07 September, 2016

London - St Katharine Docks and the Thames

- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

Last July when I turned 60 we celebrated quietly at Cape Agulhas. This year we flew via Dubai airport (a few hours to stretch our legs and jaw meet floor!) to London. Those snow capped in July mountains - Ararat is 5,137 m - are in Turkey. Mount Ararat and Mount Suphan. I think our Thomas, SPCA special, parents unknown, might be part Turkish Van cat (large, fluffy, LOVES playing with water). We flew over Lake Van.

Mount Suphan

Mount Ararat

My bucket list includes living in London, a dream made real for a week when we lived in a holiday flat at St Katharine Docks. We chose the week when a heat wave hit London. Such bliss to return to a balcony overlooking yachts on the water. And in the only building shielded by 3 tall trees.

St Katharine Docks
with the Walkie Talkie building (and the Sky Garden) in the distance

Flat at St Katharine Docks

10 minutes walk from the Underground. We were across the road from Waitrose. Breakfast was Jordan's muesli with Cornish clotted cream. Yum ...

The London Eye

We had a list of things we wanted to do (posts coming), and an even longer list of No Time for those - Tate Gallery, the V & A. On my birthday we did a Thames cruise. Starting from the London Eye (no I won't go up there, but we did go to the Sky Garden on another day)

Elizabeth Tower with Big Ben

We were last in London in 2009. All these years later breaking news travels with you on the plane. London flags flying at half mast for Nice. People in shock. Security bumped up (our bags searched before the Sunday service at St Paul's, and two sinister security people checking each face at the departure gate in Bristol). Before we reached Frankfurt there were 3 terror attacks in Germany. While we were in Zurich a woman was knifed at Russell Square in London. Back at home municipal elections were peaceful. Less support for the ANC fat cats on the gravy train, and more for the DA's the city that works for you.

Victoria Tower
flag at half mast for Nice

Turner lived in Chelsea, crossed the river, and painted the Thames from this delightful church. St Mary's in Battersea with Turner's Chair and a stained glass window remembering him.

St Mary's Church Battersea

The Ship Inn. Everyone messing about in boats on the water. Our boat had a group of Spanish schoolchildren who took a fancy to a little boat and sang them Happy Birthday. Thank you.

Ship Inn

The down side of a garden with - wow flowers in winter - is skin that suffers sun damage. I needed a hat to protect my parting. No, not the battered white garden and beach hat. Something this little old lady could wear on the city streets of London, Frankfurt and Zurich. Rushing around the week before we left I found this pale pink one - then packed my suitcase to match. My husband's photos are peppered with pink hats!

Pink hat on Thames cruise

We took the boat to Hampton Court. A bus to Richmond, where we walked up to the view. Admired the stag in the hotel parking lot. And the Petersham Hotel built in 1864 - Victorian Gothic and delusions of Hogwarts. In the garden with 'Bulbous Betty' I gazed at a tight colour palette of lavender and lemon yellow.


A day to remember with happiness. My delight was the Chelsea Physic Garden!

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Pictures by Jurg and Diana Studer
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  1. Well, I dont need to ask if you enjoyed your week in London, looks like you had a ball. Dont tell anyone else, but I think you are looking very classy in your pink hat.

  2. Troubled times you travelled in and looking so serene in that lovely pink hat. Enjoyed the tour of London as seen through your eyes!
    p.s. belated happy birthday
    pps. the woman killed in Russell square was our age which sent my family into anxiety as was not answering the mobile that morning- slept late! The flower bouquets to her memory have just been removed

    1. The 'stories in the news' touch each of us differently. Sometimes too close, but always, pause for thought.

  3. It has been too long since I was last in London; I need to plan a trip there. I'll be interested in hearing about what sights you decided to see. I always allow one full day for Kew Gardens. Staying in an apartment sounds perfect; I like to be able to cook at least some of my own meals when I'm traveling. Your pink hat looks very stylish. -Jean

    1. Plotting and planning for if can ever visit London again.

  4. I'm glad you were able to enjoy your trip despite the political unrest and associated violence. Belated best wishes on your birthday!

  5. Happy birthday! You are looking very glamorous in your pink hat, just right for London!(by the way a good result for your own SA election too)I was very interested to know that Turner painted the Thames from St Mary's church, Battersea. The gardens of Hampton court look great, purple lavender with soft yellow is a good combination.

  6. Glad you had a good few days in London; it is a city I enjoy more and more to visit but I wouldn't want to live there. We were on the underground, probably right below Russel Square when the poor woman was killed - dreadful.

  7. One day I mean to revisit my own capital city as a tourist. Haven't been for years and much has changed!
    Glad you had a good time.

  8. I like your pink hat! That was a good location to be based during your trip to London I have been to conferences at the The Tower Hotel just around the corner from there. I would love to take a boat trip along the river and see London from a different prospective. I'm glad you enjoyed your stay. Sarah x

    1. we stayed at the Tower a few times when we lived in Switzerland. Imagine ... seeing Tower Bridge from your hotel window!

    2. Sorry missed this post (blogger didn't pick up on the date). Looks like a GREAT trip. Love the flat, and everything you saw. Oh btw...who's that HOT lady with the pink hat, Woo Hoo !

  9. You look very elegant in your pink hat, Diana. Sounds like a wonderful birthday trip. P. x

  10. What a pity I didn't go to Richmond, it looks rather nice.
    Maybe next time?
    Have a nice day.

  11. How sad that nothing has improved since 9/11, and terrorism still rears its ugly head to destroy lives. Nevertheless, life must go on, and you look quite beautiful and stylish in your pink hat! Thanks for all the lovely photos of London. I would love to see all those same places, especially the garden in Richmond. What a great way to celebrate your birthday!