The weather in Cork was just brilliant the whole time I was there but today it dawned drizzly, windy and foggy!
It wasn't a pea souper though - before takeoff I could see trees in the distance.
I was hoping for a nice foggy shot from the window on takeoff. This is it.
It's such a quick trip from Cork to Heathrow that I was there before I knew it, at the Coach and Horses Hotel on a glorious warm day!
I put my bags in my room, checked the internet speed which is D-E-A-D slow (up till now it's been quite fast) so there'll be precious few photos in the diary from here - spent an hour on the phone doing chores, then I was off to Kew Gardens, a couple of minutes walk.
First stop Kew Palace in the grounds.
George gave Charlotte the bracelet with his likeness on it on the day she arrived which is the day they were married - she wore it for life
George III and his wife Charlotte lived here at Kew - he was born in England although of the House of Hanover. The search was on for a suitable wife for him. She sailed from Germany in heavy seas, was blown back on to the coast twice, but eventually arrived on English soil. They say she was so seasick and lost so much weight that when she arrived her dress was too big! They were married the same day, were very happy, and had 15 children. 😯 Comparisons have been made between her and Megan Markle. They look similar in some portraits and some have said Charlotte had African blood. Have no idea if it's just a silly media rumour. Hope Harry and Megan are as happy!
Poor old George (1760-1820) had a problematic reign - he lost the American War of Independence but his navy won the war against Napoleon. In 1768 he surreptitiously instructed Captain Cook to claim ‘New Holland’ for England.
In his fifties he probably developed bi-polar disorder, although some people thought he'd been poisoned. For this he was treated herbally because it was thought he had some sort of blood disease (they didn't do mental illness in those days). His urine was purple (from the herbs) so they gave him more herbs.
He died before her. She died here of pneumonia at the palace, sitting in her armchair. She'd been ill with dropsy for several months.
The staff are dressed in period costume. These two were good sports.
David Hawgood / Kew Gardens Temperate House from the Pagoda via Wikimedia
I had three hours before closing, so I walked briskly to the Temperate House where they (not surprisingly) keep the temperate-climate-sensitive plants. Isn't it a fabulous building? The humidity drove me out fairly quickly.
The palm house - I didn't have time to go in. Aren't they both stunning buildings?
Crocus are out, roses and perennials in the last stages of their autumn flush.
The grasses looked wonderful in the late afternoon light.
I've been a little bit nervous about staying at this 'authentic' English pub at Kew, near the archives. I feared a stale beer smell and a florid alcoholic cook. I could not have been more wrong. Delicious smells, and a chef who'd be the envy of any restaurant!
The footpath area was buzzing. I sat and watched the patrons, from businessmen and women to tradies.
The barman Sean (Shaun?) advised me that for drinking on its own without a meal, his choice would be the Italian Gavi Cà di Mezzo - green, almond, citrus, crisp. Small, medium, or large? Not having a clue I said medium - 175ml - perfect wine, perfect size.
He's a regular.
With my dinner of pork leek and stilton sausage on mash with primo cabbage, ale onions and proper gravy, he suggested the more more robust Les Amis Grenache Blanc Viognier. Another perfect choice!
While I waited, I sat at a table looking at the kitchen servery where the barmen pick up the meals. What frenetic scene! Bangers and mash, fish and chips, seafood platter, whole brie, prawn cocktail. I didn't know a kitchen could put out so much food so quickly. Or bar staff move so fast. There wasn't one thing that didn't look absolutely sensational. And it all smelled amazing.
I was taking photos as quickly as the chef could put dishes out. Each one better than the last! I introduced myself. 'I'm Anwar from Morocoo,' he said. 'Bonjour Anwar,' I said, 'You are superbe!' He smiled happily.
The wifi is hopeless. I've added what photos I can, but I won't stay up too late trying to upload any more - a pity because I'd like to show you the gardens properly.
Tomorrow is my first day at the National Archives and I've ordered enough documents to keep me busy for a week. I'm just hoping they aren't all the same ones I saw at Malta. Keep your fingers crossed for me please!
Feel like a game of cricket on Kew Green after work? I'll field, you bat? Who's bowling?
And of course, your daily flowers. I took this for you this morning at Hayfield Manor in Cork.
I'm waiting you buddies at Kew Green near the pub.