October 25, 2021

All the Queen’s roses

My first morning in London, a sunny summer day, I headed to one of my favorite spots, the Regent’s Park. At noon on a weekday, the park was full of camera-totting tourists (ahem) and serious joggers. Walking past the huge gilded gates leading into the park from the street, I went straight to the Queen’s rose gardens; a long stretch of the park filled with roses in colors I have never seen before. Not on roses certainly, on Govinda’s shirts perhaps. And names to match – from ‘Ingrid Bergman’ to ‘Bo Peep’ and ‘Thinking of You’. Amyyzing, innit?, I heard a voice close to me. As my heart with pleasure kept filling, I nodded in ready agreement – amazing indeed.

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Need a better camera…

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A rose by any other name would smell…?

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After an hour with the roses, I moved to the second item on my agenda – buying a ticket for a play at the open air theare in the park. As I walked towards the long path leading to the box office, I caught sight of an electric blue salwar kameez and high heels (nope, I did not look at the face); who would come for a walk in the park in high heels? And three men, with video cameras and head phones – walk slowly this way, said the video camera to the electric blue salwar kameez. I stopped to stare. Huge head phones suddenly came close to me, pointed with his thumb to the electric blue, winked and said, Sheepa Shetty. As I gave him my best what have you been smoking, myte? look (you know the one – eyebrows slightly arched, mouth slightly open in disbelief and a loud sorry? what was that again? look in the eyes), he said, nooooo, not really. Oh, well, I will live with the disappointment.

Shilpa Shetty she was not…

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And so the day went. The next time I went into the park, it had just rained and the roses were even more beautiful…

Happy, wet, colorful, pouting…

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Summer rain

Pout perfect

I sat in the open air amphitheatre and watched A Midsummer Night’s Dream – just the perfect play for that setting – the trees rustling above, doves flying, the sun shining on well into the performance (which started at 8 p.m.) as it slowly turned cool and then cold… I sat, shivering in the London night air watching the fairies with their lutes and flutes… listening to the music filling the air…

The open air theatre…

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A midsummer night’s dream…

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It shocks me that there are Londoners who have never been to a Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream – this is one of the great and simple rituals of London life” – Alistair McAuley, Financial Times, 2006. Yes, it shocks me too.

4 thoughts on “All the Queen’s roses

  1. wow. lovely roses. while travelling in europe, i wondered how the roses grow that big.

    and the regent’s park performances sounds lovely, i wish i had known of it earlier.

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