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Singing for Ukraine & 'Missing the Parks' from a member

Singing for Ukraine & 'Missing the Parks' from a member

On Sunday afternoon choristers from the Bach Choir, the London Symphony Chorus and the Royal Choral Society came together to sing a selection of music including Myola Lysenko ‘A Prayer for Ukraine’, Orlando Gibbons ‘Drop, Drop, Slow Tears’ and ended with us singing together Hammerstein’s ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.

The choirs were inspirational of course.

Click here to hear the choir, truly beautiful
I’ll leave it to member Jillian Dart who wrote the following, I couldn’t have put it better.

She writes:
Odile Marsh, (another Friends’ member) and I went to the Bandstand yesterday. It was very moving and quite lovely. The sun came out and the wind of previous days had disappeared. It felt like all the heavens were on our side.

David Hill (Bach Choir music director) did a great job engaging us all, even the people who could only do their best with their voices!

Thanks to the Friends and the Hyde Park team for helping organise this at such short notice.
 Soprano Alex with Beatrice and Bertie

Sue Price.

Photos on the day were taken by:
John Foldes
Rob Dowling
Filming thanks to the Bach Choir

Home Thoughts From Abroad
From our foreign correspondent Harry Reid

I’m writing this article in Hong Kong where we have been living for the past couple of years and where we have a home, some close family and many friends. It’s been a very pleasant period I have to say despite a recent uptick in Covid infections, but I have certainly missed two rather diverse aspects of my regular London routine!

Firstly, the opportunity to jump on the Number 14 bus to get me to Stamford Bridge to see my beloved Chelsea Football Club in action which I have been doing now for over 40 years (and fingers crossed this will still be possible in the future!)

Secondly, the chance to regularly walk in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens which are literally five minutes from our Knightsbridge apartment where we have lived for over 45 years.
Definitely one of my favourite photos. Serpentine Bridge shot early on a Summer Sunday morning just myself and 17 swans

Throughout this feature I am including a few photos I’ve taken in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens which probably sum up what I’ve been missing better than any of my words can express!

Indeed, there is some spectacular walking available in Hong Kong, particularly on the surrounding islands in the South China Sea, but in the final analysis I’ve really missed the walks in “my” two parks in London.
Dawn breaking at Hyde Park Corner with two rather distinctive profiles evident

But what exactly have I missed? I have thought about it carefully and I think it boils down to two key unique factors:

1) The chance to walk so many well laid out paths and routes (thank you Decimus B!) through beautifully green parklands covering some 600 acres and virtually on my doorstep – all immaculately maintained by the Royal Parks in spite of the millions of visitors every year and the financial limitations caused recently by Covid-19.

2) And wherever you go in the two parks there is an ever-present sense of history. These are certainly not bog standard municipal parks, but sophisticated parks which uniquely reflect so much of British history from the past 500 years – from Henry VIII to Elizabeth II today. The benefit being, there’s always something on your walk to make you curious, make you think and finally make you appreciate the experience
The Household Cavalry in training on Rotten Row, Hyde Park  I never tire of seeing these guys in action and always take plenty of shots!
I can never forget that I’m walking in two parks which are slap bang in the very centre of one of the world’s largest cities, with horrendous traffic on all four sides but somehow it never interferes with the appeal and attraction of the parks.

I have walked literally thousands of times in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens over the years and admit to getting a buzz on each and every visit – whether its appreciating the beauty of the Long Water or the Rose Gardens one day, and on the next reflecting on major historical structures like Kensington Palace or even individual statues like Edward Jenner at the Italian Gardens, who saved the world from Smallpox in 1796.
Serpentine boaters enjoying themselves with a rich British heritage behind  with everything looking so close!
I also really enjoy seeing the huge variety of birds, flowers and trees, plus of course the opportunity for some serious people-watching, especially at weekends! Regular events like the Annual Serpentine Pavilion design contest and the London to Brighton veteran car rally start are among the many rather unique Hyde Park happenings I look forward to seeing every year.

Invariably I set out for my daily walk in the parks around 7.30am – rain or shine. If it’s to be a Hyde Park day, then I will enter through Edinburgh Gate – if it’s Kensington Gardens then it’s a walk up by The Old Football Pitches and then cross over to Mount Gate.
An unusual angle of the Rose Gardens and the main entrance to Hyde Park, plus a glimpse of the Boy and Dolphin fountain
When time (and weather) permit I very much like to enjoy a Latte at the Italian Gardens Cafe overlooking the fountains – it’s so tranquil and calm there I could actually sit for hours watching the world go by!

I always have my trusty Nikon camera with me and invariably take some shots – one never knows what’s round the corner! There are a few subjects I have taken a million times but never got the perfect shot – funnily enough the Italian Gardens comes to mind in this category, despite having taken it from every conceivable angle!

The other shot I’ve never managed to get, not even one measly attempt, are the Hyde Park foxes, which over the years various Royal Parks staff have promised me faithfully that they’re definitely around, but whenever I’ve got to the possible location, there’s absolutely no sign of them!
“Physical Energy” in Kensington Gardens even in the middle of winter  by George Watts and erected in 1907
One of my ambitions has been to publish a book about Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens (there have been remarkably few done over the years) and I got pretty close to it in 2020 until Covid came along and the publisher held it up, along with many of their other books. I plan to update the text and a few of the shots later this year, and try my luck again with the publisher.

In closing I should mention how much I have appreciated receiving the Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens Friends newsletters out in Hong Kong regularly over the past two years, which have all been a terrific update for me on what’s been going on – a grateful thanks to everybody involved with the publication!

I’m certainly looking forward to returning to London later this year and renewing my relationship with Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens – ‘I’ve missed you both that’s for sure!”

By Harry Reid
Friends of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens
March 2022