A Travellerspoint blog

Loving London

sunny 8 °C

Firstly - the answer to the question in the previous entry.
These are nests of the greater spotted mistletoes: a name derived from the
fact that the toes of these elusive nocturnal creatures are completely hidden by feathers
and were originally believed to be non-existent (thereby 'mistle toes or missing toes').
Both the greater and lesser spotted mistletoes deposit small white eggs in clusters
throughout their nests. For centuries, gullible young men have been persuaded to risk
their lives to collect egg laden branches in the belief that any young maiden will be
forced to kiss them under its spell. Some people will believe anything.

We are now loving London where there seems to be more wildlife than in the countryside...
However, not everyone thinks of tropical parakeets as being a wild British bird, but when they
began escaping from aviaries a while ago they soon found that tourists couldn't read the multiple
park signs saying, "Don't Feed the Wildlife", and they thrived.
London's Royal Parks are splendid in the warm sunshine and the amorous waterfowl have put
on their courting coats. This is one of the many Egyptian ganders hoping to get lucky on the
Serpentine in Hyde Park...
But there are plenty of other birds swanning about in search of a mate...
While this beautiful heron seemed more interested in checking out his looks in the mirror...
When it comes to preening, there is surely no creature more elegant than the cavalry horse and on two occasions this week we were lucky enough to watch a full performance of the Household Cavalry in full regalia as they paraded in Hyde Park in preparation for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations to be held in the summer...
The drum horses of the mounted band were especially magnificent...
These specially bred and trained drum horses are a unique feature of the Household Cavalry, having to carry the rider in full regalia together with a pair of heavy silver drums.
As we watched, a hundred and seventy horses paraded for inspection by the General Officer Commanding the Household Division, Major General Christopher Ghika, and then performed a number of ceremonial exercises lasting over an hour. It was an exhilarating display of horsemanship accompanied by some excellent martial music - and it was absolutely free...

Our London 'home' is very close to Hyde Park which is radiant with spring colour, but many of the streets of London are simply bursting with blooms. Magnificent magnolias snuggle in the shelter of the tall buildings.
However, when it comes to blooms, nothing is likely to rival the moat of the 11th century Tower of London. Preparations are under way to turn the fortresses's moat into a meadow filled with twenty million flowers to commemorate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee year. Hundreds of tons of specially prepared soil are being poured into the moat in which the 20,000,000 plants will grow.
After two weeks of warm sunshine in England we decided to stay for a third - and then it snowed!
Yes, dear reader, an arctic freeze swept south and plunged the temperature nearly 20 degrees overnight.
Only a few more days and we will head south to Spain.

Now - today's puzzle. Is this some creative piece of modern art or part of some monumental historical artifact?
Answer next time as we take a tour around London's high spots (hint!).

Posted by Hawkson 17:19 Archived in England

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Enjoying your adventure. Stuck at home with bruised ribs from a fall. Friends are sending me photos of all the glory of spring in Vancouver. Looks like you are not missing anything with all the blooms in London. Look forward to your adventures in Spain.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Here on Gabriola we are watching eagles mating via a camera provided by Growls. People are anxious to see the eggs hatch and out come the little eaglets. Still cool but not raining....Sheila, you will enjoy your Español fluency on your next leg.

by Joyce Babula

Is it the staircase to Big Ben or The Tower of London?

by Janet

Ah, the magnificent Clydesdale. Very tall. First horse I ever "rode"--fell off when it trotted. It was even more magnificent looking up from hairy feet level.
Gave up on bottom photo--instant vertigo.

by R and B

Love the beauty of blossoms and birds. The moat sounds fascinating. Imagine what it will look like with 20 million blooms!! It shrinks our tulip festival of a million plus down to size. Very happy you are on the move and I can follow along. Big hugs, t

by Trudy

WOW !!! What an amazing thing to see all of those horses in all of their splendor. I can only imagine how massively impressive it was. As also will be the beauty when all those flowers bloom. Still if I had to choose one, I’d go with the ‘big feet’. thanks for constantly sharing your journeys. Carry on safely ~ love ya

by Gabriole

Loved the pictures of horses and birds. Would it work as the name of a pub, The Horse and Bird? Maybe not, but sure works in the blog.

My cherries were at their fullest yesterday, but the showers and wind have rained on their parade. I’m sure the snow in London was more cruel on those lovely trees you photographed. The blossoms’ fragility exactly why in Japan they are symbolic of life’s brief transience. But enough, Spain awaits. Look forward to reports of heat and sun.

by Tom Whalley

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