Day 2—Sunday, MAY 13, 2012
Started the morning off with a walk through Kensington Gardens. Since it was a bright Sunday morning, the park was thronged with Londoners out to get a bit of sun. It was also “dogs on parade” with dozens of animals galloping around, and lots of toddlers staggering with delighted ambition, across huge fields of unmowed green grass. Strolled over to Round Pond, where we were delighted to see several small sailboats blown by the wind or radio operated. Families wi kids were clustered around groups of hungry swans. Everyone set a spell in the sling chairs by the pond, until someone came up and tried to collect money. Wound our way down the Flower Path, under the weeping birch to the great read lace façade of Queen’s Gate, just a block from Hyde Park Gate.
Walked down the short culvert to No. 22—Virginia’s home from her birth in 1882 until her father’s death and the move to Bloomsbury in1904. Unfortunately the tall white house was under scaffolding to refurbish the stucco covering the grey-brown brick, so not really suitable for taking pictures. Meditated on how crowded it would have been with all those people in that comparatively small house and how little privacy Woolf would have had Had forgotten that Winston Churchill’s house was across the street, or at least the house in which he died.
Then we hiked down to the V&A, where we had a large nourishing lunch in the sumptuous rooms. Designed by William Morris, Gamble and Edward Poynter , I believe they are the site of a party in A.S. Byatt’s The Children’s Book.
With the help of a student with data roaming, we found the right bus to take us down to Chelsea, and walked through a series of winding back streets to Carlyle’s house. Since we hadn’t been able to get into 22 Hyde Park Gate, Carlyle’s House offered a good substitute vision of what a typical Victorian interior looked like, aside from the intrinsic interest in the Carlyle themselves and Woolf’s fascination with them, with its front parlor, tiny bedrooms, totally plumbing-less bathroom, and light airy study built onto the top for the family patriarch to work in peace and silence.
|back Garden Carlyle's House|
From Carlyle’s house we found our way to Chelsea Physic Garden via the Chelsea Bridge and Embankment where we explored the medieval gardens (students are surprised at how much botany and art history they are being taught along with Virginia Woolf) and had a lovely tea.
Bus to Victoria; then tube to Paddington to shop for various thing that had become needful.