2004-06-02 : Trying to think of some kind of wacky pun involving the word Kew…

All I can think of are dumb James Bond jokes ! Anyway, on Sunday I went with Richie and Ciaran down to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. Ordinarily I probably wouldn't go to a botanic garden, because it's not really the kind of thing I get that interested in, however given my recent surge of interest in art galleries and museums I figured going along to this wouldn't hurt !

Evidently there were quite a lot of other people who had elected to spend their weekend the same way as we did, and so the wait was on. Yes that's right: we were in a queue for Kew. Ho ho ho.

Once inside it started raining, at which point Richie mentioned that he'd checked the forecast and it said “hail and thunderstorms”. That struck me as an odd day to choose to embark on activity that was by and large and outdoor one, however he counter-argued that it was a good day to pick, because there was less likely to be a crowd. You can't fault that kind of logic really, can you ?

After meeting Ciaran's workmate Chris, Chris's friend Marina, and two other girls of continental origin whose names I didn't really catch properly, we headed into the Princess of Wales Conservatory to look at tropical plants.

I don't mean to sounds like a whinger, but at this point I found myself standing in a warm, humid room wondering about the merits of travelling from Australia – typically quite a warm and in many parts tropical place – to Britain – ostenisbly a cold and rainy place – to look at tropical plants. Most of the people in the building seemed to find the aquariums on the ground floor quite fascinating, which made me a bit resentful insofar as they'd made us queue up for ages so that they could come and look at fish… shouldn't they be looking at plants ?

We continued on to various parts of the gardens and found that it was dotted with Japanese and oriental structures. The highest of which was a pagoda type building – the highest in the park – which goes by the slightly sad name of “High Kew”. Anyway it was amusing to note that it had been built with no practical purpose in mind, merely as a decorative thing. This put my mind at rest as I had been wondering about its purpose during our approach. The only use I could think of was some sort of guiding beacon for the seemingly endless procession of passenger jets overhead (sensibly, the Royal Botanic Gardens is directly under the final glide path for Heathrow Airport, meaning that you get a plane descending through the area about every 45 seconds – How's the Serenity ?).

We trundled through another couple of glasshouses and giggled at any scientific name that was slighty rude-sounding, with probably the favourite of the day being the Double Coconut (Lodoicea Maldivica), which looks like some sort of armoured prosthetic buttocks.

We also wandered over to the Human-Sized Badger Sett and crawled around in there for a while. Those badgers sure are organised – they've got electric lighting and all.

Aside from all that we just wandered about the place looking at trees and stuff really. In point of fact I had a really good day, but what can ya say, eh ?

After leaving there Richie, Ciaran and I caught the tube to the ICA (which I shouldn't have been surprised to learn was the Institute of Contemporary Art, rather than an indoor cricket place !) to see Paranoia Agent – a pretty weird bit of Anime. At the end of it I couldn't figure out whether I'd fallen asleep and missed some incredibly key detail, or whether it was just weird and obscure ? Thankfully the other 2 guys were no more able to make sense of it than I was, and we proceeded on our merry way home.