Thursday, April 18, 2019

Grove Park to Crystal Palace

I walked another segment of the Capital Ring yesterday, the 8.5 miles from Grove Park to Crystal Palace, in South London. The route was mostly suburban, passing through neighborhoods studded with brightly blooming cherry trees...

...and curious home decorations.

For a while, the route followed the Downham Woodland Walk, a forested path that wound between back garden fences for about a mile "and covers one of the remaining parts of the Great North Wood," according to my map. The woodland was full of blooming bluebells and cow parsley, and I came across these teacup-shaped seats beside the trail.

After passing through more suburbia (above), I wound up in Beckenham Place Park, where my map said to "follow the signs toward the house up some steep steps." Problem is, Beckenham Place Park is undergoing some kind of massive renovation project and there were fences and graded earth everywhere -- and no signs. And of course I couldn't get the map to load on my iPhone because I was in a remote area with weak service. I eventually had to ask someone how to find Beckenham House Mansion, which contains a cafe, a curious little record shop and -- thankfully -- bathrooms.

And then, more suburbia, with the Crystal Palace radio tower in the distance.

In the neighborhood of Penge (I've been saying "Pengy" but I think it's actually pronounced "Penj") the route led to a train station footbridge that I found unexpectedly closed. So I had to take a little detour past this curious shop. I don't know if you can tell, but there's a footstool, a guitar and a mannequin dressed as a king or knight in that window. And no car parts, as far as I could tell.

The detour led me into part of Penge that I would have otherwise missed, and I was glad, because I found lots of interesting street art. Then I gradually wound my way to Crystal Palace Park, famous for its Victorian dinosaur sculptures from the 1850s.

In fact, there's a mural on the park information center featuring the dinosaurs.

Longtime blog readers may remember (probably not) that I visited them way back in 2012. They're not very scientifically accurate -- they were created not long after dinosaur fossils were first discovered, and people hadn't quite worked out what the creatures looked like.

The statues are on an island in the middle of a fenced pond. I'm not sure why those people were standing out in the middle of the display. I'm pretty sure they weren't supposed to be there.

Anyway, the walk ended here, at the train station next to the park. I zipped back home in mid-afternoon in time to get cleaned up and take Dave out to dinner for the tenth anniversary of our first date! Yes, in April 2009 we started going out. It's hard to believe now -- it seems much longer ago than that (and I mean that in a good way). We went to The Ledbury in Notting Hill, and I hadn't eaten lunch on my walk, so I was hungry. Our meal was amazing!


Yorkshire Pudding said...

May we assume that when you reached Beckenham House Mansion, you had a bath? I only say this because you were pleased to find bathrooms there. I guess you remembered your shower gel and your towel. Did they also have lavatories?

Older British people hold Bill and Ben in great affection. They were popular puppets in an early BBC children's programme. Search "Bill and Ben" in YouTube if you are interested.

David said...

Yes, I also remember Bill and Ben - the flowerpot men. I loved the photos and the description of the walk. As one who lived in London many decades ago, I enjoy reading bits about the city that I wish I knew all those years back. Like Yorkshire Pudding, I too had a bit of a laugh about the bathrooms. Go on, be British - they are loos! LOL

And congratulations on ten years together. I went back to your posts of 2009 for further elucidation. Obviously you were a bit coy back then because the earliest reference I could find was to a dinner Dave cooked at your apartment on April 22. At that point he suddenly appears, without explanation, as "my friend Dave." Ahhh, the romantic memories we all treasure! My husband and I are about to celebrate the 12th anniversary of our first date.

e said...

This was a great way to begin my day. Congrats on the tenth anniversary of your first date!

Vivian Swift said...

Raise high the roof beam! Congratulations on ten years of happiness!

I loved the tea cup stools in the woods. I want them. I must have them. They even look comfy -- and my husband needs a project.

Thank you for the inspiration.

Ms. Moon said...

My favorite.
Can you imagine if someone had told the artists who sculpted those that dinosaurs had feathers? Can you imagine dinosaur feathers??!!
Anyway, aside from all of that dinosaur fan girl stuff, what a great walk. I just love taking these walks with you. And I never even get tired or sore.
What did you eat at The Ledbury?

robin andrea said...

That's quite walk. Love those dinosaurs. I don't know why, but I just never think of England having dinosaurs. Happy anniversary to you two lovebirds!

ellen abbott said...

I see suburban London does have homes set back with front yards and what awful square brick towers. love the gorilla with the butterfly. fun that you stumbled on those. and I love the teacup stools. are they moveable or carved out of trees cut down? and speaking of dinosaurs, I read a long article in Scientific American about a paleontologist who might have found the KT layer, the moment of the end of the dinosaurs and of the near death all life on the planet from the asteroid hit. he's finding fossil feathers that are 14" long.

Red said...

You are having interesting adventures on your walks. There could be an interesting book come out of this project?

ellen abbott said...

not Scientific american but the New Yorker. the article was in the New Yorker.

Linda Sue said...

Bill and Ben , the Flower Pot men, or- blob blob...weed. Thanks for the nice walk, nearly ten miles! I think that is miraculous! The pavement can be hard on the joints and veins, if you are an old lady, so don't ever be that! Looks like yummy food , paying for it might be a bit of a jolt but how often do you get to celebrate such a life changing, for the better, event? Celebrate while we may, I say!

Love the street art, that was lucky!

Catalyst said...

Are you saying you ate like a dinosaur?

Sharon said...

What an interesting walk you had. Those teacup stools look like palm tree stumps but I doubt they are. That dinosaur park is interesting and totally unexpected. You walked almost 10 miles, very impressive.

Jomo said...

Congratulations guys lots of love x

e said...

I like the woodland cups...a wonderful walk with lots of variety...

jenny_o said...

The gorilla kind of looks like he's holding those flowers! Lots to see on that walk for sure.

Steve Reed said...

YP: I wondered what Bill and Ben meant! I looked an episode up on YouTube but I confess I could only watch about three minutes of it. I think you have to be a four-year-old to enjoy it.

David: Actually, I do say "loo" all the time! Yeah, I was a bit circumspect about Dave on the blog. He just sort of shows up and begins to take on an increasingly prominent role. But that's pretty much how it happened in real life, too!

E: Glad you liked it! Yeah, those cups are fun, aren't they? I could see them in our garden.

Vivian: Let us know if he ever builds (carves?) them! :)

Ms Moon: It's funny how even now we just don't know what they really looked like. But we have a better idea than the Victorians did!

Robin: The first fossils were found here, I believe, by Mary Anning. At least that's what I learned in school way back when.

Ellen: I just finished that article! Fascinating! I don't know whether the cups are carved in place or were moved there. I didn't think to try to move them.

Red: Well, who knows? Maybe!

Linda Sue: I wouldn't have understood your "blob blob weed" comment except that I just tried to watch an episode of Bill and Ben. As I told YP above, I could only tolerate it for a few minutes. But at least now I know the cultural reference!

Catalyst: Like a dinosaur just before the asteroid hit!

Sharon: Yeah, definitely not palm stumps. I think they just look fibrous and corrugated because they're so worn and weathered.

Jomo: Thanks! :)

Jenny-O: Yeah, they somehow become part of the art, don't they? I wonder if that was intentional? Maybe the butterfly was meant to be visiting them?

Fresca said...

I've wondered, off and on, if I'll ever get to London again--I've been a dozen or so times, but not since 2006....
I would *like* to go, but nothing in particular was calling me,
... until I saw those DINOS, which I had NO IDEA existed!!!
Now I must get there again before I die (doable if, fingers crossed, that's not soon).
Thanks for sharing!