Tuesday, August 11, 2009

sunday in the park with albert

Our last day in Kensington. I’m going to miss it. I always do. I woke this morning to the chapel bells of St. Stephen’s, and I laid in bed in thought about everything I needed to do versus everything I wanted to do on my last day in London. I made a plan in my head – and did a fairly good job sticking to it. It helped that the weather was perfect. Literally, a perfect day in London.

I invited whoever would like to go with me to tea at the Kensington Orangery. Wouldn’t you know it, the boys all slept in and the girls all showed up dressed to the nines. So I went to tea, joined by my giant harem. We had a nice time. I had some chicken. Others had cakes. I think Melissa was the only one who actually had tea. It’s nice to have a sit-down meal after so many Tesco sandwiches. And I always love the Orangery, even though I had a really awkward experience there few years ago that I cannot recount on my blog.

When I am a rich man, like a multimillionaire, I’m going to fix up the Provo Theatre Company. With the money I have left over, I’m going to buy the Hyde Park Ward an air conditioner. Because SERIOUSLY. The programs shouldn’t have to double as fans! And there should be no mid-sacrament meeting back sweat happening. Stifling. All the same, I enjoyed the talks. Oddly, they went along with the topic we discussed on our way to church; the decision to be happy. So many people want to be happy, but they don’t realize that it’s a choice. You can’t expect things to make you happy. They won’t. Other people probably won’t either. Nothing can make you happy except you. And you have to decide that you are happy. No matter what you are dealing with. It’s odd how much happiness you attract when you make that decision.

After church we went to the Serpentine Gallery to see what tricks awaited us. Every year the Serpentine, a little art house in the middle of Hyde Park, invites a famous architect to design a structure around the gallery. This year it was Kazuyo Sejima. And while architects in the past have created something surprising and conspicuous, she did the opposite. Using glass, vegetation, and gently sloping steel, she created something that almost disappears. I took about a billion pictures. I thought it was intriguing. Much more so than the Jeff Koons exhibit inside the gallery, which was just a bunch of blow-up pool toys and stackable plastic chairs.

We stopped to park our regards to big golden Albert:

I felt like I wanted to do one more solid walk on my last day. So when the students split for shopping, I headed back into Kensington, and wound my way to Holland Park. While there in the vicinity I saw:

The home of Kenneth Grahame, who wrote one of my favorite books: The Wind in the Willows.

Sticky Fingers, which is owned by Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones

Holland Park, which is one of the most beautiful, albeit smallest, parks in London

Some amazing Victorian neighborhoods

The home of Michael Powell, who directed The Red Shoes, and one of my favorites: Peeping Tom

I also stopped by the homes of some old friends:

Virginia Woolf, who was a writer

Winston Churchill, who was a prime minister

Enid Bagnold, who was a playwright

Lord Baden Powell, who was a good boy scout

Benny Hill, who was not

And thus concluded my stay in London. The weather held out all day. I was grateful to finish my time here doing what I love best. We leave for Edinburgh at 3:30 a.m.!