During our recent visit to London the south side of Hyde Park was full of noise, very loud disco music and equally noisy small human people. The sort of noise the word cacophony was invented for.
It was the Christmas Fayre.
Free to get in but once inside, every thing cost a lot of money. The organisers - a company that seem to specialise in setting up the same Christmas Fayre format in every town centre - were hell bent on scaring the kids with terrifying rides and frightening the parents with the fact the ticket gate took credit cards. The noise emanating from the ghost train was worthy of Stephen King. Or a proctology clinic. The small people were whipped into further frenzy by the burgers, hot dogs, gallons of cola, and fir tree sized candy floss. All to a backdrop of deafening disco music. This was rubbish disco music, not good disco like we had back in my day- the days of Saturday Night Fever when we danced round and round our handbags and John Travolta had hair..
We did enjoy watching the Dads and the kids doing the German cake walk. Team Dad having had a few more beers than was good for them and staggering all over the place trying to hold onto the contents of their stomachs as the three year old kids danced along the moving platform like Nureyev.
Mum and senior kids were videoing it all on the phone from safe ground.
Being of a criminal mentality, I did sneak round the back. Does everybody that goes in, actually come out? Did I identify with the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang a little too much?
Walking away from the fayre, but unable to escape the noise, we went in search of the third memorial after Albert and Diana. It was the only one, to use popular parlance, that was 'fit for purpose' to my mind. It was the only one that served as a memorial to those it was built for, it was the only one where people stopped and took a moments silent contemplation, where people remembered.
And remembered why it was there. Even with the ongoing boom boom of the Christmas Fayre, the screaming from the ghost train, the smell of chestnuts roasting on the open fire, this tiny corner of the park was an oasis of peace, tranquility and reflection.
It was the Holocaust Memorial garden.
It lies to the east of the Serpentine Lake, and it was the first public memorial in Great Britain dedicated to the memory of the victims. At the unveiling on 28th June 1983, the memorial was described as "a reminder of the past and a warning for the future."
It sits cosy in a copse, a garden within a garden within a park.
The memorial itself is simply two boulders on a gravel bed sitting in a garden setting that seemed natural and informal. The memorial and trees compliment each other.
They both, just are. Because they are.
The main stone carries the words, "For these I weep. Streams of tears flow from my eyes because of the destruction of my people"
On the far side of the path, but still in earshot of the awful din was this little garden, full of performance squirrels and storks that could have given any living statue a run for their money.
( Very ) Fat squirrel pretending to be hungry.
Very fat squirrel.
There are at least five fat squirrels in this picture.
And one bear who likes Marmalade.
As we walked away, back past the memorial garden the music blasting from the Fayre stopped and we were treated to Bing Crosby and David Bowie doing their Peace On Earth, Little Drummer Boy and you know, it really is time for men of good will to live in peace.
Caro Ramsay 23/01/2015