To the Flower Show
The Rose Entrance
The MCG-UK team were focussed and prepared for our second flower show of the year. Armed with full-day tickets, we donned sensible rucksacks and clothing (the first flower show was hindered by more stylish but silly items), and head out of the house eager to be at Hampton Court Flower Show as it opened at 10 am.
The Train to Hampton Court
Hampton Court is about half an hour from London by train. I've been on many South West Trains in my four years living in London and this train journey was more surreal than most. The journey began with half a train of old lady English gardeners; at each stop a gaggle of gardeners joined the train so that by Thames Ditton station, the carriages were packed full of gardeners, equipped with thermos flasks and pocket-sized plant books.
Moosey would have enjoyed the gardenly hub-bub en route. Talk drifted from water lilies to hostas, then on to the inclement English weather and if it would hold or spoil the day. More than one old lady English gardener mentioned Dairmuid Gavin's balls. As a middle-aged daughter told her mother off for being silly on the train and talking to strangers, the train slowed.
The train emptied at Hampton Court station, the end of the line from London Waterloo. After exiting the station, we were faced with two choices: a walk across Hampton Court Bridge with a ten minute walk to the flower show entrance, or a short ferry ride straight across. Although the ferry looked romantically tempting, we decided to save our pennies for the Pimms.
The River Thames
The ferry passengers and practical walkers reunited at the jetty by the flower show entrance. The excitement grew as we head up and over an outer wall and joined the short queue forming outside the Rose Entrance. The queues were small and continually shuffling forward.
A Colloquial Reminder
Excess sun-screen was wiped off on jeans before bringing out the precious digital gardening camera. As we got our tickets ready, an Antipodean fellow suggested that I 'go over there, man' - his accent and the colloquialism caught me off guard in this otherwise very English day.
I reminded myself that I was actually in the northern hemisphere, a member of the Royal Horticultural Society, it was members day and the sun was shining! I zipped my bag back up, thanked the bag checking steward and went through the turnstiles into my second ever flower show - Hampton Court 2004.