Breakfast, then a walk in the park

Today we had a leisurely start and it was nearly 8 am when I got up. It was a damp grey day so to cheer ourselves up, we thought we’d go to Alfie’s for breakfast, even though it means going a little further than Chapel Market. We caught the 205 to Marylebone station and walked from there.

Front window at Alfie's
Front window at Alfie’s

At Alfie’s antiques market you can take the lift to the second floor and walk up, or take it to the third floor and walk down. On a fine day you can sit outside on the roof-top terrace and enjoy the views and the big sky but today seemed like a good day for staying indoors, though the sun did put in a brief appearance as we settled at a table beside the window.

Alfie’s does a good vegetarian breakfast and although the late lamented Solo Bar in Camden Town used to top it, it’s currently one of the best available in the area.

Church Street Market
Church Street Market

After breakfast we walked through the Church Street market to the Edgware Road. By now the sun was shining a little more consistently and it was quite warm. I guessed Tigger had a plan in mind, so I happily followed her to the bus stop. Here we caught a bus to Marble Arch, where we had a little look around the shops, then another that took as along the Bayswater Road and into Holland Park Avenue.

Holland Walk
Holland Walk

We got off the bus at Holland Walk. This is an upward sloping street off the main road, closed to motor vehicles but with marked tracks for pedestrians and cyclists. Its leafy atmosphere comes as a surprise so near to the main road full of traffic. At the top of the rise, through a gate, a muddy path invites you into Holland Park itself. By now, it was a warm sunny day, perfect for strolling in the park.

A muddy path invites you into Holland Park
A muddy path invites you into Holland Park

The park offers a mixture of formal gardens laid out in geometrical patterns and open areas where people can stroll and sit and children can play.

Formal garden
Formal garden

Open area
Open area

There is also wild life to watch, including the inevitable pigeons and squirrels, and we spent time watching a particularly noisy crow in a tree!

One of the squirrels, hoping for a titbit
One of the squirrels, hoping for a titbit

A pigeon takes its ease in the Napoleon Garden near a rather unimpressive piece of sculpture
A pigeon takes its ease in the Napoleon Garden near a rather unimpressive piece of sculpture

A particularly noisy crow in a tree
A particularly noisy crow in a tree

In the park there is a cafe where we stopped for coffee. Unfortunately, as it was Saturday there were parents and grandparents with young children who were allowed to run about and yell and fight with one another unchecked but for the occasional ineffectual chiding from the adults.

In many places, works of art are on display, including the cafe where this piece by Gill is to be found.

Eric Gill, The Maid (1911-12)
Eric Gill, The Maid (1911-12)

There are several interesting buildings in the park, including Holland House, whose grounds the present park once formed, the Ice House and the Orangery which also includes the Belvedere restaurant.

Holland House glimpsed through arches
Holland House glimpsed through arches

The Orangery
The Orangery

And finally, a cautionary tale. This 19th century bronze sculpture in the park represents Milo of Croton, seen struggling with a split oak tree. Why? You might well ask.

Milo, the strong man
Milo, the strong man

Milo was an Ancient Greek wrestler and athlete, living in the late 6th century BC. Legend has it that, out walking one day, he came across an oak tree that was partially split and still had a wedge in the crack. Milo decided to see whether he could split the tree asunder with his bare hands. Unfortunately, his efforts dislodged the wedge, whereupon his hands became trapped and he remained thus a prisoner of the tree until he was devoured by a pack of wolves.

What is the meaning of the story? Is it that pride can cause you to overreach and come to grief? Or that you should not interfere in matters that do not concern you, especially when there are wolves about? Personally, I think it is that however strong and clever you may be, life always gets you in the end.

About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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2 Responses to Breakfast, then a walk in the park

  1. Reluctant Blogger says:

    Oh you took my breath away there. That is where Sandra and I used to live. Well, we lived on Holland Park (the road with the Greek Embassy on it just next to the park). There were Rheas in the park when we lived there but I think dogs attacked them and killed them and they were never replaced.

    I have been back twice over the past year, walked up Holland Walk and round Campden Square. And of course I stood outside the house where we used to live – which is now gentrified. And like you we strolled through the park.

    Oh I love Holland Park just so much.

    But it made me feel a bit sad to see it this evening – I miss it rather too much!

    Glad you had a good day. My photo on Facebook is taken outside the house on Holland Park where we used to live.

    • SilverTiger says:

      Yes, Tigger remembers there being animals in the park too. Either they are in a part that we did not visit or they are no longer there.

      Seeing or visiting a place where one once lived does often raise emotions, as I find when I go down to Brighton and see my old haunts.

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