I wandered through the Embankment gardens one day, while trying to kill an hour before I met friends. I was quite tired and my feet hurt from strolling aimlessly, but as soon as I stepped into these secret gardens, its as though my spirits rose instantly. The sun broke away from the clouds immediately and the hustle and bustle and traffic of London was almost completely drowned out by just stillness and bird sounds. It was as though someone flipped on a meditation CD or something.
Speaking of meditation CDs, I have just discovered hypnosis Apps for my iPhone. I was so excited- I can take a nap and wake up having tricked myself into feeling more empowered etc. It took me a few days to refine my meditation app listening though because I realised that the average human only takes 7 minutes to fall asleep, and I wasn’t pre-screening my apps. So who knows what I could have been hypnotised to do or be? That’s dangerous stuff. So I’ve been sticking to the lightweight stuff- bird calls, running streams and rain sounds etc.
The gardens are beautiful. They are tiny- but randomly placed along a busy road. It’s a long strip that I suppose runs parallel to the Thames. All around are perfectly groomed flowerbeds, colour coordinated and flourishing. The grass is perfect, and no one sits on it because there are plenty of benches, and people who visit the gardens are classy like that. For those who prefer a comfier seat, you can rent deck chairs- if you’re willing to sit in the designated deck chair arena. Yeah, not kidding.
There are table tennis areas, fountains, and sporadically placed busts and other sculptures of people that only the smallest percentage of people would care about- but regardless they have their place in the world.
The Southbank Book Sale was my kind of find. There I was, minding my own business, wandering down toward Southbank, and suddenly I find a full-blown used book sale, primitively placed under Waterloo Bridge on painters’ tables. There’s a lot of sci-fi tat from the 1960s and 1970s; a lot of cook books from D-List celebrities of the 1980s; but there can be found a number of classics- treasures you can earn by truly scouring and digging. I settled upon a small book of obscure poetry from the later end of the nineteenth century.
Apparently the book sale is open every day under the bridge, in rain or sunshine. It’s definitely a must-see for nerdy English major’s like me.