London planting

The other day, my husband pointed out that we have a couple of gaps in our back garden / yard in London and that I could plant something there.  This is quite exciting – although I have done loads of planting in the IoW, the garden in London tends to get ignored a bit.  However, other people around us are far more diligent.  I ended up taking some photos as there are quite a few plants that are looking amazing.

I love these poppies (Liverpool Road)
I didn’t realise that rhododendrons would grow in London as we have alkaline soil (Liverpool Road)
I can’t remember what this plant is. The flowers remind me of gorse and broom (Liverpool Road)
A really light Californian lilac (Liverpool Road)
A darker Californian Lilac (Almeida Street)

At present, we have a lilac tree which is beautiful when it flowers but the flowers are short lived (we completely missed them when we were away).  I’d always thought that I’d like another lilac, either darker or lighter (so like the lilac trees in St Petersburg) but maybe a Californian Lilac would also be very pretty (and perhaps the flowers would last a bit longer).

Russian Dolls

While I was in Russia, I bought a couple of Russian dolls for my children.

This one for my son
This one for my son
This one for my daughter
This one for my daughter

The kind lady in the shop said that traditional matryoshka dolls have eight dolls so the one I bought for my daughter is an old fashioned one.  The one I bought my son is a bit more ornate and comes from a Russian fairytale (although I have no idea which one).

Each doll was about £18 (but that is approximate as I converted from roubles).  At the time, I did wonder whether that was an enormous ripoff BUT I do think there is a price to pay for convenience.  I bought them in a shop off Nevski Prospekt which, as far as I can see, is broadly equivalent to Regent Street.  In theory, I could have schlepped for miles to find cheaper dolls but I was only there for two days so it seemed rather a false economy.

The metro

I absolutely love the metro in St Petersburg.  The builds are impressive and they had a team of people doing a thorough job of cleaning the escalators (I am sure that someone cleans stuff on the Tube but I’ve never seen it).

I wondered what important civic building this is - it is the entrance to the metro
I wondered what important civic building this is – it is the entrance to the metro
Fantastic ceiling
Fantastic ceiling
Deep escalator
Deep escalator
The metro
The metro

St Isaac and the Church on the Spilled Blood

Under the Soviets, St Isaac’s was turned into the Museum of the History of Religion and Atheism.  It is still a museum, although there was a service going on in the left hand chapel.

St Isaac
St Isaac
View from the top
View from the top
Another one from the top
Another one from the top
Impressive ceiling
Impressive ceiling
The church
The church

The Church on the Spilled Blood is rather more exotic (to my way of thinking).

Church on the spilled blood
Church on the Spilled Blood
Ceiling
Ceiling
The walls are covered in mosaics
The walls are covered in mosaics

The hermitage and winter palace

The Hermitage is HUGE.  We were there for quite a few hours but really only saw a tiny fraction of it.  The winter palace is so enormous, it makes Versailles look small and poky.

The winter palace
The winter palace
The general staff building
The general staff building

I took a few photos but:

  • almost certainly there will be much better photos of it taken by someone else;
  • it was very crowded so quite a few of my photos were mainly Chinese tourists wielding selfie sticks; and
  • there is a limit to how many photos I could be arsed to take.

I found the ceilings the most impressive.

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M pointed out that, even if they wanted to, the tsars wouldn’t have gone into most of the rooms because there wouldn’t have been time in the day.

This was very grand
This was very grand
And this!
And this!

It got to the point where I was becoming indifferent to rooms covered in gold leaf.  The chandeliers were beautiful – they must have had a team of servants whose job it was to clean and light them.

Lilac

One thing I did notice about St Petersburg was how lovely their lilac is.  I must have come at exactly the right time because my lilac has gone over but all their lilac was looking terrific.

Lilac in front of a flowering horse chestnut tree
Lilac in front of a flowering horse chestnut tree
Dark and light lilac
Dark and light lilac
Light lilac and white lilac
Light lilac and white lilac

It takes a while for lilac to grow to be this size.  They must have great gardeners.  Plus, I love the way they’ve put different coloured lilac next to each other.  I might try this in either London or the IoW.  It won’t look like this though.