In London, we visited Kew Gardens. The journey there includes an overground section of the District Line. As the train winds through increasingly affluent areas, the passengers thin out. By the time you arrive at Kew it’s just you and other tourists, perhaps a resident or two, or, in our case, a Kew guide. We followed him toward the gardens along a road of beautiful Victorian villas, the sun beating down. Range Rovers, Audis, an ice-cream van gaudy by comparison, but at the same time fitting.
Inside, we were among the youngest visitors. We paid the extra fee and boarded an electric bus that takes you on a guided circuit around the gardens. The driver points out follies, memorable views, and he details historical trivia. Fellow visitors hop on and off at the various stops. If you’ve seen any of Stephen Poliakoff’s TV, you’ll have a feeling for the mood of Kew.
In the Palm House, I had a peculiar sense of historical connection. I felt strongly like I’d been there before but I’m almost certain I haven’t. A walk around the iron balcony, among the uppermost foliage, dense in places, threatening dominion, is to my mind one of the most wonderful experiences to be had in London. I went up alone and met just a few other visitors. A couple passed me and I overheard a snippet of conversation. Their voices trailed off. I took these pictures.