Gray’s Inn Gardens @ Theobolds Road

Eventually, I managed to visit Gray’s Inn Gardens, the place which I had been looking on over its fence for many years.
It was one lunchtime before the weather turned autumny and  I was happened to be in the area, whereupon I decided to investigate it.

The entrance to the garden was located at the north end of Jockey’s Fields, by a traffic-control barrier.
A hand written notice was informing the users that the garden would be closed at 2:30pm.

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A narrow path leading up to the garden…

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And it suddenly opened up to the sea of lush green.
Behold the way this mature plane tree  soaring towards the sky!

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I lay myself down on the grass at once and looked up the green canopy which fanned out its lowest branches at the point as high as a three-storeyed building.
While a breeze caressed my fringe, I gazed at this magnificent specimen which stood on this ground for god knew how long. As long as 200 years? I felt immensely privileged to be so physically close to a living thing which managed to survive the waves of turbulence since it germinated in this world. I was enchanted.

The garden was a perfect location for a picnic lunch.
It was a shame that I already finished my lunch elsewhere…

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Just compare the size of the trunk against the man with a paper bag in hand!

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I felt like being a Hobbit in Fangorn Forest.
What a magical place Gray’s Inn Gardens was…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Urban Villages

The tranquil expanse of Grey’s Inn Fields greets me as I walk down Theobold’s Road.
For a long time, I believed that the garden was closed to the public.
Every time I passed there, on foot or on bus, I never saw a living soul except daffodils in the spring or mournful looking plane trees in the winter.
So I assumed the place was out-of-bounds to general public…

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Then, I googled about the garden and discovered that they were open to public!
The opening time is rather brief, between 12:00 – 14:30, Monday to Friday. Still, I CAN go in.
Once, I’ve been given a green light from my surgeon, I shall visit the garden and let you know how I find it.

At the junction with Grey’s Inn Road, Clerkenwell Road starts and it dips gradually towards Farringdon Road.
When will the road blocks around Farringdon be removed? It must be to do with the Crossrail project.
Every night after the London rush hour dies down, the area becomes full of workmen in identical orange overalls with reflective strips. As some of you know, I studied architecture. And the sight of men working in construction sites excites me (kind of). I do like to see humans working against the elements, let me put it this way. I find it heroic.

Anyway, I carry on sauntering along Clerkenwell Road for a short while and turn left into Aylesbury Street.
In the background, a spire of St James’s Church towers over Clerkenwell Green…

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I love the fact that London is full of these charming squares with a villagy atmosphere if I care to look for it.

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Open fields or woods which distinguished the boundaries between parishes have long gone as the city grew.
Yet, those churches which are dotted all over London are discreet backbones of the communities as a magnet to pull the people around it.

Seeing the church on the left, I walk up Sekforde Street.
On this street, there is a pub I have been intrigued for a quite sometimes…

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Sekforde Arms.
The reviews of this water hole are a mixed bag – 50/50 positive & negative.
For example, the food doesn’t sound like their strong point. However, all the reviewers praise the pub for not following the trend and refusing to turn itself to another gastro pub or smarting up for yuppies (aka tossers).

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Oh, I wish Hubbie was with me.
I would have gone inside if I were not alone. I am not a timid kind (far from it).
However, I am not comfortable with the idea of walking into a pub alone – I am ok with a bar but not a pub.

When I mentioned about the pub to Hubbie a while ago, he told me that he had been there already.
“Oh, it’s just an ordinary pub. Nothing special”, he replied.
But darling, all I want is a traditional pub where they have a dart board on the wall and a roaring fireplace in the winter! The pubs with small windows are endangered species in modern London. And I feel a certain nostalgia for it.
Therefore, I shall persuade Hubbie to accompany me in near future…

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