Friday, January 23, 2015

Hyde Park; A December Afternoon

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.
For once!

Caro Ramsay  23/01/2015


  1. Isn't there also a memorial to the dead of Hiroshima in Hyde Park - a Japanese temple with thousands of origami Cranes. Would have fitted your memorial theme - and I'd love to see pictures.

  2. Back in prehistoric times, you know, when I was a young man, I remember feeding a squirrel by hand once. A group of us from work had gone to a local park one lovely summer day for lunch. I was eating a submarine sandwich, almost done, when the local hooligans (you know, the small gray furry variety) approached our table. I had a bite left, so I took a piece of sauce covered bread and held it out. The squirrel took it, very appreciatively, and stuffed it away in his cheeks. Having nothing left, I held out my finger for him to sniff, which he did. Then, thinking it smelled an awful lot like the previous offering, he tried to stuff it into his cheeks, as well. I lifted him up quickly since, as I tried to withdraw my finger, his upper front teeth were drilled THROUGH my fingernail. Sigh. The lessons we learn when we're young and stupid: offer a squirrel food, but never offer yourself, they may take you up on it! Fortunately, other than a sore finger for a week, I suffered no long-term ills... although I'm sure Jeff would suggest otherwise.

  3. Caro-Thanks for the tour and a day in the park.

  4. I join Jono, Caro, in thanking you for the tour through Hyde Park. It's been far too long since I've been there during Christmas. Sigh. Thanks too for the tip on the latest fashions, via Paddington. But most of all, a big hi-five on getting EvKa to admit that the nut doesn't fall far from the tree...and once fallen, sits idly by offering up its body parts to hungry members of the rodent family.

    1. Hey! I think you just insulted my father! He may move slowly even with his walker, but he's got a cane, too, with which you can receive many bruises about the head and shoulders.

  5. You know how Superman and Clark Kent are the same person? And Jeff Goldblum went peculiar after being bitten by that fly? I think EvKa became a superhero after being bitten by a Tufty. He IS squirrel girl!

  6. I confess that I am not aware of the Hiroshima Memorial in Hyde Park... I will do some more research on that but some of them are hidden away, almost privately, to visited by design rather than stumbled over by accident.
    There is now a memorial to the victims of July 7th, a memorial of thanks from Norway to GB, and a memorial for the animals who have died in wartime.

    And of course, the famous statue of Peter Pan...second star on the right, straight onto morning....

  7. My husband is agitating for a trip to London. We used to go often but haven't for a long time. Your postings from London make me think it is time to go. Lovely pictures. We once got locked into Hyde Park having overstayed our welcome. A little scary until someone let us out.