenage girls placidly appeared; there was a grey brick turret which looked as if it were going to shoot something straight up, when a woman lunged from behind it.  One of the nurses helping train me, whose name is Sally in real life, gave me some good hints for not falling for the evil women’s traps and keeping my mind solely on killing them.  I racked up a lot of points and a lot of soldier-icons, and that was, as far as I can remember, the end of the dream!