04 July 2007

The rain goes on...

Since my plans of blogging about my tour through Notting Hill, the surrounding area with tea at the Orangery of Kensington Gardens & Palace (sth like the London version of Schönbrunn) were crossed by a thunder storm yesterday, I decided to dedicate this blog post to the weather that has been tormenting this country for two weeks now (not without mentioning a few things about my tour though).

About Notting Hill:
Yes, it is a fancy bohème sort of area, with Portobello and a lot of expensive boutiques nearby (in the street called Westbourne Grove, to be exact). Has a healthy nightlife (so I've read) and also, some celebrities live in the area, like Pete Doherty. I discovered a quite original idea for a café, it is called The Natural Café and the name basically says what it is: A fairtrade, organic café from ingredients to the wooden furniture and the organic paper cups. Smoothies are a dream (you can choose between cow milk, soy or rice milk) and staff is super nice! The leaflet says that for the company, it is important that the cows where their milk comes from are "happy cows", so they even play music to them ("Their favourite is Cold Play"). Right opposite of it is a Malaysian restaurant that looks very inviting. If anyone is interested, I'd like to go on a culinary journey! Btw, I am teaching myself Malay online now. It seems to be a simple enough language.

About Bayswater and Queensway:
East of Notting Hill is Bayswater and Queensway. If Kensington is the continental heart of the city, then the former two are the ones for what I will call "Mediterranean Arabs" (Lebanese, ...). Also, there are Greeks, Chinese and South Americans. Is reflected in the restaurants but also in the shops.

About Kensington Gardens:
From there I entered Kensington Gardens from the North, one if its gates opposite the station. The sky was completely covered in grey clouds on the sky and you could already hear the thunder. But I discarded all that and decided to go on with my programme for the day and through the park instead of taking the tube home. Usually, when it rains, it is not very heavy and only for short periods of time and grey clouds don't necessarily mean that it is going to rain that day. Haha! Yesterday, of course, was different! I was halfway through the park when IT started. Rain, as people in Austria understand it and worse. After walking 10 seconds in it, you are drenched. The thunder storm took its full course: Lighting, thunder and a sudden shower. I followed the example of other park visitors and ran under a tree for shelter. Still, my jeans (fresh out of the laundry!) soaked up the water up to my upper thighs, my down jacket failed to keep the water out as I later discovered and water started to pool (!) on the zipper of my bag. Perfect. Damp from head to toe. I decided to run to the next wooden hut where some cyclists were already waiting for the rain to stop and believed it was a good idea to hold on to their bikes while lighting could strike at them anytime.

About emergencies:
So, tea in the orangery and a visit to Kensington Palace literally fell into the water (do you say that in English, too?) and I decided to take the tube. The second I stepped onto the platform in Earl's Court, there was an announcement, "Due to a reported emergency, would all customers please leave the station immediately" (in a recorded but slow and calm voice which for me, suggested there was nothing "serious" going on but maybe that is just an illusion). So they closed down the station, swiftly but without panic (even if maybe a bit nervously), everyone got out. Police was there. You don't know what's going on... Turned out later, it was a fire alert.

Regarding the weather, it has been raining for two weeks now and there has been severe floodings throughout England which remind me of the "flooding of the century" we had in Austria in 2002, as it was coined by the media. You can find an article about the British flood here.

2 courageous comments!:

Heidi Jahn said...

Haha! My fortune cookie told me, "Do not ignore evil". I guess that is the morale of the Kensington Gardens story!

natascha said...

i'm sorry i'm repeating myself but THE FORTUNE COOKIE IS RIGHT. do listen to the fortune cookie!