Sunday on the Southbank

Last Sunday I have met with my friend at Tate Gallery to see Sonia Delaunay exhibition. We both enjoyed looking at her impressive artwork of paintings, graphic designs, fashion projects and textiles. What a woman! Born in a poor Ukrainian family, she has been adopted as a young child by her wealthy uncle and introduced to art from an early age. Her drawing skills were noticed by her teachers. She has worked creatively through all her life and my friend said “She is my heroine”. Sonia and her husband Robert developed a theory called simultanism which states that our perception of colours seem to change when they are placed alongside each other. I was amazed by her use of colour and shapes. Really worth seeing.

After the exhibition we had a coffee in a very nice, members only cafe with an amazing view of Shard (tallest building in Europe) in the blue sky. The weather has been a treat and we later took a stroll along the River Thames. The Southbank in London is always a very busy place with many events going on. There was a Festival of Love, street artists, buskers, performers. Summer in the city in full swing.

The City of London
The City of London
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St.Paul’s Cathedral
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Tate Modern gallery
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The iconic chimney of Tate
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Yoda finishing his show
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Southwark Bridge and Tower Bridge
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The Shard
Millennium Bridge and St. Paul's Cathedral
Millennium Bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral
Oxo Tower
Oxo Tower

London has been enjoying some fine weather for the past few days and today was another glorious yet breezy day. I went down to a local park for a bit of lie down and some cloud watching. Now I shall learn more about the clouds terminology!

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Wild flowers spotting in London

Another sunny and breezy day in London. I went for a quick look around in my favourite woodlands once my boyfriend was having a haircut. I entered through the All Saints church gate to walk through the cemetery and what was my joy to discover lilies of the valley growing in the shady spot. I must have missed them before as I walked there many times. They have got their flower buds still closed but looking very promising. Sadly, didn’t get a good shot with my phone.

Here are today’s discoveries.

Wild strawberry
Wild strawberry
Lily of the valley
Lily of the valley
Wild garlic
Wild garlic
Lords and ladies
Lords and ladies or cuckoo pint
Greater celandine
Greater celandine
Primula
Primrose
Cow parsley or Queen Anne's lace
Cow parsley
White honesty flower
White honesty flower
Garlic mustard
Garlic mustard
Cleavers aka sticky willy
Cleavers aka sticky willy
White narcissus
White narcissus
White fritilaria
White fritillaria
Lesser calendine
Lesser celandine
Red campion
Red campion
Very pretty, couldn't identify
Spring starflower
Tortoiseshell in the nettles
Tortoiseshell in the nettles

I have contacted Keith Jone after looking at his website www.seasonalwildflowers.com and he helped me to identify the spring starflower. His website is filled with all the info and beautiful photos of wildflowers month by month. Please, have a look at it if you like wildflowers and want to know more.

I just ordered some books about identifying wild flowers and can’t wait to start reading and taking them with me on my park walks.

Spring cycle to London Wetland

I cycled today to Wetland Centre in Barnes, South West London, just 15-20 minutes cycling from my home. Wetland Centre is home to many birds living and nesting across the waters, ponds and gardens. I was obviously looking for the flowers and plants as well, but the trees are still bare and just some of them started to get green like birch or willows.

My first route was less populated south side, starting off with the lagoon it was a great walk around the pond, past the bats’ place and back to the courtyard. From there, I took the other side of the centre which got really busy around lunch time. I just wandered around spotting a pair of black swans in the Asian garden, a gracious yet solitary white swan  and finally finished the walk at the the otters place. Promised few photos to my boyfriend, he knows why.

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Looking for violets in London

I have read on someone’s Facebook wall that violets have flowered. They are one of my favourites of the early spring. They usually appear in the same place every year so I went to check on the last year spot near home and there they were, beautiful, tiny, purple flower heads. Then, off on my bike I cycled across the River Thames towards Bishop’s Park. I found few more violet spots just before entering Fulham Palace area. There they were, popping dots of colour in the greenery and the shades of bushes and shrubs. I really like their round green leaves complementing the flowers which smell sweetly and somehow fleetingly.

Violet is known to have a ‘flirty’ scent as its fragrance comes and goes. Ionone is present in the flowers, which turns off the ability for humans to smell the fragrant compound for moments at a time. (Wikipedia)

Aren’t they pretty little things?

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So nice to see more colour and people appearing in the nature. Plus, you can always take a nap on the sunny bench, just like me and some other older man who actually have taken my favourite bench. I found another one outside the Walled Garden. Funnily enough, when unlocking my bike on my return home, I saw him leaving the premises with kind of hazy look on his face.

Are you enjoying any spring nature outings? Even in the city you can find little green oasis where you can escape and recharge your batteries. Reach out.