On Kew *

Frosty-but-Sunny Autumn morning and TC rings. He is thinking of driving over to Kew Gardens, and having a look around and trying out the Treetop walkway which is supposed to be wheelchair-accessible. Now I’ve never been to Kew, always thought of it as “too London”, so I jump at the chance and grab my camera bag and head on over to Windsor. TC’s lodger, Rockstar Paul is coming too, so we pile into the Van and head off down the M4. Finding Kew is easy, finding the car park is harder. Kew is posh, so instead of blue signs for Car Parking, they have discrete black-and-white ones. The Car Park is packed, but we manage to find a spot. “Why is it so busy?” asks TC. “Half-Term”. “Ah, I’d forgotten about that”.

If you are disabled, you get a whole £1 off the £13 entry fee (but a carer gets in free) so Paul and I split the entry fee and lend an arm and a leg each. Wander fairly aimlessly through the Park trying to avoid the hordes of miniature hooligans. At the Xstrata Treetop Walkway we find the lift is out of order. It looks suspiciously clean and unused, we wonder if it has ever been “in order” and is just a sop to accessibility legislation. TC and Paul remain on the ground and I ascend the stairs to the walkway at 60 feet above ground. TC and Paul take bets as to whether I jump over the side. It’s a bit wobbly and the thin mesh floor is rather disconcerting.

Back on firmer territory, we bimble off, wander through the Evolution House, the Temperate Glasshouses, find the Japanese garden and a Chinese Pagoda and Gateway. After taking in a Photographic exhibition, we retire to the restaurant for tea and a slice. In the restaurant we are near the door. Which is constantly left open by miniature hooligans rampaging around whilst their parents ignore the icy blasts and the daggers shot by Paul as he chunters on “My dad would have given me a clip round the ear…”

On the way back to the car we pass Peacocks iridescent in Blue and Green, and young Fox, presumably semi-tame who eats fallen crab apples and seems oblivious to the people watching him. Unfortunately I have the Wrong Lens on the camera and don’t want to risk spooking him by delving around in the rucksack for the short-telephoto lens. As we take our leave, having barely scratched the surface of Kew, our final sight is of a miniature hooligan tearing the branch off a sapling while it’s parent/guardian/carer/whatever watches silently and without reproach. Death is too good for some people.


We drove home westwards towards dark, threatening clouds. It snowed later in the evening.

*(Post title by Puns-R-Us)

~ by @mmonyte on October 29, 2008.

3 Responses to “On Kew *”

  1. Wow these are amazing photos…. stunning!!!!!

  2. I think you’re right, I don’t think the lift’s ever been working. My wife went there with her Dad a few months back and he had to struggle up the stairs.

    Re: the young hooligan tearing the branch off the sapling, it is so annoying, I agree, but I heard a talk given by Jules Pretty last year, and it left me thinking a bit differently…

    In 20 years time, that young hooligan may be planning where to build a new road, shopping centre, whatever. If he has happy memories of pulling branches off trees, or at least of enjoying the ‘countryside’, he might think twice before he slaps a load of concrete on it. The tree will probably survive. You never know, that young hooligan may return in 20 years with his own little hooligan, and that sapling may have grown into a nice mature specimen, and it may just drop a branch on his head. 😉

  3. Dan,

    The young orc is welcome to pull the branches off saplings in the forest, but in a Botanical Park? Children, like dogs, benefit from being beaten frequently when young.

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