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Happy New Year - Part 1

Happy New Year - Part 1

We’ve made it into the dark period after Christmas and New Year celebrations and it seems a long haul to Easter. But at least the shortest day is well behind us and the burst of snow and cold in December made a stunning change from dark rainy days.


After this intro, you would be forgiven for thinking that it is entirely doom and gloom out there, but look around and you will see an extraordinary collection of different shapes and colours around both parks.

Red is the primary colour which stands out and clumps of berries are spotted (reducing as birds feed on them) all over. Our photo shows a bright collection round the nursery gates in Hyde Park. And there are masses of red robins whistling softly in the foliage.

Look at the planting of the containers at the Italian Gardens for contrasts of leaf colours and shapes. In a few weeks’ time, they’ll be full of spring flowers but, for the time being, the plants are stand-alone interesting. Though, I must admit, that the snow and very cold temps did rather flatten quite a lot.

Watch Out!

Plenty of members have been anxious about off-piste cyclists and scooters in both parks. Foot path/cycle route markings have been especially indistinct on the ground in Kensington Gardens (KG). In Hyde Park, very large bright crossed through cycle signs have appeared everywhere.

White marking on the ground in KG was last done in 2018. It is due to be repainted this month (Jan). The Paragon (warning and guidance) slabs on the ground are cleaned monthly but, during the drought, this may have happened less often. There are signs on every gate at entrances but these are occasionally, sadly, (sign of the times) vandalised or removed.

Let’s hope, when the bright white clean markings are clear and obvious, that there is a noticeable improvement in cyclists behaviour.

Marking and signage is being looked at across the whole Royal Parks estate, to make it clear and consistent. We would like there to be no opportunity for a rogue cyclist to say “I didn’t see any notice” or “There’s nothing to show I shouldn’t be here”.

Winter Wonderland Wowed Us

We had a great treat, thanks to Suzy Griffiths (IMG Vice President) and her team.

In early December, a group of us were treated to a VIP experience starting with a fascinating presentation from Suzy about how she runs this world-wide famous event, and makes it slightly different and even more attractive, each year. As grown-ups who, on the whole, are trying to follow some kind of healthy eating regime, it was a complete letting off of the brakes. We’ve never been offered so much mulled wine and cider, sandwiches and snacks, chocs and massive amounts of popcorn. But through it all we managed to see, enjoy and understand several of the major Winter Wonderland attractions.

Our apologies to those of you who weren’t able to join us as we were very limited on numbers, hopefully next WW we’ll be able to meet you?

Health Warning Alert for our Birds

Sadly, it’s most likely that Avian Flu has arrived amongst the wild geese, swan and duck population on the Long Water and Serpentine. More than 55 have died recently.

Avian Flu couldn’t be confirmed for certain, at the time of writing, because that has to be done by an official from DEFRA and they are busy testing domestic flocks which have to be culled, if positive.

However, the signs are all there and its tragic to see, despite notices everywhere, many people are still feeding the birds encouraging them to jostle tightly and get really close together.

Remembrance Sunday 13th November

Each year, at the Lancaster Gate War Memorial, a service takes place to mark this occasion. It is organised by Westminster Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg. Fr Paul Thomas from St James’s Church, Sussex Gardens, officiates assisted by assistant priest Fr Owen Dobson with the choir and musicians. It is always very well attended and is very moving and beautifully done. For the last few years, a fellow trustee, or I, have laid a wreath on behalf of all ‘The Friends’. It seems appropriate as Kensington Gardens is yards away on the other side of the road. I was pleased to meet the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Cllr Hamza Taouzzale.

If you live nearby, this is a lovely way to join in on that Sunday, it is usually held in the early afternoon at 2.30pm.

The Magazine Restaurant

Richard Price writes….
‘With two others, I recently had breakfast at this restaurant, just north of the Serpentine Bridge. Designed by the late Zaha Hadid, the building is airy and peaceful. It’s a calm setting, with shimmering green light reflected on the ceilings. It’s set in gardens designed by Arabella Lennox Boyd. We three felt rather quiet that morning as we had heard the evening before that the Queen had died.

It’s table service, now run by Benugo. The menu lists a number of quite unusual ingredients. Our choices were fairly exotic including Shakshuka, which was eggs with tomato and pepper stew, and a spinach and rocket salad. If this is too exciting for you, scrambled eggs with rye and pumpernickel sourdough, plus garden herbs and seaweed salad also feature, as well as bacon. Friendly staff looked after us very well, and we were able to use our members cards for a 20% discount.”

Thank you Benugo for your support for ‘The Friends.’

In the next edition look out for: New talent joins the park teams
Looking ahead at the Diana playground
King’s honours
Reasons to be cheerful in January
Bandstand news.


Sue Price