An interesting week:-

Monday: Vauxhall (Opel) Astra 1.0T SRi, Knebworth, Hertfordshire to Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire; Peugeot 108 1.0 Active, Leighton Buzzard to Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire

Tuesday: Audi A4 2.0TDI S-Line, Leicester to Loughborough

Thursday: BMW 430i Gran Coupé auto, Coventry to Derby; BMW 420d Coupé manual, Derby to Nottingham

Friday: BMW 420d Gran Coupé xDrive auto, Derby to Ilkeston, Derbyshire.

A BMW 4-series fest! The 430i was particularly nice. The Astra was interesting, might be a full post about that soon.

We had a pleasant day out in London last weekend. My wife and I set out on a mission to walk the length of four of the Royal Parks – St James’s Park, Green Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. En route, we had a small diversion to have a little nose at St James’s Palace and Clarence House and found ourselves on a film set! On the quiet street behind these two houses we spotted a line of 1960’s vehicles and lots of film company vans and lorries. There was another building (Lancaster House) with lights and cameras pointing at a grand looking balcony. Turns out they were filming the Netflix series, “The Crown” with Lancaster House doubling as Buckingham Palace.

The Crown - extras
Extras for the Netflix production, “The Crown”!

We had another diversion, south past the Albert Memorial and Albert Hall and down through Kensington to find somewhere to eat. We plumped for a smart looking French restaurant, L’Etranger (amazed they let us in!) where we had an excellent and surprisingly good value meal – two courses for £20 each. Three courses could be had for £25 but we were too full! Star of the meal was a basil sorbet which accompanied my wife’s mozzarella and “heritage” tomato starter. The sorbet and mozzarella worked deliciously together (doubt if Peter Kaye’s dad could have coped with basil ice cream). Back on the march, we reached our destination, Kensington Palace. Home to several members of the Royal Family, including Wills and Kate, Prince Harry and Princess Eugenie, I have to say it is rather uninspiring from the outside! You can go in but we had to leave that for another day. Instead we turned around and headed back to St. James’s Park but choosing different paths for our return hike.

It was quite surprising how far you can walk across this green landscape and all in relative tranquillity in the heart of one of the world’s great cities. There are ornamental gardens, open parkland, monuments, lakes, a surprising variety of bird life and, at this time of year, carpets of daffodils to enjoy. Crossing these four parks from end to end is almost three miles with only the crossing between Green Park and Hyde Park bringing you to into contact with the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle. With our various diversions and seeing other parts of the city, we walked about 10 miles that day. Exhausting but definitely well worth it.

IMPORTANT NOTE: It was quite sobering listening to the radio on Wednesday afternoon in the aftermath of the terrorist attack in London. What I didn’t mention above is that we had been in Parliament Square and Westminster (the scene of the attack) twice last Saturday. My daughter went to a blogging event in a conference centre just off the square; we left her there to set off on our walk and met up again later in the day. Parliament Square was buzzing. Loads of people attending an anti-racism event. There was a stage, live music, banners and people of all shapes, sizes, creeds and colours. This event was all about harmony, tolerance and inclusion. What a sad and tragic irony, the sickening attack that happened in the same place just a few days later.

I did wonder whether it was appropriate to describe our happy day out last Saturday, but then I thought – why should I change what I was going to do because of the acts of a terrorist? Who would be the winner? On the radio, a former London mayor called for Londoners to carry on. I’m sure he would want people up and down the country to do the same. As Winston Churchill would have said: “KBO!”. Keep Buggering On or, in my case, Keep Blogging On.




  1. Colin, I love the sound of your “job”, minimal stress, maximum entertainment. I’d quite like to try the new Astra, Vauxhalls seem to be getting much better these days.

    I walk around London a fair bit with my job, and I won’t be put off by a few nutters.


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