Victoria Embankment Gardens review
There's a solid fog this morning. I was going to take some photos but I'd need a blow torch to clear it, so I've decided to mope around Victoria Embankment Gardens for a bit.
I love this little park. It might even be my favourite park in London. I don't know why, because it's nothing special -- it's just a nice little place to walk through instead of pinballing past the people on the Strand. I always think it's too crowded down there, so I use it as a shortcut past the people. The only people you see in here are office workers on their lunch break. They sit on the benches with their pots and boxes of pasta (since when did pasta become a pack lunch?). They chew, the pigeons coo, and sixty minutes later Big Ben calls them back to work. He's like a clock-watching foreman, counting everyone in through the factory gates. You might think you're out of range but he can still see you skiving through the trees. Come on, slackers! Back to work!
You can eavesdrop on a lot of conversations while you're sitting here. At the moment it's all business dudes and secretaries b|tching about their bosses. They've all come here to let off a bit of steam while they're out of earshot of their colleagues. I'm currently listening to two women having a pop at John in accounts who never does what he's told (he's an idiot!). He just sits there all day reading the paper and someone should have a word. But who? Not me, she says. It's not her job. Oh dear... now she's dropped a big fork full of saucy pasta on her skirt because she was too animated in her talking. That's all John's fault as well, apparently. Poor old John. I bet his ears are burning.
This park didn't even exist until the 1870s. The Victorians reclaimed the land to build a big pipe sewer underneath, so 150 years ago we would have been sitting in the river.
If you want to go and see where the riverbank used to be then find the York Water Gate in the corner by the bandstand. This is all that remains of the Duke of Buckingham's grand old mansion on the waterfront. He used to walk down those stone stairs to step in his boat. If you walk around the back of it then you can see where he used to wait in the covered arches on either side. Amazingly, Samuel Pepys is known to have used it too, because his house was in the street behind (what we now call Buckingham Street). Sadly his original house isn't there anymore, but you can still see a couple of momento plaques pinned to the front of Nos. 12 and 14.
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